Neolithic Inhabitants of Khor Shambat 1, Sudan
Keywords:Khor Shambat, Central Sudan, Omdurman, Neolithic, Cemetery, Graves
Ever since Arkell launched research excavation in Shaheinab, many Neolithic sites of varying scientific value have been discovered in central Sudan. These discoveries included both sites and cemeteries that shed some light not only on the economy, but also on the social structure and beliefs of ancient populations. Sites such as Kadero, el-Geili, el-Ghaba, Shaqadud and el-Kadada have become benchmarks for describing and understanding the Neolithic in central Sudan. In recent years, another exceptional site has joined this group – Khor Shambat 1 (KSH 1). Research here has revealed a Mesolithic and Neolithic site. Mesolithic burials as well as a Neolithic cemetery probably covered its entire surface. The investigation of about 1% of the area of KSH 1 uncovered 66 graves, including about 30 Neolithic ones. Yet this relatively low number of occurrences included burials which shed a very interesting light on the local communities. Especially noteworthy is the extraordinary approach to burials of children and in particular the youngest members of the community, newborns and fetuses; their graves are by far the richest. Some of them were buried in ceramic vessels and equipped with numerous gifts. The most distinctive grave in terms of the wealth of its burial goods is that of a female who died in advanced pregnancy. The chronology of the Neolithic site and cemetery, determined on the basis of a series of radiocarbon dates and ceramics analyses, is generally set in the second half of the 5th millennium BC.
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