Campus news

The Rock-Cut Churches of Ethiopia

Michael Gervers in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the world’s oldest Christian nation, dating back to the 4th century. Hundreds of rock-cut churches line the country’s highlands, but little is known of how they are built. Now, thanks to a significant grant from the Arcadia Fund, the techniques to create these churches will be preserved for future generations.

“It’s an honour to be able to help preserve the knowledge that goes into the making of these cultural treasures,” says Michael Gervers, a UTSC expert on Ethiopian history.

Gervers will conduct and videotape comprehensive interviews with priests, parishioners and the few remaining master craftsmen responsible for carving the structures, documenting the knowledge and techniques involved.

The $250,000 grant will cover two seasons of field work after which the video recordings, with transcriptions and translations, will be available online for at least 20 years.