Prehistoric Cultural Development

Findings from recent research indicate that during the late stone age, languages, most likely to be precursors to the Afroasiatic Superfamily, existed in modern-day Eritrea and Sudan. While not definite, these languages first began to take their "separate" forms by 13,000 BCE, which is probably when the Omotic precurser-language began its slow migration southward in the Ethiopian region. Today, Omotic speakers live in the west and southwest part of the country.

Not too long afterward, the Cushitic language-precursor group were also in formation. The speakers of this language originally inhabited what is today northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, and slowly migrated westwards into the Sudan, further eastwards into eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia, and southward into north-central Ethiopia (Gondar, Gojjam and Wallo).

The Semitic family can also trace their origins from this area in north-eastern Africa. Most modern experts hold the theory that the Semitic precursor-language must have at first existed in a cluster with ancient Egyptian and Berber, before exiting into its unique form. However the timing for these events is quite difficult to discern. The Semitic language-precursor being, for our purposes, the "last" language in formation, was somehow transported into Arabia and further east into central and northern Asia.

The early inhabitants of Ethiopia during the Chalcolithic Age (6200-3000 BCE) were in the beginning stages of domesticating grains such as teff and ansete (locally known as the false banana). Plough-based agriculture was also in the process of evolving, which could imply the domestication of cattle. Certainly by the Early Bronze Age (3000 BCE), the domestication of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys was taking place.