Prehistoric carvings and figurines found in NE Sudan

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Concentration of carvings with thousands of images, ancient burial grounds and several dozen terracotta figurines were found by archaeological team from the Department of Archaeology of Africa of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS Poznań Branch during a survey in the mountains on the Red Sea, north of Port Sudan.

czlonkowie_ekspedycji_jpgNorth-east Sudan, where the archaeological mission conducts its activities, has never been surveyed for prehistoric settlement.

In 1999, Krzysztof Pluskota accidentally discovered the first concentration of stone art and informed the archaeologists, which led him to sending an expedition. The head of the expedition is Dr. Przemyslaw Bobrowski.

“During December’s expedition we discovered another, very rich concentrations of stone art – mainly images of cattle, but also humans and some animals of wild African fauna” – said Prof. Michał Kobusiewicz, one of the expedition members.

“These images are concentrated near a characteristic of a lonely, conical mountain with phallic shape, suggesting that the concentration of the images of cattle, the main sustenance of the then population, is associated with the cult of fertility” – he added.

According to archaeologists, the mountain was a symbol of fertility cult, the proof of which are its miniatures are made of sandstone found near the carvings, remains of cemeteries and settlements, and its image carved in stone.

Cult nature of this place is also evidenced by the discovery of a deposit consisting of several terracotta figurines depicting humans, cattle and phallic symbols.

In the immediate vicinity of cave engravings, the researchers found many traced of prehistoric settlements in different periods.

According to the researchers, more close determination of the age of carvings looks promising with radiocarbon analysis, geomorphological and environmental studies.

In 2011, archaeologists plan to continue research with regard to these important discoveries. Previous activities were possible with grants allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.


Source: Serwis Nauka w Polsce [January 24, 2011]


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