E.Littmann in Axum 1906 Helmut Ziegert
2.4 The source material and its criticism
Sources of our knowledge are – beside the own results – the publications on the work of the foreign missions. These publications have a background inﬂuenced by the politicalinterests, the orientation of the missions, the methodological standard, and the accuracyof the work.We must know about these interests for a better understanding of the publications tocheck the real facts, and to know how we can use these mostly reduced results forhistorical reconstructions .
3 The “German Aksum Expedition” (DAE) 1906
To remember the “German Aksum Expedition” after 100 years there was held a confer-ence in Mekele.During an oﬃcial visit of Emperor Menelik II. in Berlin he asked Emperor Wilhelm II.to send an archaeological Mission to Aksum, according to the historical traditions theorigin and base of the Ethiopian state.This fact is based on mentioning in the Bible and in detailed oral traditions documentedin the “Archive” of the monks in Axum till today.The example for such a mission were the German archaeological missions and excava-tions in the Near East.The Aksum Mission was carried out from January 13 to April 6, 1906.
3.1 The members
The members of the German Mission were Enno Littman, linguist and as the Head;Daniel Krencker, the architect; Theodor von Lüpke, architect and photographer; andErich Kaschke as a medical doctor. As we know now no archaeologist was integrated inthe team.
3.2 The inscriptions
According to the qualiﬁcation of the team the documentation and translation of theinscriptions by E.Littmann was one of the main topics and results [published 1913] anda source for the history of Aksum till today.
3.3 Surveys and excavations
Before the German Mission 1906 there were only some photos from the Italian colonialera, no investigations with excavations. The German Mission brought ﬁrst informationsalong the route from Asmara to Aksum: Debaroa, Adi Ugri, Adi Quala, Mareb, DaroTacle, Mai Camaul, Adua; and on the way back along the route from Aksum to Massaua:3