Prof. Rodolfo Fattovich passed away on March 23, 2018 after having contributed for more than four decades to the archaeology of Northeastern Africa and the Horn of Africa.  Here is his an obituary by  Prof. Andrea Manzo, University of Naples « L’Orientale ».


Prof. Rodolfo Fattovich (Trieste 1945 – Rome 2018)

Before retiring in 2014, Rodolfo was teaching Ethiopian Archaeology, Egyptian Archaeology and for many years also Egyptology at the Università degli studi di Napoli « L’Orientale ». He was an honorary member of the ISMEO-Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente, research fellow of the Department of Archaeology of Boston University and, for many years, a visiting professor of Archaeology at Addis Ababa University. He was also an active member of several international scientific societies and editorial boards of journals.

Rodolfo had an extensive fieldwork experience in Egypt where he directed projects at the sites of Naqada (with C. Barocas and M. Tosi), Tell el-Farkha (with S. Salvatori) and Mersa/Wadi Gawasis (with K.A. Bard), In Sudan, he started a research project in the Kassala region. In Ethiopia, he directed excavations at Bieta Giyorgis (Aksum, again codirected by K.A. Bard). In recent years, he returned to Seglamen, a site where, at the beginning of his career, in the early Seventies, he had also worked with Lanfranco Ricci.

Rodolfo was a student of Claudia Dolzani, Sergio Donadoni and Salvatore Maria Puglisi. When Lanfranco Ricci wanted to start developing the field of Ethiopian Archaeology in Italy, Donadoni and
Puglisi suggested his name. In this way, because of the will of Lanfranco Ricci, in 1974 Rodolfo become a faculty member at the Istituto Universitario Orientale (presently Università degli studi di Napoli « L’Orientale »). There, he joined a very vibrant and inspiring academic community, with scholars like Maurizio Taddei, Claudio Barocas, Maurizio Tosi, Alessandro de Maigret, and some years later Paolo Marrassini, to remain in the fields of archaeology, Egyptology and Ethiopian Studies.

His research interests focused not only (as it could be expected since the beginning of his career) on the origins of social hierarchy in
northeastern Africa, Egyptian Predynastic, pre-Aksumite and Aksumite cultures, the relations between Egypt and Africa, but also on the ancient Red Sea, the environmental history of northeastern Africa, and on the contribution archaeology could provide to the sustainable development of those regions. The breadth and variety of his interests immediately makes evident the intellectual curiosity and the open-minded approach which were his characterizing traits.

He has published more than two hundred publications, some of them certainly seminal works. He also mentored many pupils who, after starting their education under his tutorship, often specialized in several different fields, such as geoarchaeology, paleobotany, maritime archaeology, computer applications to archaeology, as well
as, of course, Ethiopian and Egyptian archaeology, Egyptology and Nubian studies.

[The WorldCat lists many of his publications at


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