‘C-Group’/’Kerma’ sites

Later prehistoric sites of the third and second millennia BCE were quite abundant in the ASSN survey area between Gemai and Dal. More than 200 sites were registered, mainly burial/cemetery sites, but also containing a range of settlement sites. Most of these latter lacked structural remains or stratified occupation deposits, although at a small number of mudbrick structures were excavated, most probably associated with the Classic Kerma period.

These sites were identified as ‘C-Group’ or ‘Kerma’ in the field records, in many cases such designations are today clearly open to reconsideration in the light of major changes in our understanding of the archaeology of this period since the 1960s. In particular, the much better understanding of chronological developments we now have, especially of the earlier phases of the Kerma period, makes it possible to distinguish both ‘Early Kerma’ and ‘Middle Kerma’ material in the site records, especially its pottery, which was unfamiliar to the ASSN archaeologists in the 1960s. At that time, ‘Kerma’ material was most familiar in terms of the ‘Classic Kerma’, while parallels for earlier material necessarily had to be sought in the ‘C-Group’, to the north, as defined by archaeologists in the first half of the 20th century. As such, many sites registered by the ASSN as ‘C-Group’ might today be identified as ‘Early/Middle Kerma’. A number of sites suggested as containing both ‘A-Group’ and ‘C-Group’ material also invite re-consideration/re-dating. No ‘Pan-Grave’ sites were registered within the region, although some indications of cultural links with the eastern desert regions have been noted at a few east bank sites (e.g. in the Melik en Nasr region).

Kerma burial from Saras East – site 11-Q-36 (after Mills 1973, fig.4)