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Ancient Nubia: C-Group Culture (about 2494-1550 BC)

The C-Group culture in Lower Nubia, immediately south of Egypt's southern border, was contemporary with the Old to New Kingdoms in Egypt (about 2613-1070 BC). The people of the C-Group were pastoralists, herding cattle, and their social system was essentially tribal. Although cattle herding was a migrant lifestyle, there were several important settlements, including Faras and Aniba.

In the Twelfth Dynasty (about 1985-1795 BC) the C-Group territory was taken over and the Egyptians built a string of forts between the second and third cataracts of the Nile. The forts attracted the C-Group people, whose economies benefited through trade with the Egyptians. It has been suggested that this situation prevented the C-Group population from developing contact with the neighbouring Kerma culture to the south.

Few objects of the C-Group culture are found and most of these are from graves. Bodies were placed on their sides in a crouching position in round or oval pits and a circular superstructure of gravel, within a ring of stones, was built above them. Objects such as pottery, clothing, jewellery and sometimes figurines of women and cattle were placed in the grave. C-Group pottery is quite distinctive and shows a strong African influence; it is handmade and often decorated with incised geometric designs, filled with white pigment.

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British Museum collections, £12.99

British Museum collections, £12.99