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10-10-2017

NEWSLETTER PCMA 2015

Late Roman, Byzantine and Medieval

Early Makuria Research Project

El-Detti

Dates of work: 9 January–28 February 2015

Team:

Director: Assoc. Prof. Mahmoud El-Tayeb, archaeologist (PCMA UW)

NCAM Inspector: Neamat Mohamed El-Hassan

Archaeologists: Anna Jaklewicz (independent), Łukasz Zieliński, metal expert (independent)

Ceramologist: Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska (PCMA UW)

Surveyors: Szymon Lenarczyk, Zofia Kowarska (both independent)

Archaeozoologist: Dr. Urszula Iwaszczuk (PCMA UW)

Photographer (including kite): Adam Kamrowski (Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk)

Film and drone operator: Tomasz Wojtczak (freelance)

(Joint description of seasons 2014 and 2015)

Burial structures and the assemblages found inside them at the site of El-Detti, about 13 km downstream from Karima and 7 km upstream from El-Zuma, were explored in 2014 and 2015 by a joint team from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan. The aim was to enable comparison with the excavated burials at El-Zuma, a nearby tumuli field explored by the Early Makuria Research Project in recent years. Special attention was paid to metal artifacts from the tombs (studied in the appendix), which contribute to a better understanding of the local social and cultural traditions. The focus of the Early Makuria Research Project on examining the mortuary customs at El Detti has helped to identify the burial practices of Early Makurian society and to trace the spread of Early Makurian society over time.

Excavation of seven tumuli during the 2015 yielded an extensive animal bone assemblage, altogether 590 bone fragments, accompanying the other finds. Poor preservation resulted in some 10% of the bones not being identified to species. Bone remains were located likewise in chambers, shafts, tunnels and looters’ trenches. They represented the following species: cattle, ovicaprines and dog. Marks recorded on the bones confirmed that the cuts of meat from cattle and ovicaprines were served as food offerings for the dead. The dog bones were probably connected to some form of ritual performed during the funeral.

The Early Makuria Research Project is a joint mission of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW) and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM). The PCMA is the organizer and provides part funding; the current seasons of work have been financed in part by the Qatar–Sudan Archaeological Project (QSAP).

El-Zuma

Dates of work: 10 January–15 March 2015

Team:

Director: Assoc. Prof. Mahmoud El-Tayeb, archaeologist (PCMA UW)

NCAM representative: Neamat Mohamed El-Hassan

Archaeologists: Anna Jaklewicz (independent), Zofia Kowarska (independent), Justyna Niderla-Bielińska (independent), Dr. Urszula Wincenciak (PCMA UW), Tomasz Wojtczak (independent)

Ceramologist: Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska (PCMA UW)

Metal finds specialist: Łukasz Zieliński (independent)

Archeozoologist: Urszula Iwaszczuk (PCMA UW)

Photographers: Tomasz Wojtczak (independent)

(Joint description of seasons 2014 and 2015)

The sixth and seventh seasons at the site saw a continuation of exploration and studies of the various tumuli of Meroitic date, 28 of which, representing three different types in terms of size and structure, exist in this burial field. Tumuli 3, 6 and 8 are all of type I and have the mysterious subterranean tunnels, which were the main focus of research in 2014. Further data on the function and dating of these structures came from investigation in 2015 when two more tombs of type I were studied from this angle. Excavation of Tumulus 7 was resumed, where the entrance to the tunnel was located in 2011 (see El-Tayeb, M., Juszczyk-Futkowska, K., and Czyżewska, E. (2014). El-Zuma 2011: the fourth season of excavations on the site. Preliminary report. PAM, 23/1, 365–366), and a test trench at the southern edge of Tumulus 1 revealed the external shaft and entrance to the subterranean tunnel of this tomb.

The Early Makuria Research Project is a joint research program of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan. The project is sponsored by the Qatar–Sudan Archaeological Project and the PCMA.

See also:

El-Tayeb, M., Skowrońska, E., and Czyżewska, E. (2016). Early Makuria Research Project. The results of three seasons of excavations at el-Zuma cemetery, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Sudan & Nubia, 20, 110–126

[Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 25]

Contact
M. El-Tayeb: mahmoudeltayeb@uw.edu.pl