powrót do strony głównej
english version

Animals from tumuli in El-Detti, Sudan: From bone remains to studying ritual

Urszula Iwaszczuk


Excavation of seven tumuli during the 2015 season in a cemetery of Early Makurian date located in the village of el-Detti 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.


animal bones, Early Makuria, el-Detti, offering deposits


Badenhorst, S. (2006). Goats (Capra hircus), the Khoekhoen and pastoralism: current evidence from southern Africa. African Archaeological Review, 23(3–4), 45–53

El-Tayeb, M. (2005). Early Makuria Research Project. Excavations at el-Zuma. Preliminary report. PAM, 16, 389–399

El-Tayeb, M. (2012). Funerary traditions in Nubian early Makuria [=GAMAR Monograph Series 1]. Gdańsk: Muzeum Archeologiczne w Gdańsku

El-Tayeb, M., Czyżewska-Zalewska, E., Kowarska, Z., and Lenarczyk, S. (2016). Early Makuria Research Project: Interim report on the excavation at El-Detti in 2014 and 2015. PAM, 25, 403–430

Epstein, H. (1971). The origin of the domestic animals of Africa. New York: Africana Publishing Corporation

Iwaszczuk, U. (2015). Animal remains from the Early Makuria cemetery in el-Zuma. Season 2013. PAM, 24/1, 425–430

Kolda, J. (1936). Srovnávací anatomie zvířat domácích se zřetelem k anatomii člověka [Comparative anatomy of domestic animals with regard to human anatomy]. Brno: Novina [in Czech]

Kołosowska, E. and El-Tayeb, M. (2007). Excavations at the Kassinger Bahri cemetery sites HP45 and HP47. GAMAR, 5, 9–36

Linseele, V. (2010). Did specialized pastoralism develop differently in Africa than in the Near East? An example from the West African Sahel. Journal of World Prehistory, 23(2), 43–77

Makowiecki, D. (2007). Zooarchaeological report on animal bones from the Kassinger Bahri Post-Meroitic cemetery. GAMAR, 5, 93–96

Osypińska, M. (2005). Animal bones from the excavations at Ez-Zuma. PAM, 16, 404–408

Osypińska, M. (2007). Faunal remains from the post-Meroitic cemetery in es-Sadda 1 (season 2005), appendix to: P. Osypiński, Es-Sadda 1. Excavations of a post-Meroitic cemetery (two seasons). PAM, 17, 364–367

Osypińska, M. (2008). Faunal remains from the Tanqasi burial ground, season 2006. PAM, 18, 492–497

Osypińska, M. (2010a). Animal bone remains from the cemetery in El-Zuma (2007 season). PAM, 19, 488–493

Osypińska, M. (2010b). Faunal remains from the post-Meroitic cemetery of El-Sadda 1. Season 2007, appendix to: P. Osypiński, El-Sadda. Excavations on the Polish concession (Hamadab Dam Rescue Project). January–February 2007. PAM, 19, 450–453

Osypińska, M. (2011). Animal remains in post-Meroitic burials in Sudan. PAM, 20, 541–548

Pereira, F., Queirós, S., Gusmão, L., Nijman, I.J., Cuppen, E., Lenstra, J.A., Econogene Consortium, Davis, S.J.M., Nejmeddine, F., and Amorim, A. (2009). Tracing the history of goat pastoralism: new clues from mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA in North Africa. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 26(12), 2765–2773

Schramm, Z. (1967). Różnice morfologiczne niektórych kości kozy i owcy [Morphological differences of some goat and sheep bones]. Roczniki Wyższej Szkoły Rolniczej w Poznaniu, 36, 107–133 [in Polish]

von den Driesch, A. (1976). A guide to the measurement of animal bones from archaeological sites [=Peabody Museum Bulletin 1]. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

von den Driesch, A. and Boessneck, J. (1974). Kritische Anmerkungen zur Widerristhöhenberechnung aus Längenmassen vor- und frühgeschichtlicher Tierknochen. Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen, 22, 325–348

Zeder, M.A. and Lapham, H.A. (2010). Assessing the reliability of criteria used to identify postcranial bones in sheep, Ovis, and goats, Capra. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37(11), 2887–2905

Zeder, M.A. and Pilaar, S.E. (2010). Assessing the reliability of criteria used to identify mandibles and mandibular teeth in sheep, Ovis, and goats, Capra. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37(2), 225–242