Dongola (Sudan), 2015

Dongola (Sudan)


Dates of work: 3 January–6 February 2015 (1); 9 November–14 December 2015 (2)

Co-directors: Prof. Włodzimierz Godlewski, archaeologist, Prof. Adam Łajtar, epigraphist (2015/1), Dr. Dorota Dzierzbicka, archaeologist (2015/2) (all Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw)
NCAM representatives: Shawgi Tawalbed (2015/1), Alsamani Ezeldeen Kara (2015/2)
Archaeologists: Piotr Makowski (independent; 2015/1), Maciej Marciniak (PhD candidate, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw; 2015/2), Dr. Dobrochna Zielińska (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw; 2015/1)
Epigraphist: Agata Deptuła (PhD candidate, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw; 2015/1–2)
Architect: Dr. Romuald Tarczewski (Wrocław University of Science and Technology; 2015/2)
Conservators: Maciej Karpiński (2015/2), Jolanta Ewa Kurzyńska (2015/1), Urszula Kusz (2015/1–2) (all freelance)
Archaeozoologist: Dr. Marta Osypińska (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań branch; 2015)
Archaeologist/topographer: Szymon Lenarczyk (PhD candidate, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw; 2015/1–2)
Student-trainees: Agnieszka Ryś, Maciej Wyżgoł, students of archaeology (both Institute of Archaeology,University of Warsaw; 2015/1)

(Joint description of seasons 2014 and 2015)

Fieldwork in 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 was carried out in three sectors: citadel ramparts, site SWN in the citadel and the monastic complex on Kom H, continuing earlier work reported on in previous volumes of PAM. A stretch of the fortifications, 80 m long, consisting of three lines of curtain walls, was explored between bastions NE and E.2. The lower lines, probably constructed in the 16th century, proved to be built of stone and mud brick on top of sand dunes accumulated against the original fortifications of the citadel. The sand dune, which is about 4 m high in this area, and a Funj-period facing wall covering the original 5th/6th century defenses were removed from the full length of the rampart between the two towers. The original wall had a face of irregular stone blocks and was preserved to a height of over 8 m. Tower N.2, destroyed most likely in the 13th century, was rebuilt in mud brick during the Funj period.

Investigation and conservation continued inside Building SWN.B.V. The upper-layer deposits from this royal church were removed from the naos and the northeastern part of the building (prothesis). Wall paintings preserved on the walls and pillars of the church were successively protected and studied. Three representations of priests were identified as presbyters by the accompanying legends. The most complete image was of presbyter Theophorou, depicted presenting two big vessels to an enthroned Virgin Mary and Child. A new shelter was constructed over the building, the first one having been damaged by extremely harsh weather conditions in the previous year.

On Kom H, comprehensive clearing was undertaken of the funerary monuments in the cemetery along the western facade of the monastery complex, between the Northwest and the Southwest Annex. Excavations were conducted in the monastery courtyard and inside the Central Building on the northern side of the church. A shelter of sorts was constructed over the western part of the monastic church and all the fragments of wall paintings from the late church were transferred there.

A wall shielding the site from windblown sand was contructed to the north of the fortifications and the religious complex formed by the Cruciform Church and Cathedral 4. Granite capitals from Cathedral 3 were arranged in a display on the southern side of this new wall.

See also:

  • W. Godlewski and D. Dzierzbicka (eds). (2015). Dongola 2012–2014. Fieldwork, conservation and site management (=PCMA Excavation Series 3). Warsaw: PCMA

Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 25

W. Godlewski: w.godlewski(at)