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Sudan in the Past

13 March 2013

At www.naukawpolsce.pap.pl/en/news/news,394464,polish-archaeologists-have-d… oldest-houses-in-africa.html …. which goes back an estimated 70,000 years (to be verified) according to the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznan, which is in the Middle Palaeolithic period and therefore something of a surprise. It's a bit upsetting to the consensus anthropological view of human development so we can expect some hurried attempts to retract and reassign to the Upper Palaeolithic (or later). It was described as a sizable house and not your average hovel, and people had clearly adapted to the wetland environment of the period and there is even evidence of planned distribution of tasks which included a separate butchery area and a flint workshop. Animals hunted included big beasts such as elephant, buffalo and hippopotamus, as well as monkeys and cane rats.

At www.naukawpolsce.pap.pl/en/news/news,394397,polish-archaeologists-are-ex… … which concerns an area of ancient rock engravings and an archaeological site going back more than 5000 years ago in the mountains between the Red Sea and the Nile Valley in NE Sudan (off the beaten track of other archaeologists) at Bir Nurayet. It is overlooked by Mt Magardi but the carvings are in the foothills and high plateau with thousands of images of cattle, camels, wild animals and humans. This was prior to 3000BC a major route of communication, used by cattle rearing tribes. It was in effect an ancient drove route between summer and winter pastures in an area of wide valleys and grassy plateaus. The rainfall pattern differed prior to 3000BC. Nowadays it is dry and inhospitable. However, there was also an intervening period when the climate was generally arid but punctuated by very wet phases. These left behind a series of silt layers that had to be dug away from the rock faces and were deposited in the late 3rd and the 2nd millenniums BC (copntemporary end of OK, MK and NK periods in Egypt to the north). The rock art clearly belongs prior to this time, when the Sahara and the Eastern Desert were occupied by pastoral tribes. Although the depictions of cattle are assumed to be pictures or drawings of contemporary life there is also the possibility the cattle had another meaning associated with the sky – a bit like the boats found on rock faces in the Eastern Desert to the north (east of Egypt) which could be heavenly barques.

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