Banganarti and Selib (Sudan), 2012

Banganarti and Selib (Sudan)

Dates of work: 10 December 2011–24 February 2012

Director: Bogdan Żurawski, archaeologist (Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences)
NCAM representative: Fathiya Abd er-Rahman
Archaeological trench supervisors:
Selib 1 – Aneta Cedro (PhD candidate, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń),
Selib 2 – Roksana Hajduga (PhD candidate, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
team – Agata Deptuła (PhD candidate, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw), Ewa Skowrońska (student, Institute of Archaeology, University of Szczecin), Katarzyna Solarska (PhD candidate, Institute of Archaeology, University of Rzeszów)
Rescue archaeology team: Dr. Marcin Wiewióra, archaeologist (Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń) and Roman Łopaciuk (GeoMatic)
Archaeologist-iconologist: Dr. Magdalena Łaptaś (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw)
Conservator: Tadeusz Badowski (freelance)
Topographers/surveyors: Bartosz Wojciechowski (PhD candidate, University of Warsaw)
Volunteers: Wojciech Kotlarek, Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Marta Kolbusz (all Poland), Sebastien Maillot and Magdalena Woźniak (both PhD candidates, Université Paris Sorbonne)

(Joint description of season 2011/2012 and 2013)

In the course of two seasons in 2012 and 2013 the team carried out excavations and research on the living quarters alongside the fortifications of Banganarti, including a large building (E.1) and eastern tower. Work on the restoration/conservation of the Upper Church progressed according to plan, combined with limited iconographic studies. The assemblage of faunal remains from Banganarti was subjected to archaeozoological examination. The team also worked at the sites of Selib and Soniyat.

At Selib explorations continued at three locations. The phasing of the church at Selib 1 was established, leading to a reconstruction of the plan of the earliest two buildings. Part of a lower building was uncovered during the third and fourth seasons of excavation at the site of a church. Finds from the fill between floors confirmed the early dating of the oldest church (6th/7th century). Two buildings were examined in the vicinity of the inner peribolos: BN.13, which proved to be a domestic dwelling from a later phase (11th–12th century), and BS.13, identified as a structure of religious function built before the 9th–10th century.

A Meroitic(?) structure was investigated at Selib 3 and the Meroitic settlement at Selib 2 continued to be investigated. Selib 2 is a Meroitic settlement site of the 1st–4th century situated on the right bank of the Nile, 9 km upstream from the Christian pilgrimage site of Banganarti. Archaeological excavation in 2011/2012 was focused on two (of three recorded) Meroitic houses located in the northeastern part of the site. The mud-brick architecture was preserved at foundation level. Large amounts of pottery, stone finds and bone fragments were collected for further analysis.

A tachymetric plan and magnetic map of the environs of the Kushite temple at Soniyat was accomplished, recording a huge building (palace?) of apparently Kushite date (Napatan ceramic forms and Egyptian imports dating from the Third Intermediate Period) to the north of the temple. A separate team undertook a reconnaissance in regions scheduled to be flooded due to new dam construction projects in Kajbar and Shereik (Third and Fifth cataracts), staying on to record in detail a number of Makurian fortresses.

[Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 24/1]

B. Żurawski: