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Niños San Isidro 2007, 11 agosto 2007

                                    -El EspantapájarosEl Loco
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Doble femenina de Bes, a veces representada como su madre



Estela de la diosa egipcia Beset (representación femenina) y Bes (representación masculina), 644-332 a.C, museo del Louvre, París



Ceramic statue of Beset


  department of ancient egypt and sudan > research > excavations >

Kawa: The Town (continued)
Page 3 of 3
In the central room flanking the doorway to the east we have only glimpsed the well preserved paintings, perhaps symmetrical scenes of the king striding towards the door at each side of which, on a broad yellow painted vertical bank, is a fine hieroglyphic inscription which has yet to be deciphered. On the north wall are again a frieze of gods, one is recognisable on account of his skin being painted bright blue, a convention used to represent the god Amun (Plate 11).


Pippa Pearce from The British Museum
11. Pippa Pearce from The British Museum conserving the wall paintings.
A fine painting of a winged sun disc flanked by uraei decorated the lintel above one of the doors (Plate 12). The excavation of these rooms was continued in 2001-2.


Painting of a winged sun disk
12. Painting of a winged sun disk flanked by uraei from the lintel over a doorway.
Three metres outside the building on its main axis was another altar, this time of mud brick which was perfectly preserved and remains of the last sacrificial fire still remained in place on its top. Outside the buildings was a mass of pottery and faience objects (Plate 13). Fine spacer from a three strand necklace
13. A fine spacer from a three-strand necklace with representations of nine udjat eyes (the Eye of Horus).
Mud bungs used to seal the mouths of ceramic vessels along with seal impressions on mud (Plates 14 & 16).  
Ceramic refuse
14. Ceramic refuse by the shrine.
Seal impression
16. Seal impression on mud from the rubbish deposits
adjacent to the shrine.
Clearly the building with its royal associations was of considerable importance and was a centre for the collection, and presumably redistribution of commodities on a large scale. Of particular interest was the discovery of parts of at least four large ceramic statues, two of which are of the god Bes and the goddess Beset (Plate 15).


Ceramic statue of Beset
15. Ceramic statue of the goddess Beset found in the shrine.
The Cemetery  
Over 1000 tomb monuments have been recognised in the main cemetery and these include tumuli, circular mounds of earth covered in pebbles or stone fragments (Plate 17), mud-brick pyramids or mastaba, mastaba of irregular blocks of stone, and possibly pyramids of dressed sandstone blocks. Many different grave types have been recorded. The classic Kushite grave type consists of a long stepped passage leading down into the alluvium. At the end of the passage 3-4m below the surface an `arch'-shaped doorway leads into a cave excavated in the alluvium. The best preserved of these graves contained the burial of a female placed on her back with the arms alongside the body. The body was set on a wooden bed or bier, the legs of which were set in holes in the ground. She wore copper-alloy rings on her toes and has a scarab seal at the waist. Alongside the body were four large and painted pottery vessels (Plate 18), a copper-alloy bowl and a copper-alloy object which may be the handle perhaps of a mirror or fan. After the deceased was placed in the tomb the doorway was blocked by a wall of mud brick and the passageway was refilled with earth. The tomb monument stood over the site of the tomb on the ground surface.


Tumuli covered in black stone fragments
17. Tumuli covered in black stone fragments in the eastern cemetery, Site R18, at Kawa.



Many graves have been re-used on several occasions. For the second use the bones of the original occupants were often unceremoniously pushed to one side and the new burial placed in the centre of the tomb. Later burials lay on earth which had already covered the previous burial. After each reuse the doorway was again blocked and the passage way refilled. Burials were also placed in simple long narrow pits, often dug into the fill of the passageways of earlier tombs. The most unusual grave of this type, dug into the top of a tumulus, contained all the bones of an adult female and an adolescent neatly piled together at one end of the long grave, the rest of the grave being empty. In another grave there was an additional human skull and a few other bones, the significance of which is unclear. A tomb of the 1st century
18. A tomb of the 1st century BC - 1st century AD in the eastern cemetery, Site R18, at Kawa.
The recent work is doing much to provide us with a fuller picture of life on the Nile at Kawa 2000 and more years ago. The proportion of the site excavated today is very small yet we can begin to trace the history of the town and to document the lifestyle of the inhabitants. The general picture is one of affluence. The houses are well built, there is abundant pottery and fine quality jewellery, and the general health of the population looks to have been high. It is hoped that further work will continue to amplify our knowledge of this major ancient city in Northern Sudan.


The excavations directed by Griffith were published by M. F. Laming Macadam as The Temples of Kawa. I. The Inscriptions. (London. 1949) and The Temples of Kawa. II. History and Archaeology of the Site. (London. 1955). Preliminary reports on the recent excavations are published in Sudan & Nubia, the bulletin of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society. For the context of the site in the Kushite period see Welsby, Derek A. The Kingdom of Kush. The Napatan and Meroitic Empires. London. 1996. The report on the Northern Dongola Reach Survey, Life on the Desert Edge. Seven Thousand Years of Settlement in the Northern Dongola Reach, Sudan (Sudan Archaeological Research Society Publications no. 7, London) is in press.


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