Sai field season 2011

Having contributed in addressing various verbal protests against the building of further dams on the River Nile and the Atbara River (i.e. sign a petition here), we wish to turn to a different thematic in the coming couple of blog entries. We were actually contemplating for quite some time now the idea to refresh a bit on the archaeological data included in the Medieval Sai Project Internet space. What’s a better way to start than the news that we received from our colleagues that continued fieldwork this year on Sai?

This photo was sent to us by our dear mudira (merci Florence!) and shows the members of all the groups that were present on Sai in 2011: the prehistoric expedition under Elena Garcea, the Pharaonic expedition under Florence Doyen and the Meroitic one under Vincent Francigny. Results from the fieldwork of all are highly expected!

Among these, there will also be some data related to the Christian period graves excavated by the group digging the Meroitic cemetery behind the Qalat Sai. There the ground was used for many centuries spanning the Late Antiquity and the Medieval period, and already from last year an infant cemetery was located and partially explored.

These infant burials in pottery jars of the Christian period are interesting both from an ethnographic perspective and for purposes of ceramic studies of course.

The finding of Medieval pottery is far from a scarce phenomenon on the island, as it has been shown during our 2009 survey, but there are specific finding conditions that are rather privileged for the extraction of useful archaeological and historical assumptions.

Even more than the cemeteries, the continuity of use of the settlement sites belongs to this last category, and thus we greatly appreciate the cooperation with the team excavating the Pharaonic town where some of the material – logically – belongs to the Christian horizons.

Last but not least, a word about the news that we received concerning the site that is the focus of our own activities: the bad news are that some vehicles did not respect the preventive measures that we took last year in order to divert traffic and protect the site; but the good news are that no one violated the site or disturbed the excavated area and the assembled pottery from our dig. Friends and colleagues confirmed that the site is waiting for our return, and we are also looking forward to enjoying again some hopefully free of nimiti leisure moments on the veranda of the dig house (merci pour la photo Vincent!) amidst days of further fascinating discoveries from the medieval past of Sai island…

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