University of Khartoum

Environmental Archaeology of The Nile Third Cataract Region: A Study of Wadi Farja

Environmental Archaeology of The Nile Third Cataract Region: A Study of Wadi Farja

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Title: Environmental Archaeology of The Nile Third Cataract Region: A Study of Wadi Farja
Author: Yahia Fadl, Tahir
Abstract: In Third Cataract Region, the prominent geological features are the presence of paleaochannels, khors and wadis, indicating a humid nature of the climatic conditions in the past. There are some wadis; the most important one is situated in Masida village and Farja area. The important cultivated plants are palm, wheat, Sorghum, maize, beans, onion, some fruits and vegetables. So many acacia trees and dome as well bushes, shrubs and grass are recognized in the area. Concerning the fauna, the natives rear goats, sheep, cattle, donkeys, cats, dogs, and hens. The wild animals are Dorcas gazelles, wild rabbits, hyaena and many reptiles as Uromastyx Sp, Nile monitor, crocodiles, and snakes. More than 40 species of Nile fish were also reported. There are mosquitoes, sand flies, and Nemitti. Scorpions are very common residents of this area. The area has a large number of animal rock drawings. These drawings include elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, giraffes, cows, camels, leopards, and lions. One of rarest drawings is a one of a scorpion. The important notification from the statistical analysis is the homogeneity of the region from prehistoric times to the present day. Islamic, Christian and Kerma period sites are the most abundant. To the contrary, Napatan and Meroetic sites are rare. The Nubian Groups (A, C, and X) sites are also are rare. The archaeological sites of this wadi reveal that its highest period of occupation was in Neolithic to Kerma periods. The sites periods are Paleolithic, Neolithic, Pre-Kerma, Kerma, Pharaonic, Napata- Meroe, Medieval and undated sites Another important indication is the concentration of most sites in the middle of the western bank of the wadi, suggesting the presence of a later island. The bioarchaeological materials collected were Etheria elliptica, Coelatura sp, Pila sp, Nile perch vertebrae, hippopotamus radius bones, cattle bone, different mammalian bone fragments, and IX ostrich egg shells. These remains were indicative of the prevalence of savannah conditions at that time. Surface altitudes of the wadi have been obtained by using GPS. The plotting of readings (130) clearly shows that the there is a possibility of a water flow from the upper stream to downstream. Fortunately, Nile oyster shells samples from Wadi Farja are dated back to mid-Holocene 7617+ 50 BP and the second as7687+ 50 BP. Preliminary analysis of archaeological sites of Wadi Farja reveals that two categories of sites are related directly to the palaeoeconomy of the area. These are settlements and stone wall structures sites. Biological remains collected along the wadi were also related to the economy of the past populations. The distribution map of the sites reveals the position of the sites on the wadi bank near water resources. Hence, their economy has been dependent on permanent water. Zooarchaeological finds, which relate to human consumption from the sites are fish bone, mollusc shell and other mammalian bone, mainly cattle. Historically, two distinct changes in the palaeoeconomy of the area are noticed. Firstly, Neolithic (4600 cal. BC) and Pre-Kerma (3000 cal. BC) settlement sites are of the concentred type. Other activity loci such as graves are present but are rare. So it can be concluded that these settlements were seasonal, and for gathering and hunting people. Secondly, it seems that during Kerma the settlement continued in the same area, but, noticeably, the society becomes more settled. One of most prominent archaeological features of the Wadi is the presence of a large number of long stone wall structures. To me these walls are correlated with past human activity, hence they are indicative of the palaeoeconomy of the area. The walls can be classified into 3 categories according to their physical position: those present on the top of the bank or on the raised IX areas, those present in the bed of a channel, and those on the edge and sloping downwards into the bed of the wadi. The possible functional categories of the wall suggested are animal traps or fences; territories and roads; silt precipitation, water storage and irrigation related function. The building of such long walls needs much effort and some form of administration or power, so we can say that the past residents of the Wadi were formed into a well organized and hierarchical society.
Description: 251page
URI: http://khartoumspace.uofk.edu/handle/123456789/11646
Date: 2015-06-13


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