Investigating life in
an Egyptian town
- National Corporation for Antiquities
and Museums, Sudan
- University of Durham
- University of Manchester
- University of Aberystwyth
- Purdue University
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The cemeteries at Amara West
The town is surrounded by two different cemetery areas, to the north-east (Cemetery C) and north-west (D). Cemetery C features several small burial mounds made up of alluvial silt and local black schist stones. Additionally, a geomagnetometry survey revealed a large number of grave cuts in between.
Eleven graves were investigated during the first field season in 2009 and additional 24 graves during the second season in 2011, among them graves with large underground burial chambers used for the consecutive burial of up to 50 individuals.
The finds recovered from this cemetery suggest that the first graves in Cemetery C were built during the period of New Kingdom colonial rule over Nubia (about 1070 BC), contemporary to the town site. It continued to be in use throughout the 10th and 9th century BC until the emergence of the Napatan Empire (late 9th century BC), a period about which very little is known.
The graves also provide evidence that Egyptian funerary rites and material culture remained in use even after the end of Egyptian occupation, alongside traditional Nubian cultural elements.
Cemetery D is located on an escarpment to the north-west, overlooking the town. Following a geomagnetometry survey which revealed about 60 graves, nine tombs were excavated during the season of 2010. The most significant graves in this cemetery are graves featuring substantial mudbrick superstructures.
Based on the grave goods recovered in the large rock-cut underground burial chambers, these tombs can be dated to the 19th dynasty and are assumed to be graves of officials serving at Amara West. However, some finds also suggest that the graves were also used for burials after the New Kingdom. Other notable tombs in Cemetery D feature large mudbrick vaults inside their shaft.