Åshild Vågene, physical anthropologist, Institute of Bioarchaeology Amara West Field School
Excavation of tumulus G308 in cemetery D at Amara West revealed a grave roughly three metres in diameter, with an interior structure of a type typical of the Kerma period. The interior of the grave is circular, consisting of two steps leading down towards a smaller circular grave pit in the southwest corner.
These features set the grave apart from the other tumuli dug here – yet another grave type found in cemeteries C and D.
The remains of a single individual were found within the grave, heavily disturbed, but with enough skeletal elements to suggest that the individual was buried in a flexed position: another difference with most burials at Amara West.
The presence of a few beads and sherds indicates there were originally grave goods placed with the deceased. However, the disarticulated state in which the skeleton was found, coupled with the sparse number of finds, suggests that this grave had been looted.
Despite this, some notable pottery was found close to the surface on the outer edges of the interior grave. Two complete ceramic vessels were uncovered and their position far from the body itself might indicate they are the remains of funerary offerings, not grave goods.
Being typical examples of Kerma pottery, with trademark red exterior and black rim, they suggest the burial is of the Kerma period (2500-1500 BC). This would be much earlier than the other burials – and indeed the occupation of the town.
Study of the ceramics – drawing, analysing the fabric, and comparing to published examples from other sites – should allow the date range to be narrowed down.