Alex De Voogt
Alex De Voogt
Alex de Voogt and Vincent Francigny
During Late Antiquity in the Middle Nile Valley, the cemeteries of the Kingdom of Meroe had their graves visited many times after the first burial took place. Even if robbers left a burial chamber open, it could still be reused soon after for another individual accompanied by a regular funerary ceremony. The term “grave activity” is introduced here to describe any human intervention likely to modify the environment of a tomb. It includes any (re-)opening of the grave related to looting activity or reburial practice. “Grave activity” may affect the structure, the position and presence of one or more bodies as well as the presence (or absence) of funerary deposits. A disturbed grave should be studied by disentangling these activities. This can be achieved with a reconstruction of the chronology and the types of activity as well as the particular consequences of each. While these activities are usually highly confusing to archaeologists, it is shown how a systematic documentation can be used to offer a better understanding and interpretation of Meroitic funerary practices.
Johan Weststeijn and Alex De Voogt
Alex de Voogt, Nathan Epstein and Laurie Linders
Duru or rounds are a central aspect of calculating moves in a group of mancala games. It is shown that the ability to calculate multiple duru is a prerequisite to mancala (bao) expertise in Zanzibar, while duru-related optimization strategies explain the accomplishments of Maldivian mancala (ohvalhu) players. Since bao masters define duru calculation skills as part of bao expertise, their performance on duru calculation tasks is contrasted with that of novice players. The results show that only game-specific duru calculation skills distinguish novices from master players. Maldivian players of ohvalhu solved their mancala game by identifying a winning opening. Their optimization strategy includes a minimization of the number of duru for a move choice. Duru calculations have a central role in our understanding of mancala expertise and both game-specific and general aspects of duru inform us about problem-solving and decision-making processes of mancala experts.