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The “sleeping beauty” from Ethiopia


In Ethiopia, in the biblical kingdom of Aksum, have been found the 2,000-year-old remains of a sleeping woman, called “sleeping beauty”.

The story of the Queen of Sheba drew Louise Schofield – a former curator and an archeologist at the British Museum – in northern Ethiopia to the Gheralta plateau. “The story of the Queen of Sheba has a central place in the heart of all Ethiopians, so I became interested in the story myself.” said Louise.

This initial visit led her to discover the 2,000-year-old remains of a character she dearly refers to be as “sleeping beauty”.

The grave was discovered in the stone stele, in the area that one was part of the ancient kingdom of Aksum. Inside, this team found the skeleton of a woman posed in a resting position, having her chin laid gently on one hand. Before her face was placed a Roman-era bronze mirror. The corpse was surrounded with a lump of kohl eyeliner, a bronze cosmetics spoon and with glass vessels (to catch the tears of the dead).

Schofield said, “She must have been very wealthy, and probably well-loved to be placed in this position, and judging by all the items of finery around her.” A bone expert wasn’t able to ascertain her age at the time of death because her pelvis (this lower part of the trunk that provides a close approximation) has been consumed by termites. The archeologist hopes that the analysis of the teeth will provide some answers.)

Also, recently, Schofield uncovered a Roman-era perfume flask in the same cemetery. The item was first brought in her attention by a local farmer “I had been showing around a member of the Peace Corps who had been working in a nearby town (around the site), and we’d been out in the blazing sun for 8 hours, when a farmer I knew said his friend found something old, and he’d been keeping it for me,” said Louise.


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