Exciting news – new archaeological project in Sudan starts

I am very proud to announce that fieldwork in my new concession in Sudan will commence next week! Based on the results of the AcrossBorders project, NCAM very kindly offered me a new concession area in northern Sudan. I chose to stay within the general area of Abri and thus we decided on the strip along the Nile between Attab and Ferka.

Location of new concession area in Sudan

Exciting new perspectives

The new Munich University Attab to Ferka Survey Project (MUAFS) will start with a survey of the general area, which can be regarded as “periphery” to two of the main Egyptian centers of the region, to Amara West and Sai Island. We were able to plan our work extensively because the area was already surveyed and published by André Vila in the 1970s, resulting in the discovery of rich multi-period sites comprising both settlement and funerary remains (from Paleolithic to Medieval times). All of these sites need to be revisited and in particular checked in regards of dating. In the future, we will conduct excavations at selected sites, resulting without doubts in fresh data for the long dureé approach of the project.

The new project is again hosted by the LMU Munich and is funded by LMU Munich‘s Institutional Strategy LMUexcellent within the framework of the German Excellence Initiative and the Adele Hartmann Programme for Julia Budka. I am very much looking forward to this exciting new tasks and I am very grateful that many of the commendable team members of AcrossBorders also joined me for MUAFS – this continuity will enable us to work most efficiently from the start.

Those of you who followed the progress of the AcrossBorders project over the years – again many many thanks for your interest! and please check out our work within the MUAFS project via the new blog which is now live. We will be posting news from the field, starting with next week.

Logo of the new MUAFS project


Vila, André, La prospection archéologique de la Vallée du Nil, au Sud de la Cataracte de Dal (Nubie Soudanaise), Paris 1976-1977 (for our concession: volumes 3-6).

AcrossBorders conference – last update

The first participants have already arrived here in Munich, others will come later today – all is set for the 3-days AcrossBorders conference on settlement archaeology in Egypt and Nubia, from 1–3 September, 2017 here in Munich.

Some last-minute changes were necessary – please note the updated program of “From Microcosm to Macrocosm: Individual households and cities in Ancient Egypt and Nubia.” Manfred Bietak’s paper “Settlements of mixed societies: Tell el-Daba as a case study” had to be re-scheduled to Saturday morning and some small amendments were therefore necessary for the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning session.

Looking much forward to this event and latest research on settlement archaeology in Egypt and Sudan during the New Kingdom!

Some impressions from the 13th International Conference for Nubian Studies

This year the International Conference for Nubian Studies, a quadrennial event of the International Society of Nubian Studies last held at London in 2010, took place at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland from 1st Monday to Saturday 6th of September 2014, organized by Matthieu Honegger. This big conference brings together scholars from all over the world – all those who are interested in the archaeology, history, art and cultural heritage of Nubia and Sudan.

Therefore Julia Budka, our Sudanese Antiquities Inspector of NCAM Huda Magzoub and I travelled from Vienna to Neuchâtel, looking much forward to see friends and colleagues and of course to hear the latest research news. For Huda and me it was the first time being in Switzerland and especially for me also the first attendance to such a large scientific event – over 270 people announced their participation.

View from our hotel illustrating the beauty of the conference's venue.

View from our hotel illustrating the beauty of the conference’s venue.

Distributed over five days, a total of 207 talks in six parallel sessions were scheduled! So you were simply spoilt for choice… Every day started with a main session in the morning dedicated to special topics in the course of history of Nubia (from Prehistory over the Egyptian Presence until the Medieval and Islamic periods). After a long break for lunch the parallel sessions followed in the afternoon. As far as I’m concerned I was mostly interested in the session held on Wednesday, which dealt with the end of Kerma and the Egyptian Presence, where the interesting key lectures were held by Neal Spencer (Egyptian settlements in Northern Sudan), Charles Bonnet (Dokki Gel), Stuart Tyson Smith (colonial entanglements) and Luc Gabolde (royal and divine power among Kushites and Egyptians). In the afternoon session I had to choose between 49 parallel talks (among them the paper by Julia Budka referring to current fieldwork on Sai Island) – not an easy task! Of course also the sessions about Prehistory and Kerma as well as about the Kushite Kingdoms and Medieval and Islamic periods were very worth attending. The end of the conference on Saturday formed the main session focusing on the practice of archaeology and its diffusion with lectures held by Jean-Paul Demoule (Archaeological research in XXIst century), Abdelrahman Ali Mohammed (Salvage Archaeology related to Dams in Sudan) and by Salah eldin Mohammed Ahmed (QSAP).

Apart from the scientific contributions there was some time for social activities and meetings, where we were fortunately very lucky with the weather. Especially noteworthy are the opening reception of the exhibition on Nubia at the Laténium Museum in Neuchâtel or the cocktail at the Palace Du Peyrou and finally the wonderful reception-cruise on the Lake of Neuchâtel.

IMG_20140905_190616 IMG_20140905_200807The last week was, due to the tough time schedule, indeed slightly exhausting, but nevertheless very interesting, highly informative, inspiring and a good chance to get in touch with other scholars and young researchers. I’m looking forward to the next International Conference for Nubian Studies in 2018, then in Paris.