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  • Author or Editor: Urszula Iwaszczuk x
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In: Early Makuria Research Project. El-Zuma Cemetery (3-vol. set)

Abstract

The recent discovery of Nile crocodile remains in the mortuary complexes of two high-ranking courtiers of Nebhepetra Mentuhotep II, located in the early Middle Kingdom necropolis in the valley of North Asasif, opened the way to an exploration of the role of reptile remains in funerary contexts. The skeletal remains, which were not mummified, consisted of fragments of the skull and mandible, loose teeth, and osteoderms. This paper explores the association that may have existed between the deceased and the crocodile god Sobek, whom the ancient Egyptians identified with pharaonic power, inundation and fertility. From the Middle Kingdom, Sobek, who was believed to have risen from the Primeval Waters, was merged with the sun-god Ra, and in the solar form of Sobek-Ra was made part of the eternal journey of the sun from the east to the west. This association was also reflected in the Spells of the Coffin Texts, in which the deceased became Sobek.

In: Journal of African Archaeology
The three-volume publication of the results of archaeological excavations at the UNESCO heritage site of El-Zuma in Sudan, investigated by PCMA University of Warsaw and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in Khartoum, presents an Early Makurian elite tumuli cemetery from the 5th–6th centuries AD. This period in ancient Nubian history, preceding the rise of the Christian kingdoms, has long been understudied. Informed analyses by an array of specialists on the team cover the archaeological and bioarchaeological evidence from the tombs (Volume 1) as well as the abundant ceramics (Volume 2) and small finds, especially jewellery, weaponry and personal accessories (Volume 3). The outcome is a people-oriented view of an elite community in ancient Nubia at the dawn of a new age in its history.