Cattle in ancient Nubia

Louis CHAIX & Annie GRANT

en Anthropozoologica 16 - Pages 61-66

Published on 01 October 1992

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animals and their products in trade and exchange. Proceedings of the 3rd international meeting of HASRI, Oxford, 8-11 November 1990

Excavations in Northern Sudan have revealed evidence for an important civilisation with a distinct culture, which, for the millennium between 2500 and 1500 BC, maintained its independence from the powerful Egyptian civilisation to the north. The Kerma civilisation had its capital at Kerma, approximately 20 km south of the third cataract. This paper looks at the role of cattle at Kerma. Excavations of the town deposits have shown that cattle bones represent a significant proportion of the animals consumed, whereas, in the sub-desert conditions of modem Sudan, cattle form only a very small proportion of the livestock. It suggests that while the high proportion of cattle bones can be used to support the argument for a moister climate than at present during the early part of the third millennium BC, there is evidence to suggest that cattle may have been brought to the capital from other parts of the Kingdom as tribute on the death of someone powerful or important.


Africa, Kerma, Cattle, Tribute.

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