Archaeological Excavations in the Meroitic Cemetery at Berber

Director: Mahmoud Suliman Bashir (National Corporation for Antiquities & Museums, Sudan)

The archaeological excavation at the Meroitic Cemetery in Berber in Sudan was started as a rescue project in 2009 in order to document the discovered archaeological materials, which have been found while digging foundation trenches for a plastic production factory. The newly discovered large and well-preserved cemetery at Berber is of considerable interest and possesses great research potential for funerary traditions during the Meroitic period (4th century BCE–4th century CE). The variety of the recovered materials from Berber and their different sources along with the important geographical location of the region of Berber suggest that it was a site of major trade and exchange. The further excavation at the Meroitic Cemetery will expand the archaeological, ethnographical, epigraphic, and anthropological understanding of this rich culture and period. The excavation is under the direction of Mahmoud Suliman Bashir, an archaeologist at NCAM and a team of archaeologists and students from different Sudanese universities.

Recovered archaeological materials from the last excavations indicate a possible role for the Meroitic community at Berber in the trade with the Red Sea. Therefore, the project has started an archaeological survey along ancient caravan routes between Berber on the Nile and Suakin on the Red Sea to find evidence of Kushite presence along this route.