Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 10:44:25 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: !*British Invade Queen of Sheba's "Burial Place"
From: "Esco Babatunde II" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FYI * PLEASE FORWARD
Archaeologists find clues to Queen of Sheba in Nigeria, Find May Rival
Archaeologists find clues to Queen of Sheba in Nigeria, Find May Rival Egypts's Pyramids
From Nigeria News
4 June 1999
BRITISH scientists have unearthed in Nigeria's rain forest a suspected
centre of one of Africa's greatest kingdoms and possible burial place
of the legendary Queen of Sheba - pushing the country to the fore of
Hidden in the forest of the old Ijebu Kingdom, a few hours drive from
Lagos, are the Eredo earthworks reputedly larger than the famous great
pyramids of Egypt. The teamof scientists from Bournemouth University,
working with archaeologist Dr. Patrick Darling, have concluded a
preliminary survey of the earthworks, comprising a wall and ditch
measuring 14 metres high and about 160 kilometres long.Builders of the
earthworks had shifted an estimated 3.5m cubic metres of earth to build
the ramparts - one million cubic metres more than the amount of rock
and earth which went into building the Greta Pyramid of Cheops in
The ramparts marked out what is believed to be the boundary
of the original Ijebu Kingdom ruled by the Awujale. Civil wars and
the arrival of the British eventually broke the kingdom's centuries-old
Lagos lagoon trade monopoly. Darling described the Eredo site as a
breathtaking find, with many of its remains relatively intact, although
overgrown by the rain forest.
"We are not linking what we found to a city, but to a vast kingdom
boundary rampart," he told the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC).The archaeologist added: "The vertical sided ditches go around
the area for 100miles (160km), and it is more than 1,000 years old.
That makes it the earliest proof of a kingdom founded in the African
rain forest". But more intriguing still is the suggested link to the
Queen of Sheba, one of theworld's oldest love stories.
According to the Biblical Old Testament, the Queen, ruler of Saba, sent
a camel train of gold and ivory to King Solomon. The king wooed and
married the queen after she became overwhelmed by the splendour of his
palace, and their son began a dynasty of rulers in Ethiopia. The Bible
dates the queen's reign to the 10th century BC, and modern scholars
haves peculated that a link between Judea and an ancient African queen
led to the emergence of Judaism in Ethiopia.
In a tale closely linked to that in the Bible, the Koran describes the
Queen as a sun worshipper based in the Arabian peninsula, who was
converted to Islam. Arabian legend names the queen "Bilqis," and
links her to the incense trade which was then asource of great regional
power. But 500-year-old Portuguese documents hint at the power of an
Ijebu Kingdom, and build the case for Sheba being on the other side of
the continent. Darling, the archaeologist, said local people around the
Eredo monuments link thearea to Bilikisu Sungbo, another name for
Local tradition speaks of a great queen building a vast monument of
remembrance, and there is a yearly pilgrimage to what is believed to be
her grave.The region's long history of gold and ivory trade and the
cultural importance of eunuchs linked to royal households further
support the Sheba link. "I don't want to overplay the Sheba theory but
it cannot be discounted," Darling said.
He added: "The local people believe it, and that's what is important.
Hundreds or thousands of pilgrims come to this area every year to
honour what could be her grave, a magical shrine grove under tall
trees." She is very much a real figure to local people. She is
associated with the earlier figure of Bilikisu Sungbo, but I think
the traditional figure was a powerful matriarch. The most cogent
argument against it at the moment is the dating."
Darling, a member of the African Legacy educational organisation which
is working with the Nigerian government, said that Eredo could become
Nigeria's first world heritage site, joining monuments such as
Stonehenge in the United Kingdoms, and the Pyramids of Egypt. According
to him, Eredo has remained hidden to the outside world because of the
lackof scientific and archaeological research in West Africa."
What is exciting about this for me is that we are beginning to
bring out the tremendous political and cultural achievements of
black Africa. But there is a lot more work that we can do in the
region," he said.