From England to Sudan

In the previous entry we praised the variety of academic activities undertaken by our colleagues in England and this entry will rather confirm the impression. We will refer to three publications of interest to both the Medieval Sai Project and Nubian Studies more generally.

First, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa has invited newly appointed doctors on disciplines related to African Archaeology to submit the abstract of their PhD thesis for publication in the journal. One of the first to appear was by Angela Soler from Michigan State University titled “Life and death in a medieval Nubian farming community: the experience at Mis Island” – a work based on material collected by the Sudan Archaeological Research Society activities in the Fourth Cataract region. The contribution of physical anthropology to our understanding of Medieval Nubia is undoubted.

Second, Roy Thomson and Quita Mould have edited a volume titled Leather Tanneries. The Archaeological Evidence. This difficult topic, both for its technical details and for its recognition in the archaeological record, is focused in case studies from Britain, but a photo documentation of a modern tannery in Omdurman (under the titile “Traditional leather tanning in central Sudan”) has also found its place in this knowledgeable publication. The author is Lucy Skinner who had already published a fuller account of “A visit to a traditional leather tannery in Central Sudan” – albeit with less photos – in the 11th volume of the journal Sudan & Nubia (2007, pp. 125-126).

Third – and in similar contexts like the previous one – a highly expected publication has been announced and this concerns Leatherwork from Qasr Ibrim by J. Veldmeijer. We do not know to what extent there will be included any technical study conducted on the manuscripts on leather, parchment, and vellum discovered at Qasr Ibrim, but even the more general examination of such technological aspects of the Medieval Nubian world will eventually shed ample light on the related phenomena linked with aspects of Christian literacy in the medieval societies of the Middle Nile Valley.

On another level and announcing the next entry already: tomorrow Alexandros flies to Khartoum and perhaps leather products can make good presents to bring back after this new Sudan adventure ;-)

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