A Starting Grant was awarded by the European Research Centre to Dr Artur Obłuski from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, for his project: "UMMA: Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city". It is the first grant for Polish archaeological research ever awarded by the ERC.
Dr Obłuski is the director of the PCMA Research Centre in Cairo and heads an excavation project in Ghazali in Sudan. His new multidisciplinary project will concern the twilight of Dongola, the capital of the Christian Kingdom of Makuria, and the metamorphosis of its community into a social and religious entity.
UMMA will lay foundations for further enquiries into the evolution of precolonial African communities and provoke a general discussion on social changes in urban environments. The project will bring together specialists from several disciplines, such as history, archaeology, geophysics, chemistry and physics to obtain a cross-disciplinary perspective on the social phenomenon of liminal periods in urbanism.
The PCMA had been active in the field of Nubian archaeology since mid-20th century and its missions are currently working at several sites in the region, such as Dongola, Banganarti, El-Zuma, El-Detti and Ghazali.
For more information on the ERC grant go to the University of Warsaw website.