Late Roman, Byzantine and Medieval
Hagar El-Beida (Sudan) - Fourth Cataract
Dates of work: 11 January–18 January 2010
Director: Dr. Marek Chłodnicki, archaeologist (Poznań Archaeological Museum)
NCAM Representative: Dr. Ali Mirghani (NCAM , Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
Archaeologists: Paweł Polkowski (Poznań Archaeological Museum), Dr. Tomasz Stępnik (Pracownia Archeologiczna Uni-Art in Poznań)
For recently completed excavations by Marek Chłodnicki on the Fourth Cataract see the blog (in Polish): http://farcha.blox.pl/2010/03/Sudan-nie-Egipt-ale-byl-tam-kurhan-wspanialy.html.
The complex of tumuli cemeteries around Hagar el-Beida village, including a huge tumulus of unparalleled size in the region (diameter over 30 m), was discovered in 2003. Other tumuli in the complex were explored over the years, but the investigations of the huge mound, dubbed “royal” owing to its evidently elite character, could not be completed until 2010. The burial chamber turned out to be lined with bricks and to be furnished with a brick-lined shaft. A 2 m high kerb surrounded the grave structure, which was subsequently covered with a mound reaching 5 m in height. The main chamber had been robbed in antiquity, but three ceramic pots, three copper-alloy bowls — two with a masterful lotus-flower ornament, a ladle-pot and a small cup were still in place, as were a dozen iron arrowheads of different types. Scarce human skeletal remains were found. Other finds from the fill included copper-alloy rings and beads of faience, quartz, agate and glass. The grave could be attributed to post-Meroitic times, but at least part of the equipment was of Meroitic date.