Detecting seasonal movements between the Nile Valley and the adjacent desert in the Early Holocene period is a difficult task. The material production, especially the lithic industries, may have been oriented to different economic activities forwarded in these two different environments. Identifying lithic products as the output of the same cultural group moving from one area to the other may be, for this reason, quite complex. The Nabta region and the IInd Cataract offer an interesting hint on this argument. This contribution will try to highlight similarities between groups living in the Nile Valley and the Western Desert considering artefacts and faunal remains left by the inhabitants of Nabta/Kiseiba area and the Khartoum Variant sites of the Nile Valley IInd Cataract. This analysis will also make possible to advance a new chronological attribution for the Khartoum Variant cultural phase.
Following a line of research amply discussed in a paper that appeared in this same journal (Vol. 3 , 2005: 103- 115), the data presented here represent a further attempt to “track” the movements of the Western Desert dwellers into the Nile Valley and to reinforce the hypothesis that the Western Desert and the Nile Valley were, even in the Early Holocene, part of an integrated ecological and cultural system. The continuous search for archaeological data to prove this link led us to a site located nearly 45 years ago by the Colorado Expedition in Nubia in Wadi Karagan that displays a lithic assemblage that literally looks like a “photocopy” of some of the El Kortein/Bir Kiseiba collections. A comparison with these assemblages and a detail analysis of their chronological setting allow the establishment of a relative date for site 11-I-13 and pinpoint some new problems to be solved.
The first millennium BC in Sudan sees the birth of the Kushite (Napatan and then Meroitic) Kingdom. Royal cities, cemeteries and centres of religious power have attracted archaeologists and historians while peripheral areas have only rarely seen any systematic investigations. This lack of research provides difficulties in interpreting the limited evidence of the Napatan and Meroitic periods located on the White and Blue Niles and limits our comprehension of the role of this region within the political, economic and cultural framework of the kingdom. Recently, a multiphase cemetery was discovered at the site of Al Khiday 2, on the west bank of the White Nile, which was also used by a small group that is thought to be closely related to the Meroitic. The graves excavated have produced a bio-archaeological sample that is presented here with detailed descriptions of the funerary practices, including different types of grave structures, grave goods, burial position and orientation of the inhumations, as well as an overview of the anthropological analysis of this population. These findings are placed within the wider context of Meroitic studies by providing comparisons with contemporaneous sites, highlighting the possible elements of contiguity with that world, as well as providing some reflection on future research directions.
The middle reaches of the Nile River play a key role in the current models about the diffusion of modern Humans out of Africa, nevertheless the Early and the Middle Stone Age (Early Palaeolithic and Middle Palaeolithic) in central Sudan are poorly known. On-going investigation at al-Jamrab (White Nile region) highlights the archaeological potential of the central Sudan and illustrates the importance of an integrated approach combining archaeological excavation and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction for understanding cultural site formation and post-depositional dynamics. The stratigraphic sequence at al-Jamrab includes a thick cultural layer rich in Early and Middle Stone Age artefacts, preserved in a deeply weathered palaeosol developed on fluvial sediments. The cultural layer includes a two-fold human occupation covering the Middle Stone Age, with Acheulean and Sangoan bifacial artefacts, although an Early Stone Age/Middle Stone Age transitional phase cannot be excluded. The artefact-bearing unit is attributed to the Upper Pleistocene based on preliminary OSL dating, the local palaeoenvironmental context, and strong pedogenetic weathering. Considering the paucity of archaeological data for the Pleistocene of Sudan and the importance of this region in the study of human dispersal out of Africa, this preliminary work on a new site and its associated stratigraphic context provides insights into the early peopling of Sudan and adds one more tessera to the Eastern Africa picture.