Michael Harrower

Following an archaeologist to Ethiopia

How do you uncover an ancient city? Just ask Michael Harrower, assistant professor of Near Eastern studies. In 2009, he traveled to northern Ethiopia and started exploring and talking to the locals. He was led to a prominent hill and immediately realized it was an archaeological treasure: the ancient Aksumite town of Beita Semati, which dates back to the third to seventh centuries. With grants from NASA, National Geographic, and the Archaeological Institute of America, Harrower now takes graduate and undergraduate students to Ethiopia every year to excavate the site, explore the surrounding area, and examine the long-term role of water availability in the rise and decline of Aksumite civilization.