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The Aksum and Adwa region in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

The Aksum and Adwa region in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Artist: Georg Wilhelm Schimper

Medium: Image

Date: 1864-68

Shelfmark: Add ms 28506 f17

Length: 50

Width: 34

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Map

Map scale ratio: 1 : 50000

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In this area is the district Enticäw, which Schimper was given to administer. The biographers of Schimper, Annie and Tony Betts, using this map found the estate called Gässa Schimper near the village of Amba Sea when doing research in the area.

Schimper’s maps are geological and geographical records in which he tried to make visible what shaped the three areas which he crisscrossed over the decades. By explaining the rock formation and conglomerate rock deposits beneath the surface, he could show how the underlying geological facts influenced and determined the geography, which in turn presented the key to understanding the flora and fauna of the country and ultimately its agriculture and life-supporting systems. Schimper sent rock samples with the maps and profiles and they are housed in the Natural History Museum in London and in the Museum für Naturkunde, Mineraliensammlung, in Berlin.

The sectional drawings with their captions on the composition of the substructure, the rocks, might no longer be acceptable to geologists, mineralogists and soil researchers today, but they were a first attempt at presenting an evolutionary account of the making of the land, from its volcanic eruptions to solidification and weathering and the ensuing changes in the landscape due to erosion and human interference..

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