Antiquity have made a number of short articles available free of charge in their Project Gallery section. Please find a short selection below but see the above link for the search engine which will enable you to find more articles.
With map, photographs and diagrams.
Excavating a unique pre-Mesolithic cemetery in central Sudan
Donatella Usai, Sandro Salvatori, Paola Iacumin, Antonietta Di Matteo, Tina Jakob & Andrea Zerboni.
The population of the pre-Mesolithic cemetery at Al Khiday 2 (16-D-4, Figure 1) in central Sudan must have had a unique outlook on the afterlife. Archaeologists associate flexed inhumation burials common to prehistoric cemeteries worldwide with the foetal position, a formal expression of a 'new life'. However, what explanation can be suggested for burying the deceased in a prone and extended position as found at Al Khiday 2? Here we report on this unique cemetery with its unusual burial rite (Figure 2).
The cemetery is a multi-stratified site on a low fluvial bar, probably deposited by the Nile in the Upper Pleistocene (Williamson 2009), and is located 35km south of Omdurman, on the western bank of the White Nile. The site of Al Khiday 2 was discovered during an extensive survey covering c. 245km². Archaeological work took place in 2006-2008 excavating c. 475m². A total of 120 skeletons have so far been excavated and bioarchaeological studies, including demography, metric and non-metric analysis to establish population differences, as well as skeletal and dental pathology, were carried out. The site was excavated stratigraphically and organic material (charcoals, bones and shells) was collected for radiocarbon dating, performed at BETA Analytic Laboratory, USA (Table 1). Archaeological contexts were defined by pottery decoration, according to a classification proposed by Caneva (Caneva 1988), and supported by layer-feature specific radiometric dating. Calibration (2σ in the text) of conventional and AMS radiocarbon results used INTCAL04 under OxCal v.3.10; uncalibrated years are reported as bp while calibrated age is indicated as cal years BC/AD.
The oldest representation of a Nile boat
D. Usai & S. Salvatori
The El Salha Archaeological Project has been the subject of archaeological and geo-morphological reconnaissance and excavation in Central Sudan by the Is.I.A.O. (Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente) since the autumn of 2000. The name given to the project comes from the El Salha village which lies along the western bank of the White Nile at about 15km south of Omdurman (Figure 1). The two main goals of the project are the archaeological exploration of one the core areas of the Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures along the Nile Valley, scarcely known to date (Arkell 1949; Marshall & Adam 1953), and the emergency investigation of several large archaeological sites located along the Nile bank and in the interior in danger of destruction because of the rapid urban growth of the villages located south of Omdurman. We have now located 160 archaeological sites (settlements and graveyards) ranging from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Early Islamic period (Usai & Salvatori 2002). Of particular interest are the many Mesolithic and Neolithic sites, which are often larger than 10ha in size, located both along the Nile and in the interior along the edges of an Early and Middle Holocene lagoon or lake-like basin.
With map, photographs and diagrams.
Cosmetic connections? An Egyptian relief carving from Early Bronze Age Tel Bet Yerah (Israel)
Raphael Greenberg, David Wengrow & Sarit Paz
Tel Bet Yerah (Khirbet el-Kerak) is a low, 30ha mound located at the egress of the River Jordan from the Sea of Galilee, in northern Israel (Figure 1). Excavated periodically since 1933 (see Greenberg et al. 2006), the site provides one of the earliest examples of planned urban settlement in the southern Levant. Renewed excavations, led by the University of Tel Aviv in collaboration with University College London, have brought to light new evidence for the relationship between the Early Bronze Age town and the then nascent kingdom of Egypt to the south.
During the 2009 excavations, a fragment of Egyptian relief carving was found in proximity to a monumental structure known as the 'Circles Building'. Presented here for the first time, it is best identified as a piece from a ceremonial cosmetic palette, of the same genre as the famous palette of King Narmer. The find is remarkable, both in its own right and for its location. Egyptian cosmetic palettes of simpler forms are quite widely documented in the southern Levant (Jacobs 1996). But prior to the discovery of the 'Bet Yerah Palette', examples with relief decoration — most of which were produced during a relatively narrow window of time (c. 3300-3100 BC, or 'Dynasty 0') — were known only within Egypt itself, and their use was assumed to have been confined to the early Egyptian elite.