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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Tina Jakob

Usai, D., Salvatori, S., Jakob, T. & David, R. (2014). The Al Khiday Cemetery in Central Sudan and its “Classic/Late Meroitic” Period Graves. Journal of African Archaeology 12(2): 183-204.

Author(s) from Durham


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.