A View from the Periphery. Bioarchaeology and Funerary Archaeology at Al Khiday, Central Sudan


Archaeological sites south of Khartoum are much scarcer compared to those further to the north and this presentation aims to report on a multi-phase cemetery that is situated at the periphery of our archaeological knowledge. At present, burials dating to three chronological periods have been recovered at Al Khiday. The site is located on the left bank of the White Nile, approximately 20 km south of Omdurman (Khartoum). Forty-two individuals are dated to the Classic/Late Meroitic period (end of the 1st millennium BCE/beginning of the 1st millennium CE), while 25 early Neolithic burials date to the mid-5th millennium BCE. Bioarchaeological parameters (age and sex distribution) are analysed in conjunction with funerary rites (body placement, orientation and grave goods) and compared to Neolithic and Meroitic cemeteries in Nubia to evaluate whether the Al Khiday populations adhered to the same burial customs as those further north. Furthermore, the oldest burials, dated to the pre-Mesolithic period (>12.700-11.100 BCE), by using a combination of stratigraphic observations, mineral deposition and stable isotope analyses are the most exceptional. Most of the 94 individuals are buried in an extended, prone position, attesting to a unique funerary rite that is unparalleled on such a large scale.

Cite this Record

A View from the Periphery. Bioarchaeology and Funerary Archaeology at Al Khiday, Central Sudan. Tina Jakob, Joe W. Walser III, Donatella Usai, Sandro Salvatori. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429361)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16047