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History of honeybee reproductive knowledge in Ethiopia: a written orthodox tewahido church document

Journal of Historical Archaeology & Anthropological Sciences
Getachew Worku Alebachew, Abebe Misganaw Gedamu, Alemu Kefale Ejigu, Muluken Lebay Egigu, Aderajew Mihretie Tsige

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Apiculture is the art and science of rearing, breeding and managing honeybee colonies in artificial hives for economic benefits. Ethiopia is one of the top 10 honey producing countries in the world and number one in Africa. Ethiopia has a longer beekeeping tradition. During the time of King Ezana, around the 3rd century AD, beeswax was used for religious ceremonies, and honey for producing traditional beverages for nobility and the social elite. Ancient African beekeeping knowledge is essentially nonexistent due to the lack of written records prior to 1500. Therefore, it is from interest to find written documents and to evaluate Ethiopian historic knowledge of honeybees. One important document, written before 1500, is in possession of the Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) and deals with the reproduction biology of honeybees. Accordingly, honeybees are social insects with a caste system. The honeybee colony has one reproductive female called the queen, haploid males, known as drones, and female worker bees. EOTC has a collection of historic documents that may serve as a source of knowledge for scientific disciplines like theology, astronomy, or in this case biology. Hence intensive investigation of these books is essential.


history, honeybee, knowledge, orthodox church, reproduction