Traditional Pottery-Making: An Endangered Indigenous Technology in the Gimbi Region of Ethiopia

By Bula Sirika Wayessa, Dereje Hinehu, and Abdi Assefa | 10 November 2020

This project sets out to document the chaîne opératoire of Oromo pottery spanning from the learning network to the production and utilization of pottery objects. Pottery technology constitutes an integral part of the region’s indigenous knowledge systems and socio-cultural factors that frame the learning of the art of pottery making. Despite its traditional socio-economic position in society, pottery making is in rapid decline in the region. In the coming years, the technology may disappear. The tradition is threatened by several developments: Ethiopian land policy restricts potters’ freedom to collect clay; the influx of metals/ plastics impact the market for pottery vessels, and better economic opportunities are becoming available for younger generations.



This project aims to create audio, audiovisual, documentary, and photographic data assets related to this declining technological tradition in order to preserve this heritage resource for generations to come.



Dr Bula Sirika Wayessa, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Twin Cities 

Dereje Hinehu, Assistant Professor, Wollega University
AssefaLecturerWollega University 

Location of Research:
Ethiopia—Gimbi, Oromia


Top Banner Image: Abandoned clay mining field (Photo: Bula Wayessa)