Early Makuria (Sudan), 2013

Early Makuria (Sudan)

Dates of work: 19 January – 10 March 2013

Director: Mahmoud El-Tayeb, archaeologist (PCMA UW)
NCAM representatives: Huyam Khalid, Neamat Mohamed El-Hassan
Archaeologists: Ewa Skowrońska (independent), Aleksandra Głąb (independent), (independent), Ewa Czyżewska (PCMA UW)
Anthropologist: Robert Mahler (PCMA UW)
Archaeozoologist: Urszula Iwaszczuk (independent)

(Joint description of seasons 2012 and 2013)

Excavations in the El-Zuma Tumuli Field Project over two successive seasons in 2012 and 2013 focused on the exploration of three tumuli representing types II and III in the site classification system. Type II, a middle-sized flat-topped mound, is represented by tumuli T.12, T.14, T.15 and T.24, whereas Type III, the smallest in size, by tumuli T.21 and T.28. Type II mounds are built of pure gravel and sand, surrounded by a stone ring made of rough chunks of sandstone. Crater-like depressions are observed on the center top of these mounds, indicating as a rule rifling of the burials in antiquity. Burials of Type III also appeared to be plundered in the past. Limited exploration was undertaken of tumuli T.7, belonging to Type I (the largest of the mounds), in an effort to unveil the entrance to an underground tunnel leading to the main burial chamber, the nature of which remains unexplained.

Excavation in 2013 of two tumuli, T.15 and T.21, making up part of the Early Makurian cemetery at El-Zuma, yielded numerous animal bones among other finds. Except for one bird bone and seven unidentified fragments, the remains belonged to an ovicaprid. Marks visible on the bones from both tumuli confirmed that the parts of cattle and ovicaprine carcasses served as food offerings for the dead.

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

Mahmoud El-Tayeb: mahmoudeltayeb@uw.edu.pl