A-Group sites

The ASSN identified c.45 sites with characteristics of the ‘A-Group’, as understood in the 1960s. Most were small settlement sites, few with any traces of structures or stratified deposits. Several of these contained traces of ‘Neolithic’ occupation, and some may well be of slightly later date (as little was known of ‘pre/early Kerma’ remains during the 1960s). Ongoing studies may well suggest some of these sites may be re-classified/re-dated, on the basis of our much greater knowledge of the late prehistory of the Middle Nile today.

Of these sites, only 5-6 burial/cemetery sites were found. The most substantial remains a small cemetery [11-H-6] at Saras West, briefly discussed in a preliminary report on the 1964-1965 season (Mills and Nordstrom 1966: 7-10). Containing at least 47 graves or pits, more than half of which appeared to be largely undisturbed, it contained an interesting range of artefacts of types well-known from the Second Cataract and further north, including red-painted and ripple-burnished vessels as well as Egyptian imports.

Further south sites were generally identified on the basis of A-Group style artefacts such as stone incense burners, palettes, beads and bracelets, marine (Red Sea?) shells, as well as fine ripple-burnished pots. The distinctive red-painted pottery was not commonly found, but occasional sherds were reported at least as far upriver as the Kulb area (e.g. at a campsite at Kulb East [21-X-7] = “Ware H4.01B with red-painted stripes”).

A-Group finds from Saras West (grave 11-H-6/11)
Pots from a settlement/campsite at Saras East [11-Q-72], in an area later used for (‘C-Group’) burials. Identified as A-Group when examined in 1965 (see Mills 1973: 201-2, fig.2) but perhaps to be redated?