Below you will find general sessions (suggested by the organising committee) as well as thematic sessions (suggested by individual researchers via the call for sessions). Next to the titles of the latter you will notice the names of researchers who gave the idea for the session and prepared the abstract.
The sessions are listed in alphabetic order.
African interconnections (session suggested by the organising committee)
Topics in this session revolve around interconnections between Sudan and other regions, including:
- Cultural contacts with other parts of Africa, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and beyond;
- Trade routes and communication networks;
- Exchange of goods and ideas;
- Technology transfers;
- Economic influences;
- Mobility, migration and interaction in the material record and linguistics;
- Political interactions associated with invasion and hostility;
- Dynamics of frontier regions.
Amun of Thebes and Amun of Napata, comparing two high priests organizations in New Kingdom (session suggested by Giacomo Cavillier)
The cult of Amun at Napata constitutes one of the most interesting aspects of the final process of ‘Egyptianisation’ of Nubia in the New Kingdom. Two Amons, two theological and political profiles and two priestly classes symbolised power in Upper Egypt and Nubia. The session will highlight the differences and similarities between the two cults and between the two ways of conceiving the exercise of power in the domains of the god in both Thebes and Napata. In Nubia, this event will gradually lead to the Kushite renaissance and the subsequent conquest of Egypt.
Borderscapes of the Nubian world: multiple approaches, new paradigms (session suggested by Oren Siegel and Maria Carmela Gatto)
This session solicits papers interrogating the concepts of geopolitical, socio-cultural, natural, symbolic, and spiritual boundaries in Nubia, from Prehistory to present days. Although problematic, we retain the term Nubia to define a broader “cultural” zone that extends beyond geographical boundaries.
Often even the most defined borders are fuzzier and far more complex than they first appear, and we propose to approach this complexity through the concept of “borderscapes”: the political, cultural, physical, mental, intellectual, and/or spiritual geographies where boundaries are located, and where the tangible and intangible practices of boundary-making and boundary-maintenance occur. The concept of the “borderscape” emphasizes how boundaries are actively shaped in specific places, though these places need not exist in the physical world.
The spectrum for this session is intentionally broad since such boundaries have taken so many different forms in Nubia, and all have changed dynamically over time and across space. Such boundaries ranged from more rigid examples like the militarized political border at Semna in the reign of Senwosret III to the more nebulous horizons of C-Group, Kerman, and Pan-Grave cultures or the intellectual/religious frontiers between later Christian and Muslim communities in the region. Papers exploring Nubian boundaries from any theoretical or empirical perspective are welcome.
Community archaeology and heritage management (session suggested by the organising committee)
The session brings together papers concerning projects and activities in community archaeology and management of heritage, including:
- Communication with local communities;
- Community engagement programmes;
- Site preservation and presentation;
- Challenges in heritage management;
- Conservation programmes;
- Decolonisation of archaeological practice.
Creating and expressing identity (session suggested by the organising committee)
The focus of this session is identity in the Nubian past, especially archaeological, historical and ethnographic perspectives on:
- Concepts of family, kin, tribe, social group and community;
- Gender studies;
- Religious identity;
- Language and identity;
- Reading identity from iconography and personal objects, ornamentation and symbols.
Critical historiographies (session suggested by the organising committee and Bogusław R. Zagórski)
The focus of the session is discussion of research on textual sources on the history of Sudan. The topics include:
- External and local textual sources relevant to historical studies;
- Historical geographies;
- Nomenclature and vocabulary;
- Decolonization of historical narratives.
Everyday life (session suggested by the organising committee)
The papers in this session concern all aspects of everyday life, with focus on household archaeology. Presentations on aspects of daily activity in nomadic communities, on temporary dwelling sites, monasteries, military sites, etc. are also welcome. The topics include:
- Domestic architecture, building practices and materials;
- Uses of the domestic workspace;
- Economy and chaine operatoire of household production and food processing;
- Crafts in everyday life,
- Technological change and evolution of objects for household use;
- Conceptualizing space and privacy;
- Reading daily life from textual sources;
- Space syntax at household level.
From Kush to Nubia, the Middle Nile transition from Late Antiquity to Early Middle Ages (session suggested by Pieter Carlel Andreas Tesch)
The proposal is based on the work of Peter Heather, author amongst other of ‘Empires & Barbarians: Migrattion, Development and the birth of Europe’ and other scholars of Late Antiquity & Earlt Middle Ages in the wider Eurasian and Mediterranean space. What can be learnt, or not, of their research regarding the history between 300-600AD/CE on the Roman border regions and beyond in Africa in general and Lower & Upper Nubia in particular.
Future perspectives and technological advances in Nubiology (session suggested by the organising committee)
Papers introducing of state-of-the-art technologies that change the face of research and novel insights and angles that challenge the status quo, including:
- New approaches to archival materials;
- Museum archaeology;
- Digital mapping;
- Remote sensing.
Interdisciplinary approaches to memory (session suggested by the organising committee)
Presentations concerning materialised memory in archaeology, impact of memory on past societies, as well as on recent and contemporary past. The topics include:
- Oral histories and folklore;
- Memory and language;
- Monuments and places of memory, including burials and burial grounds;
- Meaning of landscape and culturally important landmarks;
- The study of toponyms and naming practices;
- Continuity and discontinuity of habitual practices;
- Text and image as media that shaped and preserved cultural memory;
- Impact of memory on material culture and cultural continuity;
- Intangible cultural heritage;
- Nubian legacy in the modern world.
Living in Nubia – a bioarchaeological perspective (session suggested by the organising committee)
The objective of this session is to bring together specialists in physical anthropology, zooarchaeology and archaeobotany to present research on past populations and their interactions with the environment. The topics include:
- Diet and foodways;
- Subsistence strategies;
- Husbandry and agricultural economy;
- Biological resilience and responses to environmental conditions;
- Health and disease;
- Birth and death.
Mobility and interactions of riverine and desert communities (session suggested by the organising committee)
The session aims to explore relations between the Nile Valley, oases and surrounding deserts by bringing together papers focusing on various perceptions of these environments and interactions between their inhabitants expressed in material culture and oral traditions.
- Nile valley and desert communities and their interactions;
- Mobility of population groups;
- Influence of hydrological conditions and climate on riverine and desert communities.
Perspectives on Alwan graffiti (session suggested by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei)
The study of graffiti has a long history in Nubiology. From the earliest campaigns connected with the Aswan Dams until full-scale research projects in the context of the QSAP, researchers of various backgrounds and with interests in different periods of the Nubian past have turned their attention to this epigraphic habit. However, as usually in the study of the medieval past in Sudan, the focus has been on the archaeological records from sites between the First and the Fourth Cataracts. The areas further upstream have not received equal attention, although a vast repertoire of both pictorial and textual graffiti have been recorded on the walls of the pyramids at Meroe and, especially, the temples at Musawwarat es-Suffra. Although these corpora are for the most part dated to the Meroitic period, Christian texts and images have also been registered during the work conducted at those sites by the Humboldt University of Berlin and the German Archaeological Institute.
The proposed session wishes to shed light on the little-known phenomenon of the use of the walls of ancient temples and funerary monuments as epigraphic surfaces for scribal acts of Christian people of the medieval centuries in the region south of the junction of the Nile with the Atbara River, which was territory of the kingdom of Alwa. The session will focus on the archaeological context and the Meroitic graffiti as background for the medieval Christian epigraphy; the corpus of texts from Musawwarat and Meroë and their significance for understanding the use of Nubian languages in the Alwan kingdom; and an interpretation of the choices made by the scribes of these texts as to where and why these epigraphic acts took place.
Preliminary reports on recent projects (session suggested by the organising committee)
Session hosting papers on new fieldwork activities, latest discoveries and projects which are just beginning and can be presented only as preliminary reports.
Soil Meroitic relationship: a pedo-geotechnological approach (session suggested by Saeed Mosmar Alawad)
Since man made decision in resource utilization, husbandry of plants and animals is possibly depending in natural resources. Soil resources is one of the fundamental natural resources. Meroitic utilization of Butana plain has to relies in assess the suitability of the plain and climate for agricultural purposes. Meroe agricultural system served to operate with socio-economic, political situations and environment. It’s no doubt that the physical nature and man interaction of land imposes finger prints on agricultural development. As population increases, they rely more on land resources. So, it enforces people to extent resources utilization in suitable areas. Butana is one of these areas. The session looks for soil geography of the West Central Butana in the context of nature study, distribution, formation, to detect how man soil are interrelated. The research relies on pedo-geotechnological approach. This to highlight how Meroitic man through time adopt environment and influenced soils.
Studies in urban and rural landscapes (session suggested by the organising committee)
Topics presented in this session concentrate on villages, urban centres and their hinterlands and include:
- Building practice and architecture of settlement sites (including functional settlements like fortresses, monasteries, caravan stations, etc.);
- Urbanisation and urban planning;
- Space syntax at settlement level;
- Settlement networks and their patterns;
- Defense systems and their architecture;
- Location strategies.
The oldest chapters – insight into Nubian Prehistory (session suggested by Piotr Osypiński)
The main aim of this session focus on the latests ideas and advances in research upon the oldest chapters of Nubian archaeology – both late Pleistocene and early Holocene. The topics include:
- significance of the Middle Nile Valley environment for Late Pleistocene adaptation strategies of early humans
- migration corridors across the Nile Basin
- absolute dating of Nubian prehistoric evidence – new challanges and goals
- Nubian neolithisation – neverending discourse upon indigenous domestication of plants and animals
- linking the prehistory and later Nubian cultural horizons
The royal Napatan shawabtis (session suggested by Nosiba Mahgoub)
This session talks about the royal shawabtis of the Naptan kings discovered in Sudan, shedding light on their religious believe, their main role and their benefit to the diseased kings throughout the underworld life. The session will present detailed information on the subject of the royal Napatan shawabtis stored not only in Sudan National Museum but in the other national museums in the States, studying exclusively their types, material, size and number of the shawbtis of each king.
The session mentioning data on the royal Napatan shawbtis exhibited in Sudanese museums; this data could be a nucleus of very useful database, to protect these objects from being lost or stolen, and in the same time make the research and study of these types of objects effortless.
The session asks that; more attention should be given to the shawabtis for their artistic shape, attractive beautiful appearance and for their light weight, which put them target for thefts and international trade.
Tonality music and celebrations of Nubia (session sugested by Tag Elkhazin)
Nubia and indeed the entire Horn of Africa and most of Africa are still on Pentatonic or 5 notes. All the Arab Maqamat are on Heptatonic or 7 notes music, without exception.
The Arab Maqamat are: Al Siba, Al Nhawond, Al Agam, Al Bayat, Al Seekah, Al Hijaz, Al Rest and Al Kard. Non of them is on pentatonic.
Likewise, beats such as Al Nagrazan and the Tom Tom are nonexistent in the Arabic world in all other 21 Arab Nations. But the Nubians had another glaring example of dealing with music: the Rock Gongs. Possibly 7000 years old. See Cornelia Kleinitz work on rock gongs.
Andrew Reisner in 1923 found 3 sets of Auloi, double reed and very sophisticated. They were broken in half and thrown at the feet of the body of Amanishakheto. C14 proved that they dated back to 100 BC-100AD, which is the timeframe in which Amanishakheto ruled.
While lots of the cultural activities and heritage of the Nubians may have vanished especially after 1503 and the establishment of Sennar Kingdom, most of folklore of today’s Sudan is Nubian: the Searah, bride groom marching in signing and musical ceremony to the bride’s home, Girtig or decorative ceremony between the bride and groom, Bakh Al Laban spreading milk on the bodies of the bride and groom, taking the groom and bride to the Nile and washing on its waters, taking newborn babies and washing them in the Nile after stepping 7 times over coal or wood fire, spreading dates palms branches over graves … are Nubian. This event will be in power point module with samples of music and beats.
Traditions, customs and spirituality (session suggested by the organising committee)
The session broadly focuses on the materiality of immaterial spheres of human activity and includes:
- Ritual, tradition, materiality of devotion and personal piety;
- Ceremonial practice in cult centres, temples and churches;
- Cult imagery, iconographic studies;
- Divinity, ritual and sainthood in visual arts and textual sources;
- Continuity, innovation, borrowings in local traditions and customs;
- Architectural frameworks for ritual activity;
- Sacrificial practices, pilgrimage;
- Burial traditions and practices;
- Funerary architecture;
- Adornment and grave goods, including ceramics and their contents;
- Symbolism of items of prestige;
- Expressions of identity and belief through burial assemblages.
Understanding technologies and defining resources (session suggested by the organising committee)
Research presented in this session focuses on environments and exploitation of resources, as well as technological advances. Topics include:
- Technologies and methods of subsistence;
- Mineral resources and their exploitation;
- Water management;
- Industry and craftsmanship, such as pottery manufacture, ironworking and metallurgy, production of textiles, tools, woodworking, leatherworking and other industries;
- Technological aspects of decorative arts.
Western Sudan – a frontier and contact zone between Nubia and Sub-Saharan Africa (session suggested by Tim Karberg and Jana Eger-Karberg)
After being in the shadow of the Nile valley and its immediate hinterlands for long, the western Sudanese region of Kordofan found rapidly increasing interest in archaeological research in the past two decades. French, Polish, Sudanese, and (recently) German missions started working at different sites. In Darfur, nevertheless, comparable research was hindered by the general circumstances even longer, and has just recently (re-)established.
The initiators of this session head a large-scale archaeological survey project in Northern Kordofan, cooperating closely with several other missions which have already worked in Western Sudan or are interested in promoting our archaeological knowledge of this region. After some years of intensive research, it became clear that Kordofan and Darfur played a major role as a frontier and contact zone between the Nile valley based Nubian states, and the neighbouring cultural complexes of Sub-Saharan Africa along the southern fringe of the Sahel belt. Therefore, intensifying research in these regions might contribute significantly to our understanding of Nubia not only as a riverine culture oriented along a North-South communication corridor, but also as an integral part of the late antique and medieval East-Western chain of Sudanic states and cultures south of the Sahara.
For all these Sudanic cultures, close interconnectivity between sedentary agricultural and mobile pastoral economic concepts played a major role. For understanding the socio-economic development of Kordofan and Darfur, research on these topics and their palaeo-ecological background is crucial.
We plan in this session to bring together researchers from the above-mentioned projects to discuss the recent results and state of research on Western Sudan, as well as to attract other scholars to contribute to its investigation in future.