Early Makuria Research Project – El-Zuma Cemetery
Edited by Mahmoud El-Tayeb – Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska
EARLY MAKURIA RESEARCH PROJECT – EL-ZUMA CEMETERY
The elite tumuli cemetery at the village of El-Zuma in the Dongola Reach, the cradle of ancient Nubian civilization, is at the centre of this three-volume study. The site, which is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, has been excavated since 2004 by the Polish Centre of the Medi-terranean Archaeology University of Warsaw in collaboration with the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums of Sudan.
The investigation of the burials representing different classes of the Nubian elite has brought into the limelight a long understudied period in ancient Nubian history, that is, the centuries preceding the rise of the Christian kingdom of Makuria.
Hence the moniker “Early Makuria”, which refers to a broader programme of research, as well as to the political and social entity that the elites buried in El-Zuma were part of.
The three-volume monograph Early Makuria Research Project. El-Zuma Cemetery is a comprehensive presentation of the results of the excavation project.
Volume I discusses the excavation of the tombs (Mahmoud El-Tayeb, Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska and Ewa Skowrońska with a methodological section by Szymon Lenarczyk, Zofia Kowalska and Magdalena Antos) and the bioarchaeological research that was carried out on the skeletal remains, both human and faunal, giving insight into funerary traditions set in a broader historical and economical background of the site and region (Robert Mahler,
Iwona Kozieradzka-Ogunmakin, Abagail Breidenstein, Urszula Iwaszczuk). It also draws plans for an archaeological park to be established at the site (Jolanta Juchniewicz, Mah-moud El-Tayeb).
Volumes ii and iii have been dedicated to studies of the artefacts found in burial contexts. In Volume ii, Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska discusses details of the pottery typology, classification, manufacturing techniques, fabric and ware descriptions with a separate section on oil lamps (contributed by Aneta Cedro).
Small finds are the theme of Volume iii, opening with a study by Joanna Then-Obłuska of personal adornments and ornaments, such as beads, jewellery and toilet containers. The second part of the volume is a presentation, by Łukasz Zieliński and Ewa Czyżewska-Zalewska, of the metal artefacts as a category, focused on weaponry and personal accessories, as well as miscellaneous burial equipment.