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10-10-2017

Trade and faith in Nubian early Makuria (AD 450–550): macroscopic examination of personal adornments from el-Zuma in Nubia

Joanna Then-Obłuska

Abstract

In the long history of the land between the Third and Fourth Cataracts on the Nile, the Early Makuria period is particularly well represented. The El-Zuma tumuli cemetery has been dated to the Early Makuria Phase II (AD 450–550). Although the graves were heavily robbed, the remains of personal adornments (beads, pendants, rings, and an earring) gave a broad overview of materials (marine shell, coral, ostrich eggshell, stone, metal, faience, glass) and techniques applied to their production. A comparative synopsis of contemporary Nubian adornments shows parallels for the objects from El-Zuma. What is more, an involvement of El-Zuma in regional and long-distance exchange during the Early Makuria period is suggested through the provenance of the materials and manufacturing techniques. Finally, the presence of a Christian symbol and imported beads in El-Zuma tumuli is meaningful.

Keywords

beads, pendants, personal adornment, Nubia, AD 450–550, early Makurian/late post-Meroitic

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