Level 3 Mortlock Wing State Library of South Australia North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000
Giorgis church

Lunchtime Meeting

The rock churches of Ethiopia

Frances Williams

Ethiopia’s rock churches are nothing short of amazing. They have even been described, though perhaps with a little exaggeration, as the eighth wonder of the world.

These churches are not built up of stones in the normal manner but are hewn into solid bedrock, and in Ethiopia there are hundreds of them. Some date from the 4th century AD and many are hidden away in difficult-to-access places. Visiting them can be quite an adventure! In this presentation I will take you to some of these churches and explore not only their architecture, history and significance to Ethiopian Christians, but also how their unknown constructors cleverly exploited the local geology and used it in different ways to create these wonderful monuments. You will also see some of Ethiopia’s most beautiful scenery.

Frances Williams spent 7 years in Ethiopia between 1968 and 1974, as a lecturer in Geology at Addis Ababa University. She fell in love with the country and has visited many times since. Until Covid struck in 2020, followed by internal warfare and instability, she ran geology-focussed tours to various parts of the country (7 in all). Frances is currently an Honorary Research Associate in Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide and is past-President and current Secretary of the Field Geology Club of SA. She is the author of “Understanding Ethiopia: geology and scenery” (Springer International Publishers, 2016).

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Date and Time

7 August 2024
12:00 pm

Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, SLSA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Members: $Gold coin
Non members: $5