This page is for the use of debaters working on the issue of whether and how to return artifacts taken from Ethiopian to that country.



Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 19:18:13 +0100

From: Pankhurst <>

To: Vilasa N. Campbell <>

Subject: Re: Artifact Research

It may be too early to write the history of AFROMET; but we can say the original core consisted of an Ethiopian philosopher, Professor Andreas Eshete; a Rastafarian, Mr Takassa King, from Jamaica; the Ethiopian playwright Tsegaye Gabre Medhen; a former Ethiopian banker, Ato Debebe H. Yohannes; and my wife Rita and myself.

We started a year or two back.

I hope we will get the web-site organised, and spoke to Andreas about this yesterday.

From the above beginning AFROMETgrew...

Re Princeton: the MSS., as far as we know, were not looted from Maqdala; so they lie outside our activity; though the Institute of Ethiopian Studies library is endeavouring to obtain microfilm or digital copies.

With best wishes,

Richard Pankhurst


Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 12:07:25 +0100

From: Pankhurst <>

To: Vilasa N. Campbell <>

Subject: Re: Artifact Research

Dear Vilasa,

Given the difficulty in obtaining the restoration of the loot I would think there is no point at this stage, at least to demand the return of what was "legitimately" acquired (whatever that may in fact mean!)

However, all such manuscripts should be available for study in Ethiopia, by Ethiopian scholars and foreign scholars coming to the country. We are trying to acquire microfilm or digital copies of all such works, and begging the governments concerned to help in this project. The Irish Governmnet is due to do so in the next week or so. We should press the US Government to finance, or the libraries, or universities concerned, to do so. I think this more modest approach would be the most rewarding - while of course denouncing the looting and demanding the return of all loot!

But you should come to Ethiopia one day!

What are you studying?

Best regards.

Richard Pankhurst


Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 09:10:11 +0000

From: "Pankhurst" <>
To: "Alfred C. Snider" <>
Subject: Re: AFROMET and return of artifacts

Dear Alfred Snider,

Thank you for your kind and important message..On the general question on the loot from Maqdala see the AFROMET web site: On the specific question of images (and microfilming) of Ethiopian manuscripts abroad we are currently engaged in a big drive to obtain these, for our Institute.

We have obtained copies of a large proportion of the Ethiopian MSS at the British Museum, we have made an appeal for those in Cambridge, Englad, we have received a few from Ireland and have a promise of the remainder, we have similrar promises from Holland and Sweden, we have reeceived from Russia, Switzerland and Austria. If you could help with the US this would be a great help (and your efforts we could also use to encourage other countries). This is essential because manuscrits are so different even when supposedly copies of each other!

Our great aim is to gave a microfilm or digital image of every Ethiopian MSS in Ethiopia or abroad!

The biggest concentrations in the US are in New York and at Princeton Do let me know your ideas on this!

With best regards,

Richard Pankhurst


Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 08:58:41 -0400

From: Don Skemer <dcskemer@Princeton.EDU>

To: Vilasa N. Campbell <>

Subject: Re: Ethiopean Manuscripts

A large portion of Princeton's collection of Ethiopic manuscripts were collected in the late 19th century by a German scholar named Enno Littmann, who purchased them from private individuals or collections, then sold them to Robert Garrett, who in turn donated them to Princeton in 1942. Other manuscripts, especially magic rolls, have been acquired in the last half-century. As you should know, Ethiopic manuscripts are widely dispersed and can often be found in the catalogs of antiquarian dealers and auction houses. I have heard nothing about any movement to gather up all the Ethiopic manuscripts in the world and return them to Ethiopia. The manuscripts are quite safe here and are available for use by scholars.


Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts