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@ -20,14 +20,14 @@ keywords: []
# Introduction
It is known that at the time of the Egyptian Kingdom, Nubia represented
a neighbouring and often rival entity, extending from the 1^st^ to the
5^th^ cataract. Its renowned warriors are represented by archers and are
a neighbouring and often rival entity, extending from the 1st to the
5th cataract. Its renowned warriors are represented by archers and are
depicted on numerous occasions in the Nile valley, on stelae or engraved
rocks, on bas-reliefs or painted tomb walls. As early as the Old
Kingdom, they were enrolled in the Egyptian armies as mercenaries and
probably formed troops, as shown in the model representing them in the
tomb of Prince Mesheti (11^th^ Dynasty). The territory of Nubia is
itself designated from the beginning of the 3^rd^ millennium by a
tomb of Prince Mesheti (11th Dynasty). The territory of Nubia is
itself designated from the beginning of the 3rd millennium by a
hieroglyph in the shape of a bow, *Ta-Sety*, which means the land of the
bow. Despite this evidence of the importance of these warriors and their
weapons, archaeological finds of Nubian archers\' tombs contemporary
@ -41,14 +41,17 @@ had been displaced by grave-robbers.[^2] He was accompanied by arrow
remains and two bows of simple curvature, 120 cm long. One of the bows
was decorated with a plume of ostrich feathers.
![Reconstruction of the grave of the mummified archer excavated by Bonnet (1982), made with the original natural mummy, pottery and plume of ostrich feathers (Kerma ancien II, 2300-2150 BC)](../static/images/honegger/Fig1.jpg "Reconstruction of the grave of the mummified archer excavated by Bonnet (1982), made with the original natural mummy, pottery and plume of ostrich feathers (Kerma ancien II, 2300-2150 BC)")
**~~Figure 1. Reconstruction of the grave of the mummified archer excavated by Bonnet (1982), made with the original natural mummy, pottery and plume of ostrich feathers (Kerma ancien II, 2300-2150 BC)~~**
The Eastern Cemetery of the Kingdom of Kerma[^3] is known for the
abundance of weapons found in its tombs[^4] as well as for the numerous
traumas present on its skeletonsy.[^5] These observations led to the
traumas present on its skeletons.[^5] These observations led to the
view of this society as a warlike aristocracy, where testimonies of
violence were common. These reflections have so far focused on the final
phase of the cemetery and of the Kingdom (1750-1500 BC), best known
thanks to the work of George A. Reisner, undertaken at the beginning of
the 20^th^ century.[^6] Since then, excavations were undertaken between
the 20th century.[^6] Since then, excavations were undertaken between
1979 and 1999 by Charles Bonnet, who investigated 27 sectors spread over
its entire surface (Fig. 2), and between 2008 and 2018, we have
undertaken systematic excavations in sectors of the early stages of the
@ -59,7 +62,11 @@ archers, on cases of violence, as well as on the phenomena of servitude,
wealth, and funerary ostentation that was co-eval with the birth of the
kingdom and its domination over a large part of Upper Nubia.
**The Eastern Cemetery of Kerma and its new excavation**
![Plan of the Eastern Cemetery with the locations of large graves excavated since the early 20th century identified. The sectors investigated by Reisner between 1913-1916 are indicated. Sectors 1-27 were excavated by Bonnet between 1980-1997, whilst Sectors 27-31, as well as Sector 8, have been excavated or re-examined during our excavations which began in 2008.](../static/images/honegger/Fig2.jpg "Plan of the Eastern Cemetery with the locations of large graves excavated since the early 20th century identified. The sectors investigated by Reisner between 1913-1916 are indicated. Sectors 1-27 were excavated by Bonnet between 1980-1997, whilst Sectors 27-31, as well as Sector 8, have been excavated or re-examined during our excavations which began in 2008.")
**~~Figure 2. Plan of the Eastern Cemetery with the locations of large graves excavated since the early 20th century identified. The sectors investigated by Reisner between 1913-1916 are indicated. Sectors 1-27 were excavated by Bonnet between 1980-1997, whilst Sectors 27-31, as well as Sector 8, have been excavated or re-examined during our excavations which began in 2008.~~**
# The Eastern Cemetery of Kerma and its new excavation
As part of our programme on the evolution of society in Early Kerma, we
have reinvestigated and completed the excavations of Sectors 23, 27, and
@ -134,6 +141,9 @@ like that recently discovered in Sector 31, whose diameter exceeds 10
metres, and which has over 1400 bucrania laid out in front of the
tumulus.[^11]
![Intact grave of a 1.5-year-old child with a bow, a cushion made of vegetable matter, and a pot (Kerma ancien III, Sector 29). As is the rule in Kerma graves, the body was placed on a carefully cut piece of bovine pelt.](../static/images/honegger/Fig5.jpg "Intact grave of a 1.5-year-old child with a bow, a cushion made of vegetable matter, and a pot (Kerma ancien III, Sector 29). As is the rule in Kerma graves, the body was placed on a carefully cut piece of bovine pelt.")
**~~Figure 5. Intact grave of a 1.5-year-old child with a bow, a cushion made of vegetable matter, and a pot (Kerma ancien III, Sector 29). As is the rule in Kerma graves, the body was placed on a carefully cut piece of bovine pelt.~~**
Differences between burials increase during Middle Kerma and, for this
period, it is not rare to find grave-pits of up to 10-15 meters in
diameter. This ranking between burials suggests a stratified society
@ -144,7 +154,7 @@ free men and women.[^12] In certain instances, a mud-brick chapel was
erected on the west side of the tumulus (Fig. 6).[^13]
During Classic Kerma, the diameter of the largest graves is between 30
and 90 meters in diameter. The three most famous ones were built to a
and 90 meters. The three most famous ones were built to a
uniform size with tumuli approximately 90 meters in diameter (KIII, IV,
X). Composed of a complex internal structure of mud-brick walls with a
corridor giving access to a central vaulted chamber, they are assumed to
@ -172,10 +182,13 @@ However, it is not possible to conclude definitively that the presence
of male archers was systematic for all phases of the Eastern Cemetery
without looking at the previous excavations of Reisner and Bonnet.
![Bowstring made of sheep's or goat's sinew with a fixation system at one end.](../static/images/honegger/Fig7.jpg "Bowstring made of sheep's or goat's sinew with a fixation system at one end.")
**~~Figure 7. Bowstring made of sheep's or goat's sinew with a fixation system at one end.~~**
The \"Cemetery North\", close to our excavations (2008-2018), was
excavated in 1915 by Reisner, then in 1916 by his assistant W. G. Kemp
(135 graves). The documentation[^18] published after the death of
Reisner, is of lesser quality than for the southern part of the cemetery
(135 graves). The documentation published after the death of
Reisner,[^18] is of lesser quality than for the southern part of the cemetery
corresponding to Classic Kerma and excavated in 1913-1914.[^19] The
tombs excavated by Kemp have not been spatially located. Nevertheless,
we know from our excavations that the \"Cemetery North\" covers *Kerma
@ -198,9 +211,9 @@ part attributed to Classic Kerma yields only 700. Simulations of burial
recruitment show that this part of the cemetery is the most selective
and contains only a small section of the ruling class, in contrast to
earlier periods. At this time, the armed persons are accompanied by
daggers, which led Hafsaas[^22] to conclude that there was a warrior
daggers, which led Hafsaas to conclude that there was a warrior
elite displaying this type of weapon, as was the case in Europe in the
Late Bronze and Iron Ages.
Late Bronze and Iron Ages.[^22]
In the excavations of Bonnet, which involved just over 250 tombs, a few
archers were identified. Again, the excavations were carried out almost
@ -245,7 +258,7 @@ to manufacture the bows, since these had been too severely damaged by
termites.
\- Reed arrows with a tail and several embedded microliths, are similar
to the arrows of Naga-ed-Der in Egypt, dated to the 6^th^ to 12^th^
to the arrows of Naga-ed-Der in Egypt, dated to the 6th to 12th
Dynasty, i.e., a period contemporaneous with Middle Kerma.[^31] The
arrowheads are lunates made of quartz, carnelian, or sometimes flint
(Fig. 10). The few surviving examples correspond to the A3 type of
@ -291,7 +304,7 @@ coat of leopards, such as those found on Egyptian frescoes. However, we
never found a leopard-skin loincloth during our excavations in the
Eastern Cemetery. Moreover, we cannot exclude that some archers were
naked and did not wear a loincloth, as suggested by an engraving from
Wadi Sabu at the 3^rd^ cataract (Fig. 17), where a series of six archers
Wadi Sabu at the 3rd cataract (Fig. 17), where a series of six archers
wearing a feather on their head, are rendered in a figurative style very
close to that observed at Kerma;[^37] among this group, only one archer
is wearing a loincloth, while the others are naked. Finally, we did not
@ -303,7 +316,7 @@ attach a feather.[^38]
# Evolution of funeral rites and the emergence of a state
At Kerma, men and boys of all ages are systematically buried with their
archers\' equipment from about 2300 BC onwards, and continues for
archers\' equipment from about 2300 BC onwards, and this continues for
several centuries, probably until the end of the Middle Kerma about 1750
BC. Clearly, there is a symbolic dimension to this display, underscored
by the fact that even children as young as 1.5 years old are equipped
@ -343,7 +356,7 @@ proportional to the dimensions of the grave. Finally, the quantity of
Egyptian ceramics gives an idea of the intensity of the exchanges (Fig.
18).
During the first phase of Eastern Cemetery, exchanges with Egypt are
During the first phase of the Eastern Cemetery, exchanges with Egypt are
already significant, and it is possible that the presence of several
C-Group features is evidence of important contacts between Upper and
Lower Nubia.[^42] During the next phase, exchanges decline, a sign of a
@ -361,7 +374,7 @@ covered with inscriptions, relates the story of his three journeys to
Nubia commissioned by the pharaohs Merenre I and Pepi II, around 2250
BC. These were obviously expeditions aimed at reopening trade routes by
making contact and trading with the Nubian populations located south of
the 2^nd^ cataract[^45]. The narrative tells us that several populations
the 2nd cataract[^45]. The narrative tells us that several populations
or tribes populate Nubia and do not necessarily maintain peaceful
relations between them[^46]. These groups are already hierarchical with
dominant personalities capable of gathering armed men in quantity,
@ -390,32 +403,32 @@ and attracted populations from its kingdom to settle in the region.
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Bonnet, Charles. "Rapport préliminaire sur les campagnes
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