East Africa

Detail from a manuscript made for King Lebna Dengel, circa 1520, Tädbabä Maryam Monastery, Ethiopia.

A New History Changes the Balance of Power Between Ethiopia and Medieval Europe

For centuries, a Eurocentric worldview disregarded the knowledge and strength of the African empire

New genetic research finds that the Kordofan melon (pictured), native to Sudan, is the watermelon's closest wild relative.

Researchers Uncover the Watermelon's Origins

A Sudanese plant called the Kordofan melon is the watermelon's closest wild relative, according to a new study

Researchers had previously theorized that the 61 people buried in the Jebel Sahaba Cemetery were the victims of a single battle or massacre. A new study suggests the remains actually belong to hunter-gatherers killed during a series of smaller raids.

Cool Finds

Did Climate Change Drive Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers in Sudan to War?

Some 13,400 years ago, rival communities in the Nile Valley likely clashed over scarce resources

Individuals located in the Comoros Islands may have descended from the coelacanth population in Madagascar.

Madagascar May Be Stronghold for Ancient Fish With 420-Million-Year History

Fishermen from the island nation caught a number of rare coelacanths off the coast using gillnets

Samuel Ntiro's Chopping Wood (circa 1967) is one of 12 newly attributed African Modernist artworks set to go on view in Scotland next month.

Cool Finds

Trove of African Modernist Masterpieces Spent Decades Hidden in Rural Scotland

A two-year research project identified 12 overlooked paintings, drawings and prints by pioneering 20th-century artists

Admas. From left, clockwise: Abegasu Shiota, Henock Temesgen, Tewodros Aklilu, and Yousef Tesfaye.

Smithsonian Voices

Why the Newly Released 1980s Album 'Sons of Ethiopia,' by the Ethiopian D.C. Band Admas, Is Going Viral

Admas draws from and rearranges “golden era” Ethiopian music with then-fairly-new synthesizer and drum-machine rhythms.

Ranavalona III succeeded her great-aunt, Ranavalona II, in 1883.

The Little-Known Story of Madagascar's Last Queen, Ranavalona III

Artifacts linked to the royal are headed home following their purchase at auction by the African island's government

This illustration shows one of the newly described species of stilt mouse, Colomys lumumbai, wading at the edge of a stream.

New Research

Two New Species of Semi-Aquatic Mice Identified in East African Rainforests

Mice from the genus Colomys stand on kangaroo-like feet to wade in shallow water and use their whiskers to find prey

The mud-brick buildings of Djenné, Mali, are among six at-risk African heritage sites spotlighted by a new study.

Study Suggests At-Risk African Heritage Sites Are Often Overlooked

Researchers cite a "total lack of quantifiable data on the impacts of climate change on heritage in sub-Saharan Africa"

The vast trench dug by treasure hunters is visible at the center of this image.

Treasure Hunters Destroy 2,000-Year-Old Heritage Site in Sudan

Illegal gold diggers dug an enormous trench at Jabal Maragha in the eastern Sahara Desert

“Footprints give us information about anatomy and group dynamics that you just can’t get from bones,” says the Smithsonian's Briana Pobiner.

Ancient Toes and Soles of Fossilized Footprints Now 3-D Digitized for the Ages

New research suggests that for the prehistoric foragers that walked this path, labor was divided between men and women

Desert locusts cover branches in Katitika village, Kitui county, in Kenya on Friday, January 24. Kenya hasn't seen locust swarms of this size in 70 years.

Billions of Locusts Are Swarming East Africa

The swarms were sparked by the unusually high number of cyclones in 2019

AMA #WCW by Dada Khanyisa, 2018

How the Heroes of Africa Triumphed Against All Odds

At the African Art Museum the inspiring stories of 50 individuals from the continent are honored in classical and contemporary works of art

Hippos excrete 880 pounds of silica into Kenya’s Mara River every day

East Africa's Mara River Relies on Hippo Poop to Transport a Key Nutrient

Hippo droppings account for more than three-quarters of the ecosystem's silica

Clay's team captured 15 female gnus for study. Following controlled exposure to male mating calls in an experimental setting, the quadrupeds (and their offspring) were released back into the wild.

How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle

New research shows that ovulation in Serengeti wildebeests is accelerated and synchronized by the yammering of eager males

A Canines for Conservation handler and his dog inspect a vehicle as a part of a 12-week training course.

It's Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers

A new breed of law enforcement is on the scene—and its bite is stronger than its bark

"The seemingly rigid frontiers that have come to define places like Africa and Asia," says the museum's director Gus Casely Hayford, "are in fact remarkably fluid, connected through the intersections of art, commerce and culture."

First Major Swahili Coast Art Show Reveals a Diverse World of Cultural Exchange and Influence

At the Smithsonian’s African Art Museum, international influences commingle to create a farrago of artisanal splendors

loading icon