Gabati. A Meroitic, post-Meroitic and Medieval Cemetery in Central Sudan: Volume 2. The physical anthropology 9781407310466, 9781407340210

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Gabati. A Meroitic, post-Meroitic and Medieval Cemetery in Central Sudan: Volume 2. The physical anthropology
 9781407310466, 9781407340210

Table of contents :
Gabati 01 ToC 1
Gabati 02 ToC 2
Gabati 03 chapter 1
Gabati 04 chapter 2
Gabati 05 chapter 3
Gabati 06 chapter 4
Gabati 07 chapter 5
Gabati 08 chapter 6
Gabati 09 chapter 7
Gabati 10 chapter 8
Gabati 10a Catalogue
Gabati 11 Appendix A
Gabati 12 Appendix B
Gabati 12a Appendix C
Gabati 13 Bibliography
Gabati 14 Arabic abstrtact
Gabati 15 plates
Front Cover
Title Page
Back Cover

Citation preview

BAR S2442 2012

Sudan Archaeological Research Society Publication Number 20

Gabati A Meroitic, Post-Meroitic and Medieval Cemetery in Central Sudan


Volume 2 The physical anthropology

Margaret A. Judd GABATI VOLUME 2


BAR International Series 2442 2012

Sudan Archaeological Research Society Publication Number 20

Gabati A Meroitic, post-Meroitic and Medieval Cemetery in Central Sudan Volume 2 The physical anthropology

Margaret A. Judd with a contribution by David N. Edwards

BAR International Series 2442 2012

ISBN 9781407310466 paperback ISBN 9781407340210 e-format DOI A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library



GABATI A Meroitic, post-Meroitic and medieval cemetery in central Sudan Volume 2


CONTENTS List of Tables


List of Figures


List of Plates




PART 1 Chapter 1

Introduction Gabati Cemetery: Excavation history Dating Organisation of the book

1-2 1 2 2

Chapter 2 Processing and Inventory Processing Context Inventory Adults Subadults Percentage of bone Dental Inventory Taphonomic Condition Results Adults Subadults Taphonomic condition and amount of bone preserved

3-15 3 3 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 12 12

Chapter 3

On Life’s Course Age at death Biological sex Stature Metrical data Results

17-27 17 19 19 20 21

Chapter 4 Congenital Anomalies Major congenital anomalies Minor congenital anomalies (Non-metric traits) Recording Results Major congenital anomalies Commonly recorded non-metric traits Minor congenital anomalies

29-34 29 29 29 30 30 30 30

Chapter 5 Dental Inventory and Pathology Inventory Recording Pathology Results Inventory Adult dental pathology Subadult dental pathology

35-42 35 35 35 38 38 38 42

Chapter 6 Skeletal Pathology Trauma Recording

43-62 43 43


Results Joint disease Recording Results Infectious disease Specific infections Nonspecific infections Porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia Recording Results

44 51 53 53 56 56 58 59 61 61

Chapter 7 Discussion All that remains The community structure Foetal, neonatal and maternal deaths Subsistence and diet Health and disease Injury Intentional injury Accidental injury Repetitive stress injuries Injury at Gabati and other sites Summary

63-73 63 63 64 65 66 69 70 71 71 72 73

Chapter 8 Gabati Revisited David Edwards and Margaret Judd Introduction Meroitic Gabati Grave superstructures Grave substructures Burial position Multiple burials, reuse and robbing Grave artefacts Post-Meroitic and Medieval Gabati Post-Meroitic tumulus graves Medieval Christian graves Other graves Conclusion

75-83 75 75 75 75 76 76 76 78 79 82 82 83


Skeletal Catalogue




Bibliography Arabic Summary



List of Tables Chapter 2 Table 2.1. Expected numbers of major bones per anatomical region for each adult. Table 2.2. Expected numbers of major bones per anatomical region for each subadult. Table 2.3. Preservation scoring for percentage of bone recovered. Table 2.4. Dental coding. Table 2.5. Taphonomic coding. Table 2.6. BRI of major adult cranial bones. Table 2.7. BRI of adult long bones recovered. Table 2.8. BRI of adult extremities. Table 2.9. BRI of other adult postcranial bones. Table 2.10. BRI of major subadult cranial bones. Table 2.11. BRI of subadult long bones. Table 2.12. BRI of subadult extremities. Table 2.13. BRI of subadult thorax and miscellaneous postcranial bones. Table 2.14. Summary of adult completeness by preservation scores. Table 2.15. Summary of subadult completeness by preservation scores.

4 5 5 6 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 13 15 15 15

Chapter 3 Table 3.1. Chronological age of biological developmental thresholds and life history stages. Table 3.2. Chronological age and motor skill thresholds. Table 3.3. Age coding. Table 3.4. BRI of elements to determine alternative stature formulae. Table 3.5. Demographic distribution of all Meroitic individuals. Table 3.6. Demographic distribution of Meroitic aged and sexed individuals. Table 3.7. Demographic distribution of post-Meroitic aged and sexed individuals. Table 3.8. Demographic distribution of medieval aged and sexed individuals. Table 3.9. Demographic distribution of combined post-Meroitic/medieval aged and sexed individuals. Table 3.10. Adult male stature from maximum femur length. Table 3.11. Adult female stature from maximum femur length. Table 3.12. Summary statistics for male stature (cm) from the femur. Table 3.13. Summary statistics for female stature (cm) from the femur. Table 3.14. Meroitic male stature from maximum talus length. Table 3.15. Post-Meroitic male stature from maximum talus length. Table 3.16. Medieval male stature from maximum talus length. Table 3.17. Meroitic female stature from maximum talus length. Table 3.18. Post-Meroitic female stature from maximum talus length. Table 3.19. Medieval female stature from maximum talus length.

17 18 19 20 21 22 22 22 23 24 24 25 25 25 25 26 26 27 27

Chapter 4 Table 4.1. Adult symphalangism. Table 4.2. Subadult symphalangism.

34 34

Chapter 5 Table 5.1. Scoring for dental caries location. Table 5.2. Scoring for dental calculus. Table 5.3. Scoring for periodontitis. Table 5.4. Scoring for dental enamel defects. Table 5.5. Scoring for dental trauma. Table 5.6. Dental inventory, adult males. Table 5.7. Dental inventory, adult females. Table 5.8. Adult dental pathology, tooth count (TPR). Table 5.9. Adult dental pathology, individual count (CPR). Table 5.10. Dental pathology comparison (aged and sexed adults) P-values. Table 5.11. Calculus severity distribution among individuals by period and sex. Table 5.12. Summary of dental pathology. Table 5.13. Deciduous dental inventory. Table 5.14. Permanent dental inventory for subadult mixed dentitions.

36 36 37 37 37 38 38 39 39 40 41 41 41 41


Chapter 6 Table 6.1. Demographic distribution of Meroitic period individuals with any type of macrotrauma. Table 6.2. Demographic distribution of post-Meroitic/medieval individuals with any type of macrotrauma. Table 6.3. Comparison of trauma frequencies by combined age cohorts. Table 6.4. Macrotrauma comparison (aged and sexed adults), P-values. Table 6.5. Prevalence of cranial trauma (n) among cranial bones observed (N) for sexed adults. Table 6.6. Prevalence of long bone trauma (n) among bones observed (N) for sexed adults. Table 6.7. Prevalence of extremity trauma (n) among bones observed (N) for sexed adults. Table 6.8. Prevalence of postcranial trauma (n) among bones observed (N) for sexed adults. Table 6.9. Prevalence of regional trauma (n) for sexed adults (N) observed. Table 6.10. CPR for multiple macrotraumatic injuries (n) among sexed adults (N). Table 6.11. Multiple macrotrauma comparison (aged and sexed adults), P-values. Table 6.12. Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) prevalence among individuals with joint surfaces present. Table 6.13. Spondylolysis prevalence among sexed adults. Table 6.14. Schmorl’s nodes (SN) prevalence among sexed adults. Table 6.15. Schmorl’s nodes (SN) distribution among affected vertebral elements. Table 6.16. Scoring for postcranial and vertebral osteoarthritis. Table 6.17. Summary of postcranial osteoarthritis by age cohorts, Meroitic adults. Table 6.18. Summary of postcranial osteoarthritis by age cohorts, combined post-Meroitic/medieval adults. Table 6.19. Percentage (%) of individuals with one or both joints affected by osteoarthritis. Table 6.20. Distribution of individuals with any type of infectious lesion. Table 6.21. Scoring for osteoperiostitis. Table 6.22. BPR distribution of long bone (sided) and rib (combined sides) osteoperiostitis. Table 6.23. Adult CPR for osteoperiostitis (tibia). Table 6.24. Subadult CPR for osteoperiostitis (tibia). Table 6.25. Adult CPR for sinusitis. Table 6.26. Subadult CPR for sinusitis. Table 6.27. Scoring for cribra orbitalia. Table 6.28. Adult CPR for cribra orbitalia. Table 6.29. Subadult CPR for cribra orbitalia. Chapter 7 Table 7.1. Comparison of Gabati CPR and TPR for dental caries with other Nile Valley groups. Table 7.2. Comparison of average femoral lengths (mm) and dimorphic ratios from contemporary sites. Table 7.3. Comparison of cribra orbitalia CPR for Gabati and other Nubian groups. Table 7.4. Comparison of trauma CPR for Gabati and other Nubian groups.

44 44 45 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 51 52 52 52 52 53 54 55 57 57 59 60 60 61 61 61 61 62 62 67 67 68 73

Appendix A Table A.1. Individual percentage of completeness for adults. 171-173 Table A.2. Individual percentage of completeness for subadults. 174 Table A.3. New skeletal context and demographic information for all individuals. 175-178 Table A.4. Summary statistics of craniometrics, males. 179 Table A.5. Summary statistics of upper postcranial and pelvic basin measurements, males. 180 Table A.6. Summary statistics of lower postcranial measurements, males. 181 Table A.7. Summary statistics of craniometrics, females. 182 Table A.8. Summary statistics of upper postcranial and pelvic basin measurements, females. 183 Table A.9. Summary statistics of lower postcranial measurements, females. 184 Table A.10. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: foramen variations, Meroitic. 185 Table A.11. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: sutural variations, Meroitic. 185 Table A.12. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: miscellaneous variations, Meroitic. 186 Table A.13. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: foramen variations, post-Meroitic/medieval. 186 Table A.14. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: sutural variations, post-Meroitic/medieval. 187 Table A.15. Summary of cranial non-metric traits: miscellaneous variations, post-Meroitic/medieval. 187 Table A.16. Postcranial non-metric traits, upper body, Meroitic. 188 Table A.17. Postcranial non-metric traits, upper body, post-Meroitic/medieval. 188 Table A.18. Postcranial non-metric traits, lower body, Meroitic. 189 Table A.19. Postcranial non-metric traits, lower body, post-Meroitic/medieval. 190 viii

Appendix B Table B.1. Macro-and microtrauma summary, Meroitic males by tomb. Table B.2. Macro-and microtrauma summary, Meroitic females by tomb. Table B.3. Macro-and microtrauma summary, post-Meroitic males by tomb. Table B.4. Macro-and microtrauma summary, post-Meroitic females by tomb. Table B.5. Macro-and microtrauma summary, medieval males by tomb. Table B.6. Macro-and microtrauma summary, medieval females by tomb. Table B.7. Macro- and microtrauma summary, subadults all periods by tomb.

191 192 193 193 194 194 194

Appendix C Table C.1. Concordance of skeleton, tomb and British Museum EA numbers.


Chapter 1 Figure 1.1. Map showing location of Gabati and major sites mentioned in text.


Chapter 2 Figure 2.1. BRI values for major adult cranial elements. Figure 2.2. BRI values for adult postcranial elements. Figure 2.3. BRI values for subadult cranial elements. Figure 2.4. BRI values for subadult postcranial elements.

11 11 14 14

List of Figures

Chapter 3 Figure 3.1. Distribution of aged and sexed individuals for Meroitic and combined post-Meroitic/medieval groups. Chapter 5 Figure 5.1. Preservation of teeth. Chapter 6 Figure 6.1. Combined joint complex osteoarthritis frequency, Meroitic males and females. Figure 6.2. Combined joint complex osteoarthritis frequency, post-Meroitic/medieval males and females. Figure 6.3. Combined joint complex osteoarthritis frequency, males. Figure 6.4. Combined joint complex osteoarthritis frequency, females. Figure 6.5. Vertebral column and ribs osteoarthritis frequency, all adults. Chapter 7 Figure 7.1. Meroitic age-at-death sample distribution. Figure 7.2. Post-Meroitic and medieval age-at-death sample distribution. Figure 7.3. Comparison of adult femoral lengths from contemporary sites.



40 53 53 56 56 56 63 64 65

List of Plates Chapter 4 Plate 4.1. Maxillae with cleft and twisted tooth (#6), T.73-581. Plate 4.2. Bilateral developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) showing slipped capitus and osteoarthritis, T.128-408. Plate 4.3. Diamond shaped Inca bone, T.128-408. Plate 4.4. Right unfused interparietal bone, T.35-559. Plate 4.5. Inca bone variant on left occipital, T.120-1036. Plate 4.6. Klippel-Feil syndrome showing fusion of vertebrae C6-7, T.5-1048. Plate 4.7. Anterior atlas rachischisis and odontoid congenital split or fracture, T.130-1034. Plate 4.8. Median atlanto-occipital joint or third occipital condyle, T.20-20. Plate 4.9. Cleft of left C7 lamina inferior to superior articular facet, T.128-408. Plate 4.10. Bifid spinous processes of T.1, 2 of T.68-118. Plate 4.11. Cleft S1 and hiatus at S4-5 with bifid S2, T.14-1023. Plate 4.12. Right inferior articular facet of ala (posterior-superior view) and transverse process L5 (inferior view) partially fused, T.127-414. Plate 4.13. L5 has thoracic and lumbar features on neural arch and articular surfaces, T.59-754. Plate 4.14. Sacralised L5, T.72B-940. Plate 4.15. Bilateral 13th rib set on additional thoracic vertebra; left superior articular facet has lumbar features, T.6-1105. Plate 4.16. Abnormally short left 1st rib, T.20-20. Plate 4.17. Left sacral facet at S2 level, T.40-921. Plate 4.18. Incomplete calcano-navicular coalition, T.97 -110. Plate 4.19. Right trapezoid and MC3 coalition, T.1-1042. Plate 4.20. Fused hand MP/DP, T.70-859. Plate 4.21. Bilateral foot MP5/DP5 symphlangism, T.5-1048. Chapter 5 Plate 5.1. Interproximal dental caries between molars #15 and 16, T.39-1086. Plate 5.2. Facially perforating dental abscess associated with molar #3, T.5-1048 Plate 5.3. Abscesses draining into sinus cavity of T.16-801. Plate 5.4. Lingually draining abscess associated with lower incisor #25, T.103-979. Plate 5.5. Heavy dental calculus on molars #15 and 16, T.26-43. Plate 5.6. Heavy mandibular calculus on posterior teeth, T.27-50. Plate 5.7. AMTL posterior mandibular teeth, T.15-812. Plate 5.8. Incomplete enamel formation of #15 and #31, T.117-760. Plate 5.9. Enamel pitting shown here on mandibular molars #31 and 32 of T.124- 748, but also affects molars #1, 2, 15-18. Plate 5.10. Dental hypercementosis, T.99-415. Plate 5.11. Molar #1 as a peg tooth, T.24-32. Plate 5.12. Impacted supernumerary maxillary tooth between incisors #8 and 9, T.114-652 Plate 5.13. Heavy angled maxillary molar wear, T.39-1083. Plate 5.14. LSAMAT central maxillary incisors, T.43-941. Plate 5.15. Circular wear facet on facial surface of canine #11, T.39-1083. Plate 5.16. Lingual view of distal wear of maxillary central incisors with corresponding mesial wear of lateral incisors, T.40-921. Plate 5.17. Tooth facture of maxillary incisor #8, T.112-402, facial view Plate 5.18. Lingual surface of left mandible showing child’s calculus, T.60-63. Plate 5.19. Malformed permanent tooth #7, T.73-581. Chapter 6 Plate 6.1. OCD medial tibial plateau, T.93-143. Plate 6.2. Spondylolysis of L5, T.29-583. Plate 6.3. Schmorl’s nodes affecting T8-10, T.29-583. Plate 6.4. Child’s fractured right clavicle, T.119-1077. Plate 6.5. Child’s left MC3 perimortem oblique fracture, T.126-1072. Plate 6.6. Child’s perimortem impacted fracture of left distal anterior tibia, T.58-577. Plate 6.7. Linear Schmorl’s node T12, Meroitic teenager T.104-721. x

Plate 6.8. Severe osteoarthritis of left knee, T.36-885. Plate 6.9. Vertebral osteophytosis and osteoarthritis, T.90-726. Plate 6.10. Osteoperiostitis visceral rib surface, T.31-1074. Plate 6.11. Heavy plaque of periosteal bone on visceral rib surface, T.127-154. Plate 6.12. Lytic rib lesions, possibly tubercular, T.11A-1110. Plate 6.13. Anterior lytic lesion lumbar vertebra, possibly brucellosis, T.94-156. Plate 6.14. Gross osteoperiostitis affecting lower right leg and talus, T.39-1087. Plate 6.15. Gross osteomyelitis affecting femur, T.48-967. Plate 6.16. Osteomyelitis and cloaca of femur, T.48-967. Plate 6.17. Nodular osteoperiostitis right radial neck and radial tuberosity, T.61-67. Plate 6.18. Sinusitis in maxillary cavity, T.127-414. Plate 6.19. Sinusitis in maxillary cavity, T.15-812. Plate 6.20. Bilateral severe cribra orbitalia, T.33-633. Plate 6.21. Bilateral cribra orbitalia of subadult, T.66-95. Chapter 7 Plate 7.1. Partially fused right sacroiliac joint of female, T.80-639. Plate 7.2. Healed sharp force trauma left talus (probe) and osteoarthritic complication with articulating calcaneus, T.94-158. Plate 7.3. Perimortem puncture injury, T.11B-1104. Plate 7.4. Actively healing puncture injury, subadult, T.58-577. Plate 7.5. Healed fractured left metacarpals (MC5-2 viewed left to right), T.90-726. Plate 7.6. Healed parry fracture on left ulna, T.39-1083. Plate 7.7. Healed right spiral fracture, radius, T.68-118. Plate 7.8. Poorly healed impacted right radiocarpal surface of forearm with osteoarthritic complications, T.67-100. Plate 7.9. Healed sequential left rib shaft fractures, T.67-100. Plate 7.10. Healed myositis ossificans traumatica in rotator cuff area of proximal right humerus, T.27-50. Plate 7.11. Healed sharp force trauma, right humeral head, T.59-754. Plate 7.12. Healed sharp force trauma right glenoid fossa of scapula, T.59-754.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This project was inherited in 2002 during my time as curator in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum. Vivian Davies (Keeper, retired 2011) and Derek Welsby (Assistant Keeper) graciously permitted me to continue to work on this project following my departure in 2004 for the University of Pittsburgh. I am most grateful to several former and current staff at the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan who were very helpful and collegial during my tenure in the department and during my return visit to the department in 2007. My sincere thanks to: Assistant Keepers Derek Welsby and Richard Parkinson; Claire Messenger (Administrator), Tania Watkins (Assistant Administrator); Museum Assistants Tony Brandon (deceased), Bob Dominey, Tony Fellows and Evan York; and fellow bioarchaeologists Rebecca Redfern (Museum of London) and Tina Jakob (Durham University) who worked in the department following my departure for Pittsburgh. Daniel Antoine, the Institute for Bioarchaeology Curator of Physical Anthropology, based in the department, is acknowledged for his insightful comments on the manuscript. Mahmoud Suliman Bashir of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in Khartoum kindly translated the abstract into Arabic. Many volunteers eagerly assisted in the cleaning and sorting of the Gabati skeletons from 2000-2002 in the

department’s internship program facilitated by Departmental Administrator Claire Messenger and Assistant Keeper Richard Parkinson. I thank the following interns for their enthusiasm and long (and very messy) hours: Kirsten Armstrong, Karen Beasley, Dorothy Brilliant, Betty Busey, Harriet Buxton, Sharon Collins, Liz Cruikshank, Kerry Dean, Tessa Dickenson, Rachel Dwane, Joanne Kenny, Kirsten Olson, Virpi Perunka, Jennifer Poncbough, Livia Puggini, Jennifer Rohrbaugh, Amy Rosier and Sonia Spieler. Students from the Human Remains Paleopathology course taught by me at the University of Leicester in 2004 also assisted in the cleaning and analysis on 15 of the Gabati skeletons. Thanks are extended to Dawn Bean, Rachel Broomfield, Clare Burke, Sharon Collins, Satnam Dahaley, Richard Elliot-Skene, Pete Gartland, Becky Godfrey, Sarah Mount, Lisa Paling, John Shotton, Kim Sidwill, Kirsty Tuthill and Rachel Watson. Derek Welsby and Isabella Welsby Sjöström once again generously provided accommodation during 2007, which became like a second home. I do miss Brixton! Finally, thanks to Dave Edwards (University of Leicester) for patiently answering all of my questions about the project, reviewing several drafts and sharing the Gabati experience. He co-authored Chapter 8 in this volume.


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Expanding populations exert increasing demands on the environment for food, shelter and communication and thus facilitate the destruction of the existing landscape and its cultural heritage. Consequently, the trajectory of archaeological excavation and research is often driven by these developments, with Sudan at the forefront. For just over a century a series of dam constructions have imposed mass relocations upon local residents and initiated several international archaeological rescue missions, such as the now completed Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project in the Fourth Cataract region (Ahmed 2003). Previous smaller scale ventures targeting the Sudanese infrastructure also sparked archaeological salvage missions, but not necessarily an exodus of residents from their homes. Such was the case for the Gabati cemetery discovered in 1993 during an archaeological survey conducted by the Sudan Archaeological Research Society (SARS) at the request of the Sudan National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in response to a planned tarmac highway between el-Geili and Atbara (Edwards 1998; Mallinson and Smith 1993; Mallinson et al. 1996).

of cultural period although notable exceptions included el-Geili (Coppa and Palmieri 1988) and Soba East (Filer 1998). The SARS project recommenced late in 1994 for a second season under the direction of Dr David Edwards (1998) to undertake a rescue excavation that was limited to three months owing to the pending scheduled road construction. Although the project’s goal was to recover a representative grave sample from all of the time periods, priority was given to the Meroitic and post-Meroitic graves, with the Christian graves serving as chronological markers of the appearance of Christian burial rites (Edwards 1998, 5). Aided by local workman and site supervisors, the team excavated 64 of 74 identified Meroitic graves and 41 of 55 post-Meroitic or later graves (Edwards 1998, 11, 69, 202). When combined with the earlier excavation, a total of 50 later period graves were investigated. The method of excavation and recording for the large-scale rescue mission in 1994 is detailed by Edwards (1998, 7) and differed from that of Mallinson and colleague’s (1994) earlier mission. Owing to time constraints the sorting, rearticulation

Gabati Cemetery: Excavation history

Following the 1993 survey (Mallinson and Smith 1993), the SARS project returned in 1994 under the direction of Michael Mallinson to test excavate some of the sites threatened by the impending highway. The cemetery at Gabati (GBT, Site 159.2: 33° 46’ 25.6458 E/17° 12’ 09.6928 N) (Figure 1.1), was marked by an estimated 80 visible tumuli or cairns thought to include Meroitic, postMeroitic and (medieval) ‘Christian’ burials (Mallinson et al. 1994, 20). The body orientation, pottery, textiles and other artefacts recovered during test excavations confirmed the date range originally proposed (Mallinson et al. 1994). Gabati was considered to be of archaeological significance and worthy of salvage not only because of its magnitude and excellent preservation of the grave contents, but also because the transitions between the Meroitic and post-Meroitic periods, as well as the postMeroitic to medieval and Christian periods, were poorly represented archaeologically. The introduction of a new ideology to a region affords the opportunity to understand other social changes experienced by the people during transitional periods that may be identified from subtle modifications in the funerary program (Edwards 1998, 3). Few archaeological investigations had been undertaken in the Meroitic heartlands outside Meroe and other major centres, particularly north of Meroe (see Edwards 1998, 3 for a review). Aside from earlier racially inspired anthropology, such as that conducted at Jebel Moya by Mukherjee and colleagues (1955) and Derry (1949), systematic studies of human remains for this region suffered from even greater neglect regardless

Figure 1.1. Map showing location of Gabati and major sites mentioned in text.


and assignment of a context number to each skeleton was to be part of the detailed skeletal analysis following the excavation. A preliminary demographic assessment (age and biological sex) was conducted in the field by physical anthropologist, Joyce Filer, and integrated into the grave catalogue of the final archaeological site report (Edwards 1998). Since then the Sudanese authorities generously permitted the export of the skeletal collection to the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum for more detailed study.1 Several preliminary reports on aspects of the Gabati human skeletal remains have appeared elsewhere (Filer 1994; 1995; 2001; Judd 2004a). This monograph, Gabati, Volume 2, The Physical Anthropology, presents the anthropological analysis and catalogue of the skeletons recovered from Gabati during both excavation seasons (Edwards 1998; Mallinson et al. 1994).

of a single burial site, and it inhabitants over an extended period.

Organisation of the book

The book consists of two parts. Part I details the analysis of the skeletons excavated at Gabati and summarises their general health and lifestyle. An in-depth social interpretation is not the intention of this analysis, but rather it forms an anthropological foundation to invite further research. Chapters 2-6 present the methods and results of inventory, demography and palaeopathology. Chapter 7 briefly synthesises these results to impart an impression of life and health experienced at Gabati during the Meroitic, post-Meroitic and medieval periods. Finally, Chapter 8 is written jointly with Dr David Edwards, the project director, to revisit Gabati and situate the site and funerary program within the broader context of Nubian archaeology. Part II presents the skeletal catalogue of osteobiographical information for each individual and lists the unassociated skeletal remains, if any, for each tomb. The appendices include preservation tables, individual data tables, descriptive statistics for metrical data, frequency tables for non-metric traits and finally the plates.


Conventional and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) were used to date samples from each of the three periods at Gabati. The dated contexts and samples, collected from organic residue in jars, figs, wood fragments and human skeletal remains, is detailed in the excavation report (Edwards 1998, 245-251). These samples provided some dates for each of the main phases of use of the site: Meroitic early 2nd century BC – early 3rd century AD Post-Meroitic mid 5th – early 7th century AD Medieval 9th – late 11th century AD This information, along with the artefactual and other contextual information indicates a very long history of use of the cemetery. A Meroitic presence is certainly evident in the earlier 2nd century BC and probably continued through to at least the 3rd century AD. Bearing in mind the uncertainties that surround the ‘end of Meroe’ and how it may be defined, it is perhaps sufficient to note that the site contained examples of the latest known types of diagnostic ‘Meroitic’ pottery, certainly datable to the 3rd century, possibly into the 4th century. Closer dating of the latest Meroitic burials is not possible. The dates further establish a date range for the post-Meroitic burials, but without precluding the possibility that there may have been both earlier and later burials. The later end of the sequence is of particular interest in that it provides a clear indication that traditional (pre-Christian) burial practices survived in this region a century or more after the traditional date assigned to the ‘conversion’ of Nubia. That the penetration of Christianity into such rural areas may have been both slow and partial must also be considered. The latest dated graves included examples buried according to both Christian and non-Christian norms. It is possible that the cemetery may have continued in use even later, although it seems likely that most post-medieval and more recent burials in the region are to be found elsewhere, whether closer to the river or further inland on the desert margins. That the cemetery remained in use continuously over 1000 years or more is of course far from certain, but this provides a rare opportunity to trace the development 1 For a list of the skeletons with their corresponding British Museum EA numbers see Appendix C.




Following the excavation seasons, bones were shipped to the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum. Much soil adhered to the bones and was loosened during transport, which necessitated that the contents of each bone bag be emptied into sieves so that small bones or teeth could be captured. Elements were cleaned with an assortment of small brushes and wooden probes. Each individual was laid out in anatomical position and data were recorded on schematic recording forms and directly into computer spreadsheets. Digital photographs were taken of dentitions, skulls if complete and all pathological conditions. Each bone was bagged separately, aside from the extremities, vertebrae and ribs, which were bagged by region and side. Each individual was packed into a separate lined box. Bags of unassociated bones were kept separate; conjoins and articulations were sought with the more intact individual within the grave. Some individuals were easily reassembled by distinct robusticity or developmental stage, while other rearticulations were confirmed by metrics, joint congruency, systemic or adjacent pathological processes. Bones that could not be attributed to a specific individual (especially the ribs, hands, and feet) were inventoried and listed as ‘Unassociated bones’ for each tomb.

The completeness of the skeleton and the integrity of the bone available have implications for the amount of data that can be reliably retrieved from each individual and by extension, affect the structure and interpretation of the individual and population profile. Low frequencies and absences of entire elements or specific portions of elements can redirect research towards social and funerary rituals of body treatment and/or veneration, for example, secondary burials and transference, relic acquisition or ancestral mementos (Baker 1888; Bonogofsky 2002; Meyers 1970). Alternatively, lower frequencies may simply be a factor of bone size and fragility, such as the coccyx or hyoid, which may be easily missed or accidentally crushed while working within the confining space of the tomb. Sieving the grave fill can enhance recovery particularly when workers unfamiliar with skeletal anatomy are involved; for example, 39% of hyoids and coccyges were recovered during the Northern Dongola Reach Survey (NDRS) excavation where all grave fill was sifted by the workmen (Judd 2001, 462). A common misconception is that children’s bones do not survive well if at all. Lewis (2007, 20-21) argues that children’s bones, given the right burial conditions, should have the same potential for survival as adult bones. It is more likely that the amorphic shape combined with the scaled down subadult bones, notably those of infants and small children, contribute to reduced visibility no matter if they are interned in the ground or within burial containers (Bello and Andrews 2006; Buckberry 2000; Lewis 2007; Walker et al. 1988). Some researchers have gone so far as to predict that bone size consistently corresponds with survival and recovery (Bello and Andrews 2006), while other researchers observe that survivability is enhanced for some smaller bones (Judd 2001). For example, the patella, talus and calcaneus are all short dense bones lacking a medullar cavity and are not easily broken in contrast to the tubular bones of the leg or the thin flat bones, such as the scapula. These bones are not exceptionally small or fragile in comparison to carpals, hyoids and teeth and, therefore, they should be distinguishable from stones or lumps of mud. The emphasis is on full recovery of the skeleton as all elements facilitate the most accurate assessment of the pathological processes, demographic profile and individual’s social identity as accumulated during the life experience of their body. Bones commonly used to estimate the age and determine the biological sex of an individual may be absent or damaged owing to cultural or taphonomic processes, in which case the compact bones mentioned above serve as alternative means for assessing biological sex, age and stature (Case and Ross 2007; Holland 1995; Kalichman et al. 2007; Steele 1976). Furthermore, research interests have shifted and although


During the 1994-5 excavation season contexts were assigned to each distinct stratigraphic feature including the skeleton with its associated remains (Edwards 1998, 7). When inhumations were commingled, skeleton numbers were given to groups, with skeletons designated alphabetically or numerically by the excavators, but not always recorded in the notes. Neonates interred with adults were registered with the adult remains. In order to facilitate analysis, determine the actual number of individuals, individualise social identities and develop a community profile it was necessary to designate a context for each individual. During excavation, burial structures were recorded separately from the skeletal remains resulting in numeric duplication, i.e., there may be a Tomb 120 and a burial context 120. New contexts were assigned to individuals that were identified when the elements were sorted, matched and rearticulated. The final context number used during excavation was 1015 (Edwards 1998, 218); therefore, new context designations began with 1016 and continued to 1111. On reassessing the contexts, 1097 was deleted and 1019 was found to be equivalent to the original 652 context, but was retained. As this investigation examines all of the burials excavated from Gabati, individuals recovered during the earlier season led by Mallinson were integrated with those excavated under the direction of Edwards and were also given new context numbers to maintain consistency. 3

the skull and dentition prove indispensable to resolve problems pertaining to migration, subsistence, warfare, ethnic identity and ancestry (Buzon and Bombak 2010; Buzon et al. 2007; Filer 1992; 1997; Irish 2005; 2006), postcranial elements provide ancillary data to address the same questions in addition to those of gendered labour, domestic relations, infectious disease epidemiology, child and health care and many more (Alvrus 1999; Bourke 1972; Dupras et al. 2010; Eshed et al. 2004; Goodman and Armelagos 1989; Judd 2002a; 2006; Peterson 1997; Satinoff 1972). Here, completeness (or presence) is the degree of bone fragmentation, while integrity (or condition) refers to the suitability of the bone for analysis. For example, an individual represented by an intact single radius that visibly has not been affected by extrinsic or intrinsic

research questions and to facilitate research design. Here the amount of bone preserved was first quantified by element then by region. Each element present was expressed on a scale of 0 to 1 so that a more accurate percentage of the bone available could be estimated. Bones were counted and expressed using Dodson and Weslar’s (1979) ‘Bone Representation Index’ (BRI), which is the number of elements recovered/number of elements expected based on the number of individuals (Bello et al. 2006). These numbers can be collapsed into regions and ultimately a score can be calculated for each skeleton. The adult skeleton was divided into six regions (skull, long bones, hands, feet, miscellaneous and vertebrae). These anatomical regions, the bones included in each region and the expected number of bones are summarised in Table 2.1 and detailed as follows:

TABLE 2.1. EXPECTED NUMBERS OF MAJOR BONES PER ANATOMICAL REGION FOR EACH ADULT. Anatomical region Skull Long bones Miscellaneous Vertebral column Hands Feet

Bones included Frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital, mandible, maxilla, zygomatic Clavicle, humerus, ulna, radius, femur, tibia, fibula Scapula, ilium, ischium, pubis, patella, manubrium, sternum, ribs Cervical, thoracic, lumbar vertebrae; sacrum Carpals, metacarpals, phalanges Tarsals, metatarsals, phalanges

taphonomic factors, would score low for completeness but high for integrity. In contrast, the fully articulated but fragile bones of an individual that crumble upon lifting would score high for completeness, but very low for integrity as analysis is limited. Most recording and analytical methods are developed for complete skeletons and as a consequence collections composed of disarticulated, disturbed, fragmentary or commingled individuals remain problematic and regrettably are often forgotten. If each individual, no matter how complete, is included in an analysis the results can be misleading and underrepresented. To circumvent this problem, Lovejoy and Heiple (1981) recommended that disease processes be represented by elemental frequencies rather than individuals. These researchers used complete long bones in their analyses and although a precise frequency of trauma was presented for the type of element observed, partial elements were excluded, even though pathological, thus continuing to under-represent the pathological frequency and ultimately deconstructing the individual. Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994, 7) in Standards for Data Collection proposed a method for scoring each element or section where 1 = 75% complete, 2 = 25%-75% complete and 3 = C > L Post-Meroitic/medieval males: L > T > C Meroitic females: L > C > T Post-Meroitic/medieval females: T > L = C


M eroitic


Infectious disease

PM /M edieval


Infectious disease, caused by biological organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and helminthes, has directed the human trajectory since our origins, claiming those least resistant (Inhorn and Brown 1990). Infectious disease is categorised as specific or nonspecific, and depending on the synergistic relationship between virulence and host, resistance to disease may or may not be fatal thus conferring a selective advantage on the survivors. Many fatal infections are acute, resulting in death prior to hard tissue involvement. For example, smallpox and plague are invisible osteologically, although funerary context DNA analysis where fatal acute diseases are suspected (e.g., plague pits) or where soft tissue survives promises great advances (Drancourt et al. 1998; Strouhal 1996). In other cases, infectious diseases can be chronic eventually initiating discernible skeletal responses, although whether or not the infection was the cause of death cannot be assumed. Prior to antibiotics infectious disease claimed approximately half of a community’s progeny before they reached sexual maturity. This legacy continues in developing and developed countries where access to medical attention is mediated by remote location or other socioeconomic factors, such as wealth, social status or ideology (Farmer 1998; Inhorn and Brown 1990). The distribution of individuals with evidence for any type of infectious lesion is tabulated in Table 6.20.


50 40 30 20 10

Fo ot

nk le



ne e

ip H

ro ili ac

an d H

Sa c

El bo w W ri st

Sh ou ld er


J oint

Figure 6.4. Combined joint complex osteoarthritis frequency, females. 90

M eroitic males M eroitic females PM /M edieval males PM /M edieval females

80 70


60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Ce rvical




Specific infections Specific infections are attributed to known bacteria and present unique identifying skeletal patterns, notably leprosy, syphilis and tuberculosis. It is important to understand that although syphilis and leprosy can be distinguished macroscopically and biochemically from skeletal remains, it is possible that past people did not differentiate between these disfiguring diseases (Baker and Armelagos 1988). The presence and social identification of syphilis is unknown (or perhaps unpublished) for this geotemporal context and therefore not expected, although the dermatological afflictions described in the Bible and by classical


Thorax section

Figure 6.5. Vertebral column and ribs osteoarthritis frequency, all adults.

osteoarthritis was more prevalent among the joints of older males with the exception of the ankles and ribs. When non-vertebral joints were compared for the group as a whole, the sacroiliac joint was affected more often for both sexes. The knee was least troubling for males, while the foot and elbow were minimally involved for females. In both groups males experienced more lower extremity 56


Shoulder Elbow Wrist Hand Sacroiliac Hip Knee Ankle Foot Thorax Cervical vertebrae Thoracic vertebrae Lumbar vertebrae Sacrum Ribs

Males 51.7 37.0 56.1 44.6 70.8 43.8 29.2 45.2 47.9

Meroitic (%)

Females 26.3 21.2 38.6 36.8 75.7 50.5 19.6 24.3 31.4

83.8 84.2 75.0 34.6 41.4

62.0 52.9 74.5 31.0 42.6

Post-Meroitic/medieval (%) Males Females 57.1 19.4 28.6 5.6 46.4 25.0 25.0 17.7 67.9 52.8 42.9 27.8 17.9 13.9 46.4 22.2 46.4 5.6 42.9 50.0 57.1 28.6 39.3

44.4 50.0 44.4 33.3 44.4



Cohort Males Females Subadult Total Males Females Subadult Total

Individuals affected 20 23 0 43 6 8 3 17

writers imply that similar disease manifestations were not uncommon (Baker and Armelagos 1988; Hunnius et al. 2006; Monot et al. 2005). Syphilis is argued to vary geotemporally, depending on the subspecies of Treponema pallidum (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 154; Rothschild and Rothschild 1995). Subspecies of the genus that produce pinta and bejal leave no skeletal markers, but severely affect the soft tissue. In contrast, caries sicca and thickened bone are manifest only in the tertiary stage of acquired syphilis, typically ten or more years following infection (Baker and Armelagos 1988; Rothschild and Rothschild 1995). Though syphilis was proposed by early palaeopathologists for the Nile Valley (Fouquet 1896; Lortet 1908), Grafton Elliot Smith (1907a; 1908a) vehemently argued that the purported lesions were due to beetle burrowing and syphilis was absent in the Nile Valley well up until the end of the medieval period. Skeletal lesions indicative of syphilis were not present among the Gabati group. Leprosy or Hansen’s disease triggered by Mycobacterium leprae is endemic in modern Sudan (El-Hassan et al. 2002). Like syphilis, leprosy does not often affect the skeleton until several years after contact. Muscle paralysis and bone resorption may occur followed by the loss of soft tissue particularly among the extremities, the interface of contact with the social and physical environment (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 144-146; 152-153). Consequently, the skin loses tactile sensation rendering the affected individual oblivious to pain or external stimuli that may initiate injury and invite

Individuals observed 38 52 23 113 14 18 22 54

% affected 52.6 44.2 0.0 38.1 42.9 44.4 13.6 31.5

bacterial infection. The affected extremity bones if found archaeologically appear as being thin and sharpened due to diaphyseal atrophy and resorption; however, the hallmark of lepromatous leprosy is chronic rhinitis, that may eventually lead to the absorption of the rhinomaxillary area and loss of maxillary incisors (Andersen and Manchester 1992; Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 141-54; Boldsen 2008; Manchester 1992; Ortner 2003, 263-271; Steinbock 1976). Leprosy has been reported elsewhere in Lower Nubia during the Christian period by (Møller-Christensen and Hughes 1966; Smith 1908b; Smith and Jones 1910) and in Roman Egypt (Dzierżykray-Rogalski 1980; Molto 2002). Modern DNA research proposes that leprosy originated in East Africa or the Near East (Monot et al. 2005), while DNA analysis of archaeological bone dates leprosy to Roman Egypt at the Dakhleh Oasis (Donoghue et al. 2005). No suspected cases of leprosy were observed at Gabati. In contrast to leprosy and syphilis, the antiquity of tuberculosis extends back to the Pleistocene (Gagneux 2012; Rothschild and Martin 2003). In the Nile Valley, this disease has been identified among several skeletons, described in ancient texts and embodied artistically (e.g., Cave 1939; Derry 1938; Schrumpf-Pierron 1933); molecular evidence has traced tuberculosis to the Egyptian Old Kingdom (Nerlich and Losch 2009). The antiquity and ubiquity of tuberculosis situates this infection within the disease sphere of the Gabati group. Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis, can be acquired by inhaling airborne droplets from infected 57

individuals or ingested from infected food products, such as meat or milk. The high haemopoietic content of the cancellous bone of the thorax is most attractive to the tubercular bacilli, although other joints, diaphyses and the skull can also be involved in the destructive process (Ortner 2003, 228). Rib lesions similar to those diagnostic of pulmonary tuberculosis were observed among five Meroitic adults and one medieval female, but whether or not these lesions resulted from a tubercular infection or nonspecific infection (discussed below) is unknown without DNA analysis. Distinguishing lesions due to tuberculosis from other respiratory infections (and other destructive disease processes, such as neoplasms and trauma) has been problematic, but ongoing research refines patterns observed in anatomical and archaeological skeletons (Ortner 2003, 255; Santos and Roberts 2006). In documented collections, lytic lesions of pulmonary tuberculosis favor the central larger ribs and the rib neck nearer the vertebral column; fusiform expansion may be present, but osteoperiostitis is minimal (Ortner 2003, 246-7; Santos and Roberts 2006). All individuals with rib lesions include:

Suspected cases of brucellosis included one Meroitic (T.94-156) (Plate 6.13) and one medieval male (T.20-20). Nonspecific infections Nonspecific infections cannot be ascribed to specific organisms and are not manifest in a consistent pattern. These infections affect the periosteum of the outer bone (osteoperiostitis) in addition to the cortical bone and marrow space (osteomyelitis). Osteoperiostitis is identified by the deposition of new bone resulting from adjacent soft tissue or bone infection resulting from generalised nonspecific or specific infection (e.g., rickets, syphilis, leprosy) or trauma particularly to the anterior tibia, which is most susceptible to injury owing to its location near the skin surface (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 179). This new bone appears as rough patches or linear striations becoming increasingly exuberant (Pinheiro et al. 2004). When traumatic in origin, the lesion is localised and unilateral; bilateral presentations are linked with systemic infections, metabolic disease and neoplasms. Specific aetiologies cannot be distinguished radiographically, macroscopically or microscopically without other diagnostic tests such as histology, although there are a few exceptions (Weston 2008; 2009). Osteomyelitis occurs when a disease-provoking agent, such as bacteria, penetrates the bone directly through an injury, adjacent soft tissue infection or haematogenously from an infected remote location resulting in a chronic infection producing excudite (Ortner 2003, 181). Alone, osteomyelitis is nondiagnostic of any one infectious agent although 90% are attributed to Staphylococcus and initiated by localised trauma (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 172). Though it can affect all bones, nontraumatic nonspecific infection most often targets the diaphysis and metaphyseal area of the tibia and femur (80%) (Ortner 2003, 182). Osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity produce enlarged, thickened, irregularly shaped bone with necrotic segments due to impaired blood supply; smooth-walled cloacae allow for drainage of the exudate (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 172-176). Because the tibia is most commonly involved it is often assessed systematically (Steckel et al. 2002, 89). Here, all bones whether intact or broken were examined for infectious lesions following the protocol slightly modified from Steckel and colleagues (2002, 89) (Table 6.21). Osteoperiostitis results are summarised by postcranial elements in Table 6.22; Tables 6.23 and 6.24 compile the CPR for adults and subadults with tibial involvement only. In total, 60 individuals exhibited some type of lesion due to inflammation and of these, two individuals bore affected tibiae only and 27 had tibial osteoperiostitis in combination with other lesions. The majority (51.7%) were affected by infections localised elsewhere. Like clinical findings, fibulae and femora were more frequently involved than arm bones or those of the thorax. No significant differences were observed in the CPR for males (P = 0.7554), females (P = 1.0) or subadults (P = 0.2333) between periods, or between the sexes for either period (Meroitic, P = 0.5228; post-Meroitic/medieval, P = 1.0). Among subadults, only the fibulae of later individuals were involved as diagnosed by expanded

Meroitic T.31-1074 (female): One rib segment shows active new bone growth on visceral surface (Plate 6.10). T.55-1016 (male): Several rib shaft sections are expanded with bone porosity and thin slit striations appearing on the shafts. T.75-638 (male): Fine porosity occurs on several rib segments. T.93-143 (male): Slight porosity occurs on visceral middle rib shafts. T.127-1054 (male): Heavy white plaque deposits occur on the visceral surface of ribs, likely ribs 6-9 (Plate 6.11). Medieval T.11A-1110 (female): The neck and tubercle region of at least six right ribs exhibit some destructive process with new bone formation (Plate 6.12). Brucellosis is a zoonosis that may be expected to be endemic among people who handle animals or their products, such as farmers, herders, tanners, butchers or caregivers (Alleyne et al. 1986; Miller 1987; Tessaro 1992). Its identification among archaeological skeletal remains has become more frequent owing to efforts to distinguish its presence from other vertebral lesions. However, Mays’ (2007a) recent evaluation and thorough differential diagnosis reveals that the skeletal criteria of this disease are not straightforward and disc herniation may be a more plausible explanation without DNA analysis. Nevertheless, lesions linked to brucellosis were noted according to criteria compiled by Mays (2007a) that affected the lumbar vertebrae: interruptions of the anterosuperior or antero-inferior vertebral margin resulting in a wedge-shaped profile of the body margin, or vertebral marginal lesions (VML). Brucellosis was differentiated from spinal tuberculosis in that there was no collapse of the vertebral body. Ortner (2003, 218) emphasised that the skeletal diagnosis of brucellosis among ancient people is hampered by the early detection and treatment of brucellosis among modern populations before osseous response. 58


Description No bone available. No osteoperiostitis present. Slight, discrete patch(es) of reactive bone involving less than one quarter of the long bone surface. Markedly accentuated longitudinal striations. Moderate involvement of the periosteum, but less than one-half of the long bone surface. Extensive periosteal reaction involving over half of the diaphysis with cortical expansion, pronounced deformation. Osteomyelitis with cloacae. Osteoperiostitis associated with a fracture.

fusiform diaphyses in contrast to their contralateral or tibial companion. Many of the lesions were not severe in appearance, but this does not mean that the individual did not experience pain. Two Meroitic individuals—a young female (T.39-1087) (Plate 6.14) and male (T.24-32)—bore extensive osteomyelitis and/or osteoperiostitis on the right lower leg. Though the bone growth was exuberant for both individuals, ambulation was not compromised. A young Meroitic female (T.48-967) experienced numerous ulcerating lesions and cortical expansion of the distal portion of both femora and the more proximal left tibia (Plates 6.15 and 6.16). Although neither femoral head exhibited osteoarthritis due to mechanical stress, some joint response was visible on the right auricular surface; the distal femoral articular surfaces were not available for observation. Finally, medieval female T.61-67 also bears mention. Small round bony nodules surrounded the proximal diaphyses of the right forearm and distal right humerus as well as the anterior vertebral bodies of C3-5; the joint surfaces were unaffected (Plate 6.17). Maxillary sinusitis is linked with numerous environmental agents such as poor air quality due to smoke, inadequate ventilation, air pollution, pollen and dust mites, although the presence of other disease processes such as dental disease and leprosy may also be contributing factors (Merritt and Pfeiffer 2000; Roberts 2007). These sinuses function as filters that secrete a mucous to dispense with any inhaled particles. Should this system be disrupted, fluid pools in the cavities attracting bacteria that fester to produce nasal congestion and discharge as well as pharyngeal irritation, which if left untreated leads to a chronic condition (Roberts 2007). A complete evaluation of sinusitis would require an endoscope to view the sinuses of intact skulls, but many Gabati sinus cavities were observable owing to skull breakage, one of the few benefits of a damaged collection. All individuals were included in the analysis if one or both maxillary sinus cavities were exposed. Sinusitis was scored as present or absent based on general pitting, spicules and white pitted bone (Boocock et al. 1995). Sinusitis results are shown for adults in Table 6.25 and subadults in Table 6.26. No significant differences were observed in the CPR for males (P = 0.2148) or subadults (P = 1.00) over time, but the frequency of sinusitis among later females was significantly reduced compared to the Meroitic females (P = 0.0113). No significant differences were observed between the sexes for either period (Meroitic, P = 0.2148; post-Meroitic/medieval, P = 1.00). Individuals with sinusitis included:

Meroitic Males: T.31-1076, T.39-1085, T.55-1016, T.94-156, T.104-1041, T.114-1021, T.122-1031, T.127-414 (Plate 6.18). Females: T.14-1023, T.14-1027, T.15-812 (Plate 6.19), T.32-841, T.53-595, T.55-1018, T.56-715, T.74-875, T.82-668, T.99-415, T.113-400, T.114-1020, T.120-1037, T.120-689, T.123-1028, T.130-1034. Subadults: T.14-1026. Post-Meroitic Males: T.1-1042. Subadults: T.4-1047, T.88-611. Medieval Females: T.11A-83.

Porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia

Porotic hyperostosis (PH) and cribra orbitalia (CO) are common pathological occurrences associated with an anaemic condition and appear in ancient bone as spiculated projections or porous lesions on the flat bones of the skull vault (PH) and the roofs of the eye orbit (CO). Drawing on clinical work, earlier palaeoepidemiological research attributed these lesions to the genetic anaemias as well as iron deficiency, a disagreeable aftermath following the introduction of agriculture and purported reduction in meat consumption (Angel 1966; Kent 1986; Mensforth et al. 1978; Nathan and Haas 1966; Stuart-Macadam 1985). However, reduced iron concentrations and anaemia are also associated with parasitic infections, vitamin deficiencies (B12 and folate) particularly during pregnancy and nursing, lead exposure, cancers, chronic bleeding due to gastrointestinal conditions and many other determinants that produce an anaemic state or subperiosteal haemorrhaging (vitamin C and D deficiencies) (Brickley and Ives 2008; Cooley and Lee 1925; Mensforth et al. 1978; Waldron 1973; Walker et al. 2009). Criteria for differentiating postcranial skeletal responses due to the genetic anaemias (thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia) are easily distinguished (Hershkovitz et al. 1997; Ortner 2003, 364-8), whereas detecting vitamin C and D deficiencies requires additional scrutiny. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for collagen synthesis, blood formation, iron and folate metabolism. Deficiencies result in scurvy, which is diagnosed by inadequate healing and immunological responses, haemorrhage, poor bone formation and anaemia. Primates, including humans, as well as a few select other animals, must obtain vitamin C from external sources, notably fresh produce, milk, meat and fish. Human milk is richer in vitamin C than that of other animals including the 59

N = bones observed; n = bones affected.



Affected Observed % affected

Meroitic 11 33 33.3

Males Post-Meroitic 2 8 25.0

Medieval 2 6 33.3

Meroitic 11 47 23.4


Females Post-Meroitic 2 12 16.7

Medieval 0 6 0


28 112 25.0










Males Females Subadults Total Males Females Subadults Total

Males Females Subadults Total Males Females Subadults Total

Males Females Subadults Total Males Females Subadults Total

Males Females Subadults Total Males Females Subadults Total

Cohort n 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Left clavicle N % 32 3.1 39 0.0 11 0.0 82 1.2 14 0.0 18 0.0 21 0.0 53 0.0 Left radius n N % 1 30 3.3 0 41 0.0 0 12 0.0 1 83 1.2 0 14 0.0 2 18 11.1 0 20 0.0 2 52 3.9 Combined rib sets n N % 4 30 13.3 1 37 2.7 0 13 0.0 5 80 6.3 0 14 0.0 1 18 5.6 0 22 0.0 1 54 1.9 Left tibia n N % 7 32 21.9 4 43 9.3 0 14 0.0 11 89 12.4 4 14 28.6 1 18 5.6 0 20 0.0 5 52 9.6 Right tibia N 30 36 14 80 14 18 21 53

% 33.3 30.6 0.0 26.3 28.6 5.6 0.0 9.4


n 10 11 0 21 4 1 0 5


n 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 N

Right clavicle N % 30 3.3 39 0.0 14 0.0 83 1.2 14 0.0 18 0.0 20 0.0 52 0.0 Right radius N % 27 0.0 39 0.0 13 0.0 79 0.0 14 0.0 17 0.0 20 0.0 51 0.0

n 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Left humerus N 31 41 14 86 14 18 20 52 Left ulna n N 0 33 1 40 0 15 1 88 0 14 1 18 0 20 1 52 Left femur n N 4 33 6 44 0 15 10 92 4 14 1 18 0 21 5 53 Left fibula n N 3 21 5 36 0 14 8 71 1 13 0 18 1 21 2 52 n 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

% 14.3 13.9 0.0 11.3 7.7 0.0 4.8 3.9

% 12.1 13.6 0.0 10.9 28.6 5.6 0.0 9.4

% 0.0 2.5 0.0 1.1 0.0 5.6 0.0 1.9

% 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

n 6 6 0 12 1 2 0 3

n 4 4 0 8 4 0 0 4

n 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

n 1 1 0 2 0 1 0 1

TABLE 6.22. BPR DISTRIBUTION OF LONG BONE (SIDED) AND RIB (COMBINED SIDES) OSTEOPERIOSTITIS. Right humerus N % 31 3.2 44 2.3 12 0.0 87 2.3 14 0.0 17 5.9 21 0.0 52 1.9 Right ulna N % 34 0.0 37 0.0 14 0.0 85 0.0 14 0.0 17 0.0 20 0.0 51 0.0 Right femur N % 33 12.1 42 9.5 21 0.0 96 8.3 14 28.6 18 0.0 22 0.0 54 7.4 Right fibula N % 27 22.2 29 20.7 15 0.0 71 16.9 14 7.1 18 11.1 21 0.0 53 5.7

TABLE 6.24. SUBADULT CPR FOR OSTEOPERIOSTITIS (TIBIA). Age cohort Affected Observed % affected

1-3 0 0 0.0

Meroitic 4-5 2 10 20.0

6 0 1 0.0

1-3 0 6 0.0

Post-Meroitic 4-5 2 3 66.7

6 1 5 20.0

1-3 0 3 0.0

Medieval 4-5 0 3 0.0

6 0 0 0.0


Affected Observed % affected

Meroitic 8 32 25.0

Males Post-Meroitic 1 8 12.5

Medieval 0 5 0

Meroitic 16 40 40.0

Females Post-Meroitic 0 11 0.0

Medieval 1 6 16.7

Males combined 9 45 20.0

Females combined 17 57 29.8

TABLE 6.26. SUBADULT CPR FOR SINUSITIS. Age cohort Affected Observed % affected

1-3 0 0 0.0

Meroitic 4-5 6 0 1 8 2 0.0 50.0

Total 1 10 10.0

Post-Meroitic 1-3 4-5 6 1 0 1 5 4 4 20.0 0.0 25.0

cow, but especially caprines, so deficiencies are unlikely when natural feeding is practiced. If the mother herself is malnourished, congenital scurvy may occur, but is rare; nevertheless, maternal malnourishment needs to be considered when childhood scurvy is assessed (Brickley and Ives 2008, 45; Walker et al. 2009). Brickley and Ives (2008) compiled macroscopic skeletal features associated with scurvy and emphasised that multiple features were necessary for a diagnosis of scurvy. Loosening of teeth and eventual tooth loss, particularly the anterior teeth, will follow if left unchecked and will appear as AMTL among both subadults and adults. Subadult subperiosteal haemorrhaging leading to porosity and new bone formation is indicative of scurvy when occurring on the long bones and skull vault and orbit; fine porosity that penetrates the cortex may appear on the sphenoid, mandible, maxilla, orbits, pelvis and scapula; ribs may be fractured at the costochondral junction and become swollen. Brickley and Ives (2008) include new bone formation in the orbits and long bone ends, bi-concave vertebral compression and transverse rib fractures at the joints as adult features of the disease process. Haemorrahaging may occur, particularly in adult joints, making locomotion difficult and predisposing the individual to trips and falls. Delayed healing due to inadequate collagen formation may result in unhealed injuries particularly to the already weakened bone producing a cycle of injury and inadequate healing. Vitamin D is required for many bodily functions and is essential for the mineralisation of osteoid and calcium metabolism but unlike vitamin C, vitamin D needs to be synthesised in order to be useful to the body. Lack of vitamin D forces the body to deplete its calcium stores, thus placing the weakened diaphysis under mechanical stress resulting in a bending deformity pathognomic of rickets (Ortner and Mays 1998). Ultraviolet sun-rays are the most common source of vitamin D although vitamin D can be ingested from eggs and oily fish. It is intuitive that lack of sunlight would not be a factor for the residents of Gabati. However, heredity or cultural factors that

1-3 0 4 0.0

Medieval 4-5 0 3 0.0

6 0 0 0

Total post-Meroitic/ medieval 2 20 10.0

restrict sunlight exposure are not unknown among more equatorial African countries where heavy swaddling of infants and indoor confinement impairs the penetration of the sun’s rays predisposing children to rickets (Jelliffe 1955; Wondale et al. 2005). Recording Porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia are predominantly bilateral and cribra orbitalia is typically more common (Aufderheide and Rodríguez-Martín 1998, 349-350). Here, the scoring method presented by Steckel and colleagues (2005, 13-14) was followed. At least one orbital roof had to be present and was scored according to the codes in Table 6.27. Similarly, porotic hyperostosis was treated as a nonspecific stress marker and followed the same scheme as unobservable, absent, slight or gross porosity that resulted in exposure of the diploë (Steckel, et al. 2002, 88). Results No porotic hyperostosis lesions were observed that could TABLE 6.27. SCORING FOR CRIBRA ORBITALIA. Code 0 1 2 3

Description No orbits present for observation. Absent with at least one observable orbit. Present with fine foramina covering a small area of about 1cm2. Present with a large areas ≥ 1cm2 of foramina that tended to grossly coalesce.

be differentiated from normal skull porosity, nor were skeletal changes diagnostic of the genetic anaemias, scurvy or rickets observed. Adult and subadult cribra orbitalia data are presented in Tables 6.28 and 6.29. Meroitic males and females were similarly affected, but the post-Meroitic adults were uninvolved; more cases were observed among medieval females than males. When males and females were compared within the temporal periods no significant difference was observed for either 61

TABLE 6.28. ADULT CPR FOR CRIBRA ORBITALIA. Cribra orbitalia Affected Observed % affected

Meroitic 8 38 21.1

Males PostMeroitic 0 7 0



1 6 16.7

10 52 19.2

Females PostMeroitic 0 12 0


Males combined

Females Combined

2 6 33.3

9 51 17.1

12 69 17.4

TABLE 6.29. SUBADULT CPR FOR CRIBRA ORBITALIA. Age cohort Affected Observed % affected

1-3 0 3 0

Meroitic 4-5 6 6 1 11 1 54.0 100.0

Total 7 15 46.7

Post-Meroitic 1-3 4-5 6 3 1 2 8 2 4 37.5 50.0 50.0

the Meroitic (P = 1.0) or the combined post-Meroitic/ medieval samples (P = 1.0). There was no significant change in cribra orbitalia frequency among males (P = .4169) or females (P = .7178) over time. Cribra orbitalia was quite common among Meroitic subadults aged 3-11 years; only one older subadult was affected. When the post-Meroitic and medieval subadults were combined, all age groups were at risk. There was no significant difference for the presence of cribra orbitalia between the Meroitic or combined post-Meroitic/medieval sample (P = 0.5108). Individuals affected included: Meroitic Males: T.11B-1104; T.29-583; T.31-1076; T.33-633 (Plate 6.20); T.39-1085; T.94-156; T.104-741. Females: T.14-1022, 1027; T.37-1060; T.57-718, 1058; T.62-77; T.94-1067; T.99-1070; T.100-972; T.1041040. Subadults: T.14-1026; T.34-635; T.66-95 (Plate 6.21); T.66-103; T.73-581; T.81-1106; T.89-1064. Post-Meroitic Subadults: T.28-53; T.65-83; T.88-611; T.92-121; T.115-677; T.116-688. Medieval Males: T.90-726. Females: T.128-408; T.132-1013. Subadults: T.13-1112.


Medieval 1-3 4-5 0 1 3 3 0 33.3

6 0 0 0

Total Post-Meroitic/ Medieval 7 20 35.0

CHAPTER 7 DISCUSSION All that remains

articulated remains (predominantly the post-Meroitic/ medieval groups), while the disarticulated contexts were excavated by other team members (Edwards 1998, 7). Owing to time constraints not all shaft fills were sieved, which may account for some loss of hand and foot bones, as well as the anterior teeth.

The excavation and recovery of ancient skeletal remains is influenced by a realm of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors that influence the survivability of the body may include, but are not limited to bone density, age, biological sex and health (Bello and Andrews 2006; Buckberry 2000; Guy et al. 1997; Walker et al. 1988; Willey et al. 1997). The preservation of Gabati males and females was similar, with many female elements more frequently represented contrary to arguments made for the fragility of female bones (discussed in Bello et al. 2006). The subadult bones were somewhat less numerous but mirrored the BRI curves of the adults. While survivorship may be attributable to the small size and thin cortical bone, this is only the case for the Meroitic subadult skulls, where secondary burials and other episodes of disturbance had dislodged many subadult cranial bones exposing them to crushing when overlaid with adult bones. That the subadult bones were reasonably preserved argues against young age as a detriment to bone survival at Gabati. Extrinsic agents, whether ancient, modern, cultural or environmental, acting on intrinsic factors also predispose the body to damage. Here, differential preservation is an artefact of the funerary program and furnishings unique to each group. Clearly, the majority of the Meroitic tombs had seen multiple interments or had otherwise been disturbed, or indeed ‘robbed’. In some instances it was possible to identify episodes of disturbance following the backfill of the grave, but was prior to the successive burials (Edwards 1998, 197). For example, T.32 was described as being a disturbed, semi-articulated burial, contracted, oriented north-south, head to the south, facing west (Edwards 1998, 18); however, the skull itself was not actually in situ, but was removed and the jaw broken during an episode of disturbance. Typically, only the last interred individual was found articulated. During robbing or subsequent interments most bones were susceptible to unintentional crushing or disassociation from the body as skeletal remains were pushed aside—no effort was made to maintain the integrity of the earliest occupants. There was no obvious absence of any major bone or surplus extremities to imply any systematic removal of body parts. Unlike the Meroitic burials the majority of the postMeroitic and medieval burials were single and undisturbed with minimal taphonomic activity. Preservation was exceptional and allowed for the recovery for most elements. The distribution of the recovered bones is comparable to and at times more complete than that of other collections where individuals were interred within containers, for example, Spitalfields (Bello et al. 2006). The salvage excavation at Gabati was restricted by time, with the complete excavation of one grave unit per day essential (Edwards 1998, 5). An experienced physical anthropologist lifted most of the best preserved and

The community structure

Demographers draw on vital statistics registries and census data collected in most developed countries to understand the age and biological sex composition of a population and the social processes involved in shaping it. Drawing on this information, various statistics are used to measure the level of health of the population in order to predict health trends and initiate measures to improve health and survival, particularly among children. In contrast, bioarchaeologists are left with a static census of the dead, representing the accumulation of the deceased at one point in time. From the demographic composition of a group we can make inferences concerning the general health of a group and detect departures from normal or diachronic trends. For example, under normal conditions it is assumed that male and female births are equivalent, but females tend to outlive males (Møller et al. 2009; Teriokhin et al. 2004). If our observation is contrary to this assumption, how would this anomaly be explained? When the age-at-death was considered, the sample from Meroitic Gabati was typical of a growing population as there were few subadult deaths and the majority of the group reached middle adulthood (Figure 7.1). Subadult deaths under 16 years accounted for about 20% of the sample, with more deaths (11.5%) occurring during childhood (3-11 years). A very small portion of society experienced old age. When sexed adults were considered, more Meroitic adult (17-35 years) females than males died before reaching middle adulthood (27% vs. 11%), but 11 10 9

Age cohort

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0









Figure 7.1. Meroitic age-at-death sample distribution.




frequencies were similar for middle and older adults. If we assume that male and female live births were roughly equivalent and that there were no differential burial practices, then boys were at greater risk of dying before reaching adulthood, while more girls reached sexual maturity but not middle age. In contrast, the age-at-death was more evenly distributed among the post-Meroitic/medieval group (Figure 7.2). Approximately 25% of the group died before the

African countries have the highest rates of death in these two vulnerable groups (WHO 2006a; 2006b). Globally, neonatal deaths result from premature and low birth weight (31%), pneumonia/sepsis (25%), birth asphyxia and trauma (23%), other (9%), congenital anomalies (7%), tetanus (3%) and diarrhoea (3%) (UNICEF and WHO 2009). Of these, only skeletal trauma and congenital anomalies are visible on the skeleton. At Gabati, five foetal deaths were recorded from the later periods; three neonatal deaths were observed from the Meroitic period (T.104-1111, T.119-1056 and T.501108), but were so fragmentary that only their presence could be ascertained. Filer (2001) previously detailed the double burials and cautioned that only DNA analysis would confirm that the accompanying adult female in each grave was the infant’s mother. Foetuses/neonates and female adults (with their paloepathological summary) involved included:

11 10 9

Age cohort

8 7 6 5

T.2-1045, 1044 (Post-Meroitic): Young 20-25 year old female with osteoperiostitis of R tibia and partial sacralisation of L5. The foetus was approximately 25 weeks. T.83-1052, 732 (Post-Meroitic): Young 20-25 year old female with OA of R shoulder and lumbarised S1. The estimated age of the foetus was 19 weeks. T.91-1102 (Post-Meroitic): The foetus was estimated to be 35 weeks. T.97-1051, 110 (Medieval): Young 25-30 year old female with healed frontal blunt force trauma, partial lumbarised S1, tarsal coalition, sphenoid porosity, OA at the occipital condyles, draining abscess and osteoperiodontitis. The foetus was approximately 21 weeks. T.132-1055, 1013 (Medieval): Young 20-25 year old female with early Schmorl’s nodes and cribra orbitalia. The estimated age of the foetus was 37-38 weeks.

4 3 2 1 0











Figure 7.2. Post-Meroitic and medieval age-at-death sample distribution.

age of 6 years and another 25% died prior to 16 years of age; only about 18% of the group reached middle age, while elderly adults were unidentified. The frequency of young adult female deaths decreased slightly (22%) and was more comparable to the corresponding male cohort (18%). Here more females survived to middle adulthood, but no one reached old age. Subadults comprised 41%, exactly doubling the frequency of the early group, meaning that the individual had a lower life expectancy at birth. Again, assuming that the distribution of male and female births were equivalent, boys were at a slightly greater risk of an earlier death. It would seem that old age was at least achievable during the Meroitic period, while individuals born during the later periods were more likely to die before reaching maturity, barring mass emigrations out of the area. The high numbers of deaths among older post-Meroitic/medieval subadults is particularly noteworthy. Among both groups, young female adults were particularly vulnerable to an early demise.

No skeletal birth trauma was observed among the five foetuses. As the mother of T.91-1102 was not interred with this infant, she likely survived the death and burial of her infant. It may be that the purported mother from T.2 miscarried or had an exceptionally premature and unsuccessful delivery. Similarly, the placement of the foetus at the feet of the female in T.132 confirms that the neonate was delivered, but may have died quickly or been stillborn (Filer 2001). The position of the foetus below the pelvis from T.97 implies that the infant may not have been expelled from the womb while the mother was still alive. Deaths among females of childbearing age may be explained by their susceptibility to complications during pregnancy and delivery. In modern populations, maternal deaths up to the end of the postpartum period (42nd day after birth) that are recognised as due to direct causes (80%) and are undetectable among skeletal remains include haemorrhage (25%), infection (15%), eclampsia (12%), obstruction (8%) and abortion (13%); 20% of deaths are due to pre-existing or concurrent conditions complicated or aggravated by pregnancy, such as maternal malaria or anaemia (WHO 2006b). Pelvic abnormalities, for example the partially fused sacroiliac of Meroitic female (T.80639) (Plate 7.1), may restrict the mobility of the pelvis during the birth of the infant unless a caesarean section was performed (Ostensen and Ostensen 1998; Wallenius

Foetal, neonatal and maternal deaths

The premature deaths of the foetuses, neonates and young females merit further discussion. Epidemiologists calculate the ‘neonatal mortality rate’ to measure the number of deaths during the first 28 days of life per 1000 live births in any given year as a gauge of maternal and newborn health care. The ‘under-5 mortality rate’ is the probability of a child born in a specific year dying before reaching age five and functions as an barometer of child health and overall development in countries. Neonate and maternal mortality is a growing concern in our own society, where 64

et al. 2011), while pelvic size reduction has been argued as a factor in maternal-neonatal morbidity and mortality at Kulubnarti (Sibley et al. 1992). The four presumed mothers were 20—30 years with no observed skeletal perimortem trauma. Three of the women showed signs of nonspecific infections that may have been complicated by pregnancy or have led to their demise: T.2-1044 had localised periostitis on her tibia. T.97-110 had a draining dental abscess and T.132-1013 exhibited cribra orbitalia signaling an anaemic condition. Complications due to pregnancy may have hastened the mother’s death and that of the unborn infant, but death could also have resulted from soft tissue injury or other acute disease process. Studies have linked teenage and advanced age pregnancy to several congenital malformations that would be visible among skeletalised bodies, such as the musculoskeletal anomalies (cleft palate, polydactyly, clubfoot) and central nervous system (CNS) anomalies (spina bifida, anencephalus, hydrocephalus, microcephalus) (Chen et al. 2007). Other researchers have found that a young maternal age (10-14 years) results in only 40% live births (Menacker et al. 2004). A later maternal age may be a factor that contributed to the paucity of serious congenital anomalies among both groups.

frequency was amplified among a range of thriving agricultural communities where demands for labor and/or increasing technological sophistication necessitated that families become large. They argued that the increased reliance of crops and homestead immobility initiated fertility increases, shorter birth intervals and heavily taxed female reproductive and hormonal systems. This being the case, if intensive agriculture was the subsistence mode at Gabati a deterioration of female dental health and increased child mortality would be expected. However, dental disease was not rampant here and females in fact experienced a decrease in dental caries during the later period. Aside from a substantial increase in dental calculus, frequencies of subadult and adult dental pathologies and by extension, the subsistence strategy, appear relatively stable for nearly 1000 years in this community. Aspects of the Gabati diet may account for the unexpected good dental health. Remnants of leather clothing and coverings are certainly consistent with the presence of livestock and herding. Herds are not maintained solely for meat, but other animal products likely formed a substantial part of the diet, such as milk, curdled milk, yogurt, cheese, blood mixed with milk and meat (Klima 1970; Little 1989). Such diets are associated with a low incidence of dental caries as milk proteins and fats adhere to enamel surfaces to protect against demineralisation, while promoting dental calculus (Aimutis 2004; Shaw, et al. 1959; Stephan 1966), and are consistent with the dental evidience at Gabati. According to written sources beer and bread were established as the staple foods of Egypt early in the Old Kingdom, often serving as currency (Hillson 1979; Samuel 1999). The assumption that grain of emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum) or free-threshing wheat (Triticum durum/aestivuum) was also the grain of choice in Nubia, emulating the Egypt preference, has been shown to be erroneous (Anderson et al. 2007). Archeobotanical analyses from bread molds from the Kushite Amun temple at Dangeil (1st century AD) revealed that sorghum phytoliths were present in bread moulds, grinding stones and ceramics, although it was not possible to distinguish wild from domestic species. The preference for, or availability of sorghum, was investigated by Iacumin et al. (1996) at the wealthy town of Asyut dated to the First Intermediate Period and from two Predynastic/First Intermediate period sites at Gebelein, all located in central Egypt. No significant differences were found in the isotope values to distinguish dietary restrictions for the wealthy or the poor; the diet of all individuals was composed of C3 plants or protein from animals feeding on C3 plants. When compared to the isotope values from Kerma, Nubia’s earliest major polity during the Middle Kingdom, the Early Kerma people consumed more C4 plants (26-50%), while a mixture and seasonal preferences for C3 and C4 (0-20%) plants during the Middle Kerma period was preferred (Iacumin, et al. 1998). White and Schwarcz (1994) observed that consumption of C4 plants at Wadi Halfa was more frequent during the post-Meroitic period (AD 350-550) than the prior Meroitic or later Christian periods. Finally, Thompson et al. (2008) summarised results from nitrogen and carbon isotopic studies for Egyptians and

Subsistence and diet

Dental caries was infrequent among Meroitic individuals and rarer still among the later groups; as dental wear was only slight to moderate it is unlikely that dental caries were obliterated. There was however an increase in the frequency of dental calculus and its severity among the post-Meroitic adults. This might reflect a departure from the adult Meroitic diet or changes in dental hygiene practices. Accumulations of dental calculus remained high among the medieval group. That there was no significant difference in dental calculus between the sexes for either group suggests that dietary intake and hygiene were culturally homogenous for the majority of each individual’s lifetime. At best it can be concluded that the diet of the Gabati subadults was not cariogenic. Abscesses occurred more frequently than caries throughout all periods among individuals. Males and females experienced similar levels of caries, abscesses, calculus and AMTL further emphasising a shared homogenous diet, access to resources and level of dental hygiene. Hillson (2008, 312) reported that an inverse relationship between dental caries and calculus is not unexpected as caries results from enamel demineralisation and calculus result from a mineralising process; however, both processes may co-occur owing to temporal fluctuations in plaque biochemistry over an individual’s lifetime. Differential access to food is the default explanation for dental health disparities between the sexes but, due to physiological differences in growth schedules, biological sex will always influence dental disease in past and present populations (Beiswanger et al. 1989). Building on folk wisdom that ‘for every child a tooth is lost’ (Lukacs 1996, 549), Lukacs and various colleagues (Lukacs 1996; 2008; Lukacs and Thompson 2008) demonstrated that increased fecundity and associated fluctuations in hormonal activity predisposed ancient females to dental caries. Caries 65

Nubians from the Nile Valley’s Predynastic to Christian periods. The dependence (or preference) on C3 foods for Egyptians and C4 foods for Nubians was overwhelming. The dietary dichotomy between northern and southern Nubian (above the 4th Cataract) food preferences is further reinforced by the distribution of caries frequencies among subadults and a selection of similarly recorded Nile Valley sites (Table 7.1). While caries frequency does for the most part increase with time, caries frequency was negligible among groups around the Fifth-Sixth Cataracts. In Northern Nubia, Strouhal (1994) found that the frequency and intensity of dental caries was exceptionally high among Christian subadults at Sayala affecting the deciduous teeth; infants and subadults under 15 years accounted for 53.1% of 160 individuals. In his analysis of the teeth from the Archaeological Survey of Nubia, Jones (1910, 283) observed deciduous caries during the Christian period at Wadi Qamar. Zakrzewski’s (2000) study of 240 individuals (3006 teeth) from Upper and Middle Egypt traced dental health from the broad-spectrum Badarian period to the Early Dynastic period when pastoralism was abandoned and agriculture intensified with advanced irrigation methods. In this combined sample, 14.8% of individuals suffered from caries, possibly due to the low level of sugar in the diet. Abscesses occurred more frequently between 21.2-28% of individuals with the earlier individuals being at greater risk; the exception was the Late Predynastic group with only 10.4% lesions. Beckett and Lovell (1994) observed an increase in caries, periapical abscesses, AMTL and tooth wear between the A- to C-Groups and concluded that the C-Group relied more on carbohydrate rich agriculture. Irish (2007, 68) observed that individuals from Hierakonpolis C-Group, Predynastic Hierakonpolis and Middle Kingdom Thebes, had similar caries incidences nearing 50%. He proposed that a cariogenic food was favored here, possibly dates, local high-starch and -calorie beer, tubers or honey. Fig and date consumption was tied to irrigation innovations, high caries and advanced AMTL at other Middle Eastern sites, notably the Iron Age Samad oasis where the CPR for caries was 35.5% and the TPR was 18.4% (Nelson et al. 1999). Nelson and colleagues (1999) referred to experiments with rats that revealed dates and figs to be highly cariogenic (Stephan 1966). Unlike northern Nubia, legendary for its date production, date palms are not partial to the moister climate of south-central Nubia (Welsby 2002, 185). The availability of dates combined with a reliance on bread and other wheat products, both conducive to caries and perhaps access to Egyptian cuisine, provides a cultural ecological explanation for the dichotomy of caries frequencies between northern and southern Nubia. Though the Dangeil moulds were recovered from a religious context, that sorghum was also the preferred or most accessible resource for the local people at Gabati and other contemporary central and southern Nubian communities is quite likely. Sorghum remains entrenched in Sudanese cuisine today where it is consumed as flat bread, soup, beer, porridge, couscous, weanling food, bread and other baked goods, in addition to serving as a tooth cleaning stick and animal fodder (Anglani 1998; Dicko et al. 2006; Edwards 1996b; El-Bushra et al. 1994;

Rooney and Waniska 2000). Sorghum is known to be an excellent source of vitamins A, B, D, E and K in addition to zinc, phosphorous and iron. Because it promotes vitamin A storage it serves to decrease the individual’s susceptibility to infection especially among children (Aguayo and Baker 2005; Dicko et al. 2006; Schmid et al. 1988). A compelling argument for sorghum as a staple to the Gabati diet, in the absence of isotopic analysis, is the anticariogenic property of sorghum (Schmid et al. 1988). The combination of a diet high in dairy products combined with sorghum may explain the low frequencies of caries and nonspecific stress indicators among the Gabati people. It would be productive for future researchers to investigate the composition of the dental calculus as this mineralising process captures food detritus, notably plant phytoliths and vegetal starches that can aid in identifying products directly consumed (Hardy et al. 2009; Henry et al. 2011). Isotope analyses would be useful to confirm whether C4 crops were dietary inclusions or whether protein was obtained from animal sources, although stable isotopes are currently unable to isolate which part of the animal was actually consumed (milk, blood or meat).

Health and disease

Joint disease did not necessarily increase with age among the Gabati people, which is to be expected among any group owing to the complexities of joint disease aetiology. However, it is noteworthy that osteoarthritis of the hip and sacroiliac joints were more frequent and severe among females, which at least among some females may be linked to the stresses of pregnancy and delivery. The decrease in postcranial and vertebral osteoarthritis among individuals from the later period is most likely a factor of the more youthful demographic profile rather than changes in activity or genetic predisposition. Secular trends owing to social and nutritional changes can be detected from stature fluctuations (Duyar and Ozener 2005; Maat 2005; Steegmann 1985). Because stature is so variably recorded, and genetically and geographically sensitive, it is more feasible to make references about stature from the raw data only, that is the bones themselves where average lengths can be used as a proxy for stature (Buzon 2006b). Intriguingly, the average Meroitic female femoral length was longer than that of the males—445.83mm compared to 438.11mm. Three statuesque females with very long femora were recovered from multiple burial contexts (T.94-1067, T.94-1068, T.120-1037). When these three outliers were removed from the cohort, the average length of the nine Meroitic female femora becomes 434.67cm (Table 7.2). The Gabati males were slightly shorter than their contemporaries excavated by the Scandinavian Joint Expedition (Vagn Nielsen 1970) and from Wadi-Qitna (Strouhal and Jungwirth 1984), while Gabati females tended to be taller (Table 7.2). From the Meroitic to medieval periods, a progressive decrease in female femoral lengths was revealed, while male femoral lengths were more variable (Figure 7.3). The female:male dimorphic ratio is .99, which is still exceptionally high, but nearer the biological norm of .92 (Krogman 1962, 114) and the dimorphic ratio for the comparative groups that ranges from .92-.94 (Table 7.2). 66


Neolithic Pre-Dynastic/Old Kingdom A-Group C-Group C-Group Kerma (Early, Middle) Early Middle Kerma Classic New Kingdom New Kingdom C-Group New Kingdom Meroitic X-Group X-Group Christian Christian Christian Meroitic Post-Meroitic/medieval

R12 Egypt Site 277 Site 179 Hierakonpolis NDRS Kerma Kerma Kerma Shellal Tombos C-Group Pharaonic 6B16 NAX 24I3 6B13 6G8 Soba Gabati Gabati

Cataract proximity 3 Various Egyptian sites 2 2 1 3 3 3 3 1 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 5-6 5-6 5-6 8/91 1/32

5/31 12/36 19/40 7/42 4/42 2/28 60/243 29/86 18/76 44/227 19/70

Adults affected/ observed 11/77

8.8 3.1

14.3 14.8 16.1 33.3 47.5 16.7 9.5 7.1 25 34 24 19 27


15/477 28/355 53/441 19/904 5/936 6/516 103/1891 41/474 53/821 72/2156 35/472 160/1286 226/1950 82/575 66/357 51/289 little 8/619 1/819

Teeth affected/ observed

3.1 7.9 12.0 2.1 0.5 1.2 6 9 6 3 7 12.44 11.58 14.26 18.48 17.64 little 1.3 0.1

TPR Judd (2008a) Zakrzewski (2000) Beckett and Lovell (1994) Beckett and Lovell (1994) Irish (2007) Judd (2001) Kramar (1994) Kramar (1994) Buzon and Bombak (2010) Buzon and Bombak (2010) Buzon and Bombak (2010) Buzon and Bombak (2010) Buzon and Bombak (2010) Armelagos (1968) Armelagos (1968) Armelagos (1968) Armelagos (1968) Armelagos (1968) Filer (1998) This study This study


Meroitic Meroitic X-Group X-Group Post-Meroitic/ Christian

Gabati SJE Wadi Quitna SJE Gabati SJE

Average femoral length, male 438.11 450.9 458.78 445.4 446.0 450.4

Average femoral length, female 434.67** 419.0 424.8 418.0 418.71 414.9

*female/male average femoral length; **three female outliers removed.



Dimorphic ratio* 0.99 0.93 0.93 0.94 0.94 0.92

This study Vagn Nielsen (1970) Strouhal and Jungwirth (1984) Vagn Nielsen (1970) This study Vagn Nielsen (1970)






470 460

Femur length (mm)

450 440 male



420 410 400 390 Gabati M eroitic

SJE M eroitic

SJE XGroup

Wadi Quitna XGroup

Gabati PM M edieval

SJE Christian

S ite

Figure 7.3. Comparison of adult femoral lengths from contemporary sites. This stature differential therefore does not signal preferential access to food or poor nutrition amongst females. Several bioarchaeologists observed that other nonspecific indicators of stress (notably cribra orbitalia, osteoperiostitis and dental enamel hypoplasia) increased during periods of political centralization in Nubia and decreased during periods of local political and economic autonomy (e.g., Armelagos 1968; Buzon 2006b; Mittler and Van Gerven 1994; Van Gerven et al. 1995). This may have been the case at Gabati as well, at least according to the cribra orbitalia and osteoperiostitis analysis, but there really is no consistent pattern among stress indicators between adults and children, or among several geotemporal contexts (Table 7.3) that would permit this generalisation. Cribra orbitalia may be the consequence of vitamin deficiency due to poor nutrition, pregnancy, parasitic infection most notably malaria, underlying pathology,

individual frailty, or any other anaemia inducing agent, all of which are not necessarily mutually exclusive (Angel 1966; Brabin 1997; Buzon 2006b; Henschen 1961; Judd 2004a; Knopp et al. 2010; Møller-Christensen 1953; Wood et al. 1992). Walker and colleagues (2009) argued for a confluence of many factors, such as infectious disease, inadequate nutrition and poor sanitation, as well as maternal health and nursing practices. Additional dietary and cultural factors at Gabati may have compromised the individual. Fairgrieve and Molto (2000) proposed that the early weaning diet or substitute for mother’s milk advocated by Roman/Byzantine physicians was detrimental to infant health at the Dakhleh Oasis (Egypt). This diet of goat’s milk, a poor source of folic acid, and/or a diluted honey slurry, a possible incubator of Clostridium botulinum, predisposed neonates to an anaemic condition and fatal gastrointestinal infections. The analysis of Gabati


Period Neolithic Kerma Ancien/ Moyen

Cataract proximity 3

Cribra orbitalia adults 15 78 19.2

Cribra orbitalia children 1 18 5.6

Judd (2008a)









Judd (2001)


Kerma Classique








Buzon (2006b)

Tombos Kulubnarti (21-S46, Island)

New Kingdom








Buzon (2006b)

Early Christian








Mittler and Van Gerven (1994)

Late Christian








Mittler and Van Gerven (1994)

Meroitic Christian Meroitic Post-Meroitic/ Medieval Medieval

6 6 5-6

17 7 18

22 19 90

77.3 36.8 20.0

6 5 7

9 5 15

66.7 100. 0 46.7








This study








Filer (1998)

Kulubnarti (21R-2, mainland) Geili Geili Gabati Gabati Soba


Coppa and Palmieri (1988) Coppa and Palmieri (1988) This study

leather goods confirmed that goats were indeed present at Gabati as well as cattle (Mould 1998), but the consumption of goat’s milk by infants is not born out by high frequencies of cribra orbitalia and macroscopic evidence. Other aspects of daily traditions, unconnected to bacterial or parasitic infection, may also account for the presence of cribra orbitalia at Gabati and at other middleEastern and Nile Valley sites. Traditional cosmetics such as lead-based kohl are used today and were used in the past by both sexes to beautify and protect the eyes, ward off evil and for medicinal purposes (Al-Ashban et al. 2004; Lucas 1930; Mojdehi and Gurtner 1996; Nunn 1996; Shortland, et al. 2000). Toxins in kohl can be absorbed through the skin and placenta and are known to produce an anaemic condition in modern people, particularly children (Al-Ashban et al. 2004; Mojdehi and Gurtner 1996). During the Meroitic period at Gabati, kohl containers or kohl was found with three multiple burials that included at least one female (T.39, T.62, T.114), one double male burial (T.11B) and one single middle-age Meroitic female (T.126); three of these 12 individuals with frontal orbits suffered cribra orbitalia. During the post-Meroitic period, kohl containers were also recovered from five female interments, the youngest being 15 years old (T.28) and also the only individual of this group with active lesions. In his review of kohl-pots in Nubia, Edwards (1998, 65, 127) reported that they were quite common in Meroitic cemeteries, but all but disappeared during the postMeroitic period. It is therefore worth considering kohl as a contributory factor in the aetiology of this complex disease process. Like trauma and osteoarthritis, the aetiology of cribra orbitalia cannot confidently be assigned to a single origin and at best is described as a nonspecific indicator of stress. That there was no significant change in cribra orbitalia frequency among adults or subadults over time places the Gabati people within a seemingly stable dietary, cultural and physical environment. Nonspecific infections identified by postcranial osteoperiostitis may have resulted from injury, localised ulceration or any force that altered the periosteum or touched it, thus stimulating bone formation (Weston 2008). Few sytematic analyses of osteoperiostitis have been conducted on Nubian remains, but that of Buzon (2006b) shows that the Gabati group suffered much less from this condition (Meroitic-27.5%, post-Meroitic/ medieval-18.8%) than the Third Cataract individuals from earlier periods (Kerma Classic-50%, Tombos New Kingdom-45%). The three individuals (T.24-967, T.391087 and T.61-67) with the grossly disfigured lower leg bones exhibited lesions quite similar to those resulting from chronic venous insufficiency observed in a modern documented case (Pinheiro et al. 2004). Venous ulceration may be manifest by skin discoloration, oedema and chronic ulceration, but bone is irregularly involved; there is no correlation between the degree of bone reaction (if at all) and the skin ulcer (Pinheiro et al. 2004). Many factors such as co-concurrent disease, nutritional status, age and sex stimulate this osseous response (Weston 2008). Both the upper and lower respiratory tracts succumbed to osteoperiostitis as demonstrated by maxillary sinusitis and periosteal rib lesions. Sinusitis occurred in both

groups, but was more common during the Meroitic period when 25% of males and 40% of females were affected; sinusitis affected subadults in both groups equally. The rural milieu of Gabati would have exposed people to bacteria linked with domesticated animals, fungi, pollen, household pests, smoke inhalation from fire, as well as more localised irritants such as dust and sand. However, sinusitis was absent among the earlier rural Neolithic people at R12 (Judd 2008a) and negligible among the Early/Middle Kerma (2nd-1st millennium BC) populations recovered by the NDRS, where only two out of 32 (6.3%) adults exhibited lesions (Judd 2001). Levels of sinusitis at medieval Kulubnarti were 17.7% for male and 14% for female adults (Roberts 2007), higher than the frequency of sinusitis during the later combined periods at Gatabi when 7.7% of males and 5.9% of females were affected. It would seem then that the circumstances, whether physiological, natural or anthropogenic, which predisposed the Gabati people and other Nubian groups to respiratory infections, differed for each group. Only one individual, a medieval female (T.11A-1110), exhibited the rib modifications characteristic of tuberculosis according to Santos and Roberts (2006): mild periosteal reactions on the multiple middle ribs and lytic lesions near the tubercle and rib neck. The rarity of tuberculosis at Gabati may be linked to the presence of bovids and caprines suggested by the presence of sheepskin clothing and funerary coverings (Mould 1998), with the suspected consumption of raw milk and blood conferring a natural immunity against M. tuberculosis by exposure to B. tuberculosis during childhood (Clark et al. 1987). Finally, dental enamel hypoplasia was negligible among the Gabati adults that survived childhood, affecting only three adults (3%); the DEH experienced by the child (T.73-581; 5%) was likely linked to cleft palate. Among archaeological groups, dental enamel hypoplasia is usually attributed to systemic stress (Goodman and Rose 1990) and is indicated here with one individual experiencing recurring stress. The relative absence of DEH at Gabati in contrast to the earlier Kerma group (adults-21.2%, children-50%) (Buzon 2006b) and the later Kulubnarti group where DEH was endemic among the entire group (Van Gerven et al. 1995), implies that episodes of nutritional stress were negligible or very short-lived during the years of dental formation. It is possible that defects were worn away, but the lack of heavy dental wear argues against this. The transition to adult foods from mother’s milk was not a traumatic event and subadults were adequately nourished during the growth years.


Trauma is perhaps the most disabling disease process as its effect is typically acute, with the individual and their acquaintances unprepared for the abrupt temporary or permanent change in lifestyle or restricted activity. Friends, family and coworkers may suddenly have to take on the responsibilities of the injured person thus straining or reinforcing personal relationships. Injury patterns, therefore not only provide insight as to the level of violence experienced by community members and risk of accident 69

due to daily activity or misadventure, but also how the disabled were treated, provisioned and cured. Based on the injury pattern at Gabati, approximately one third of the population sampled suffered from an acute injury at one or more times during their life. In most cases the injuries did not physically impair anyone to the extent that they might be incapacitated. During the post-Meroitic and medieval periods the frequency of subadult deaths nearly doubled, although one quarter of these deaths were foetal. That being said, the increased subadult mortality of the later group infers that subadults were more susceptible to disease and/or injury. Invariably, high child mortality among ancient groups is attributed to infantile diarrhea caused by an array gastrointestinal tract infections and pneumonia that plague developing societies today (UNICEF and WHO 2006; 2009; WHO 2006a). While this may have been the case at Gabati, childhood death due to injury has in the past and always will figure prominently, due to the many hazards of living in a more traditional community, such as drowning, proximity to animals, chores and open cooking flames (Blum et al. 2009; Bradley 1984; Rieman et al. 2008; Wilk 1993). The ultimate mechanism of skeletal injury, that is whether or not the injury was accidental or intentional, is nearly impossible to determine without a witness or an account from the victim (Judd and Redfern 2012, 365). A further issue with trauma analysis is whether or not multiple injuries occurred simultaneously or at different times. It is argued by some that the number of injuries increases with age due to years at risk and that older people are at greater risk of injury due to deteriorating bone mass and perhaps vision, reduced reaction time to prevent a fall and other physiological changes associated with senescence (Buhr and Cooke 1959; Lovejoy and Heiple 1981). Others argue that some cases of multiple injuries denote high risk lifestyle or occupation foreshadowing an early demise (Judd 2002a), as clinical research reports that each injury event increases the individual’s chance of an earlier death, especially if violence-related (Brooke et al. 2006; Teplin et al. 2005). At Gabati there were more occurrences of multiple injuries among older adults and males as per the clinical model (Judd 2004b). In most cases one single major bone was fractured with additional injuries due to one or more extremity injuries or myositis ossificans traumatica. If the injuries occurred during separate events and were not perimortem, the sequence of injury could not be determined. The skeletal data indicates that the Gabati people were not uncharacteristically clumsy or prone to repetitive aggression.

or self-injury, for example, falling onto a sharp projecting object such as a wooden spike or metal tool, or cutting oneself with a kitchen knife (Moshiro et al. 2005; Sugiyama 2004). At Gabati, a healed slash occurred on the posterior talus of one Meroitic female (T.94-158) (Plate 7.2) that may be due to any number of causes. In this case, the severe osteoarthritis associated with the ankle and foot joints denotes that locomotion, though likely painful, was possible and the women survived for some time following the injury. Similarly, cranial blunt force trauma need not be the result of harmful intent, but could occur when hit on the head by a falling object, a fall from a height, or during occupational activities (Mulford et al. 2001; Salonen et al. 2008; Towner and Towner 2008). However, when there is a cluster of violence-linked injuries in association with numerous minor injuries (extremities, ribs, muscle pulls) a more convincing argument may be made for at least one nonlethal confrontation in the form of an assault or perhaps contact sport (Hershkovitz et al. 1996; Judd 2002a). When injury suites were considered, the following individuals may have been involved with one or more confrontations: Meroitic males: T.11B-1104, T.39-1083, T.94-156. Meroitic females: T.39-1087, T.55-1018, T.94-1067, T.127-1053. Post-Meroitic males: T.103-979. Post-Meroitic females: T.2-1044, T.40-921. Post-Meroitic subadults: T.58-577, T.121-675. Medieval males: T.35-559, T.70-859, T.90-726. The puncture injuries are typically small 3-12mm, although T.11B-1104 shows a 23mm perimortem circular void on the posterior skull (Plate 7.3). A 3.4mm puncture on the frontal bone of T.55-1018 was perimortem; the visible deposits of new bone are consistent with an injury that likely occurred a few weeks prior to the individual’s death. Similarly two perforations not penetrating the inner bone of a post-Meroitic female (T.40-921) exhibited active healing, as did the 3.52mm diameter puncture to the skull of two post-Meroitic subadults, T.58-577 (Plate 7.4) and T.121-675. Blunt force cranial injuries were well-healed and in many cases appeared only as a depression with minimal upheaval on the ectocranial surface. Imprints of the shapes of the injuries varied from circular to linear (e.g., T.90-727 exhibited a healed 25.9 x 7.51mm linear lesion on the frontal bone). The mandibular condylar injuries of two individuals, medieval male T.70-859 and post-Meroitic female T.21044, may be the outcome of violence, although accident is equally plausible. The injury cluster born by an older medieval male (T.90-726) is consistent with injuries received during a single violent encounter: a healed blunt force injury occurred on the frontal bone and left orbit, and the metacarpals of the left hand were broken from being twisted (Plate 7.5). It is of interest that the left MC5 was a Boxer’s fracture, where the metacarpal head fractures towards the palm of the hand, which is uncharacteristic among professional boxers but common in fistfights and is a clinical signature for recurring trauma (Greer and Williams 1999). The single ulna parry fracture (Plate 7.6) occurred with seven seemingly minor hand fractures to

Intentional injury

Injuries often linked with interpersonal violence and/or warfare in an archaeological analysis include cranial blunt force trauma, sharp force trauma, puncture, embedded objects and ulna parry fractures (Anderson 1996; Courville and Kade 1964; Judd 2008b; Jurmain 2001; Lovell 2008; Paine et al. 2007; Smith 1996; Tung 2007; Walker 1989; 1997). However, it is important to acknowledge that accidents, particularly in sports or play, may also produce many of these injuries. Sharp force trauma may result from accident, unsuccessful surgery, misadventure 70

the other older Meroitic male (T.39-1083). The parry (or nightstick) fracture results when the forearm is raised in front of the face to protect the head from an incoming blow (Judd 2008b). This shifting of the arm’s position (pronation) repositions the ulna so that it receives the fullest impact resulting in a fracture. However, the same type of injury could occur if the ulna came into contact with a hard narrow surface during a fall. Skeletal evidence for interpersonal violence was infrequent at Gabati, but the absence of soft tissue precludes us from stating that it was nonexistent as the majority of injuries sustained during episodes of interpersonal violence do not affect the bone (Judd and Redfern 2012, 365). There were no indications for a greater incidence of violent injuries in the post-Meroitic period in what was potentially a more politically unsettled period (Edwards 2004, 210). Only two post-Meroitic males were interred with weapons (T.72-940 with five arrowheads and T.1-9 with a blade). Although both experienced radial head fractures, no additional injuries suggestive of violencerelated sharp force trauma were observed.

callus nor were arthritic lesions present on the recovered wrist bones. While these latter two individuals were by no means elderly in the modern sense, the pattern of the forearm injury and deficient healing due to reduced bone remodeling are injuries associated with advanced age (Buhr and Cooke 1959; Knowelden et al. 1964; Mays 2000). The post-Meroitic male from T.67, also sustained three rib fractures (Plate 7.9), seven vertebral fractures and two foot fractures. Myositis ossificans traumatica resulting from a single event not powerful enough to fracture the bone was nearly as common as fractures among the major bones. The humerus was frequently affected, but individuals continued to perform tasks despite the injury. For example, the right humeral head of an older post-Meroitic female (T.27-50) exhibited bony projections on the lateral aspect of the humeral head as well as eburnation, a sign that activity was resumed (Plate 7.10). A similar injury occurred on the left humerus of a Meroitic female (T.74-875) and the right humerus of a Meroitic male (T.24-32) with moderate osteoarthritis accompanying the lesion. Although congenital in aetiology, the slipped capital femoral epiphyses of the medieval female (T.128-408; Plate 4.2) likely resulted in abnormal hip movement during locomotion. Clinically, it presents in preadolescence with an out-toe gait and limited hip rotation (Gholve, et al. 2009). Heavy arthritis at the hip joint confirms that the condition was stable and that the individual was able to bear weight with neither the knees nor lower extremities bearing visible joint stress. It is doubtful that the individual suffered from any severe impairment while mobile as no other injuries, particularly those suggestive of falls, were observed.

Accidental injury

Injuries characteristic of low-level falls include Smith’s, Colles’, radial head, midshaft radius and ulna, ulna head and/or styloid and clavicle fractures (Helling et al. 1999; Judd 2008b; Loder and Mayhew 1988; Mays 2006b; O’Neill et al. 1996). However, these injuries cannot be excluded from a violent event as they may have been precipitated while attempting to break a fall with an outstretched hand after being pushed or from a loss of balance during an altercation (Flavin et al. 2006). These types of injuries were present among all age groups and both sexes, but no single injury occurred frequently thus individualising the range of fall-related outcomes for the following individuals:

Repetitive stress injuries

The origins of the microtrauma discussed here (Schmorl’s nodes, osteochondritis dissecans and spondylolysis) are unresolved by clinicians and have been disputed since their earliest discovery. Most researchers argue for traumatic origins with other factors influencing their appearance (Battie and Videman 2006; Battie et al. 2008; Bohndorf 1998; Faccia and Williams 2008), however twin studies provide a counterpoint when excessive activity is uninvolved (Kenniston et al. 2008). While it is futile to engage in this debate here the fact that a lesion was present and may have caused pain or debilitation allows for an understanding of how individuals responded to pain and disability. There was no correlation between any forms of microtrauma with biological sex, which negates an association with sex-linked behaviour that would predispose one sex to these lesions. No matter what their underlying cause, Schmorl’s nodes are produced when the vertebral disc herniates. One would suspect that nodes would increase with age, but this is not the case as Schmorl’s nodes have been observed among subadults as well as the elderly (Hamanishi et al. 1994; Pfirrmann and Resnick 2001). It is also deliberated whether or not the lesions produce discomfort or pain, or if individuals are even aware of their presence. Industrial studies exposed conflicting results for the relationship between Schmorl’s nodes and heavy

Meroitic: two older males (T.68-118 and T.75-638), a young female (T.120-1037) and an older female (T.127-1053). Post-Meroitic: two young males (T.59-1059 and T.72B-940); an older male (T.67-100); a young female (T.112-402). Medieval: a young male (T.1-9). The spiral fracture on the right radial midshaft of an older Meroitic male (T.68-118) healed while pronated so that the individual was capable of activities in that position, but would have difficulty supinating the forearm so that the palm of the hand faced upward (Plate 7.7). The Smith’s fracture, often resulting from a fall on the back of the hand, of the other older Meroitic male (T.75-638) was not significantly displaced, although slight osteoarthritis may have impeded the movement of the wrist, but not the fingers. In contrast, the impaction of the distal right forearm of an older post-Meroitic male (T.67-100) was poorly healed with heavy arthritic lesions that probably affected the finger dexterity (Plate 7.8); the muscle pulls on the left scapula may have also occurred during the event. A nearly identical injury occurred on the left distal radius of an older Meroitic female (T.127-1053). It was poorly healed having occurred near the time of death as the fracture edges were not completely bridged by a 71

labour. For example, Herschensohn (1960) assessed the utility of vertebral x-rays to establish the suitability of individuals for employment in heavy industry in order to avoid compensation claims. In earlier industrial claims case studies, he observed that the prevalence of Schmorl’s nodes ranged from 2-24%, but that some labourers were unaware that they had Schmorl’s nodes and experienced no pain whatsoever. More recently, Faccia and Williams (2008) coupled Schmorl’s nodes with pain, in order to infer the quality of life among ancient people who exhibited the lesions. They concluded that only centrally located Schmorl’s nodes were correlated with pain and that the coexistence of osteophytes and Schmorl’s nodes increased pain to the level that a physician was consulted. This recording refinement allows for a more nuanced interpretation of a past individual’s quality of life, although whether or not the individual did experience pain is moot. Among the Gabati adults, 24.5% had one or more Schmorl’s nodes. Of these 29 individuals, 24 had vertebral osteoarthritis or osteophytes on the rib heads to varying degrees. Schmorl’s nodes did not increase with age as some younger adults had multiple nodes, for example, a Meroitic teenaged male (T.104-741) bore six Schmorl’s nodes, while older adults such as T.61-67 had only one node. The severity of spinal osteoarthritis did not increase with the number of Schmorl’s nodes. One young female (T.112-402) had one node only but moderate spinal osteophytes, while the Meroitic teenager mentioned above had no vertebral osteophytes at all. Only two individuals (T.99-415 and T.29-583) had spondylolysis at L5 as well as one and three Schmorl’s nodes respectively; spinal joint disease was mild in both cases. It is important to note that not all vertebrae were present and the frequency of Schmorl’s nodes is quite likely understated. Spondylolysis has also been linked with heavy manual labour rather than genetic origins, particularly in palaeopathological research (Mays 2006a; Merbs 1989; 2002) The underlying argument against the genetic origin is that the defect is not observed until subadults are five years of age, with the most dramatic slippage and number of complaints occurring in late childhood and early adolescence, the time when children become increasingly involved in sports or more active play (Mays 2007b; Motley et al. 1998; Wimberly and Lauerman 2002). Mounting evidence from sports medicine identifies physical activities requiring repetitive or jarring movements of hyperextension, such as contact sports and gymnastics, with the separation of the pars interarticularlis (Jackson, et al. 1976; Mays 2007b; Motley et al. 1998; Wimberly and Lauerman 2002). Spondylolysis more commonly affects the lumbar vertebrae, with the fifth element most often involved (Motley et al. 1998). This distribution pattern was maintained at Gabati where the frequency of L5 involvement was 6.2%, while L4 was affected in 3.6% of individuals. Spondylolysis was more common among the Meroitic group affecting 6 of 82 individuals and occurred twice among the 32 members of the later group. That spondylolysis affected one individual only in the multiple Meroitic burials strengthens the case for a traumatic rather than genetic origin among a select group of people, although few of those affected presented ex-

tensive injuries or other postcranial skeletal modifications characteristic of heavy labour (Individuals T.29-583 and T.67-100 being exceptions). Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) resulting from a small detached bone fragment from the joint surface, involved nearly all major joint surfaces with no real predilection for one specific joint surface, although the glenoid fossa was more commonly injured in contrast to modern clinical patterns. Given the ambiguity in the definition of OCD as well as the aetiology, these lesions are perhaps best interpreted with other injuries and disease processes. Most cases have been linked with repetitive trauma that produces the classic symptoms of joint catching, swelling, locking and the sensation of a small object within the joint (Berndt and Harty 1959; Schenck Jr and Goodnight 1996). However, single traumatic events such as spraining an ankle or falling onto a joint may also initiate this outwardly trivial, but debilitating injury (Berndt and Harty 1959; Bohndorf 1996). Like Schmorl’s nodes it is worthwhile to consider the entire joint complex to determine the presence of a concomitant injury or to assess complications that resulted from the lesions and their effect on the individual’s health. Of the 24 bones that had adjacent joint surfaces available, 14 or 58% also exhibited moderate to heavy osteoarthritis that may have restricted movement or caused discomfort. A long bone or extremity injury occurred among 71% of individuals with OCD, which may point towards a fall as a precipitating event of this minor, but painful injury. Some of the trauma observed may have been the result of medical intervention or intentional trauma. For example, the right humeral head and scapular glenoid fossa of a post-Meroitic male (T.59-754) shows a sharp truncation of both joint surfaces that occurred simultaneously or sequentially (Plates 7.11 and 7.12). The wedge that removed the anterior glenoid fossa and posterior humeral head are consistent with the arm being extended in front of or across the body for a sharp force injury to have occurred.

Injury at Gabati and other sites

Surprisingly, few systematic analyses of trauma or other activity-related skeletal modifications, such as osteoarthritis or bone robusticity, are available for comparison in contrast to data available for dental disease in the Nile Valley. Nevertheless, Table 7.4 summarises injury frequencies from the following sites: R12 (Judd 2008a), North Dongola Reach Survey (NDRS) (Judd 2001), Kerma (Judd 2004b), Tombos (Buzon and Richman 2007), Semna South (Alvrus 1999), Soba (Filer 1998), Kulubnarti (Kilgore et al. 1997) and Faras (DzierżykrayRogalski 1985). Due to the diversity of research questions, not all trauma data was collected or recorded in the same manner by each researcher and therefore only fractures are considered, not myositis ossificans traumatica or microtrauma. Antemortem injury was more common during the Kerma periods with interpersonal violence suggested due to the overwhelming number of cranial injuries and parry fractures coupled with extremity and rib injuries (Judd 2002a). Ulna fractures predominated over other 72

6.0 9.4 67 32 4 3 15.6 18.8 12.5 90 32 56 14 6 7 74 32 114 11 6 11

14.9 18.8 9.6

% 2.0 10.9 5.8 N 51 55 223 N 81 55 223

n 8 8 21 1 62 8 8 1 0 2

N 81 36 187 72 347 98 31 132 42 10

% 9.9 22.2 11.2 1.4 17.9 8.2 25.8 0.8 0 20

n 8 27 40 2 41 10 11 48 0 3

N 111 55 223 17 480 99 32 146 42 9

% 7.2 49.1 17.9 11.8 8.5 10.1 34.4 32.9 0 33.3

n 4 25 23

% 4.9 45.5 10.3

n 8 26 13

N 80 55 223

% 10.0 47.3 5.8

n 1 6 13

Ribs Feet Hands Long bones Cranium


Growing up at Gabati during the time that spanned the Meroitic to medieval periods seems to have been a relatively stable experience when compared to earlier or later periods in Nubia, and certainly much less stressful than life in the more northerly parts of Nubia. The skeletal evidence is consistent with diets rich in dairy, meat and perhaps sorghum products such as, beer and porridge, but probably lacking cariogenic foods such as dates and breads savoured by their Egyptian and northern Nubian neighbors. Subadults likely consumed the same local diet favored by their parents and experienced little stress during the weaning transition than their northern counterparts. Daily life and activities practiced by the Gabati people did not place them at a great risk of disabling injury or poor health, although health improved somewhat during the later period according to the skeletal evidence.

3 3 3 3 2 5-6 5-6 2 6 2 Neolithic Kerma Ancien/Moyen Kerma Classique New Kingdom Meroitic/Post-Meroitic/Medieval Meroitic Post-Meroitic/Medieval Medieval Medieval Medieval R12 (Judd 2008a) NDRS (Judd 2001) Kerma (Buzon and Richman 2007) Tombos (Buzon and Richman 2007) Semna South (Alvrus 1999) Gabati (This study) Gabati (This study) Kulubnarti (Kilgore et al. 1997) Soba (Filer 1998) Faras (Dzierżykray Rogalski 1985)

Cataract proximity Period Site (study)


long bone injuries at most sites: NDRS (13.8%), Kerma (8.3%), Tombos (7.9%), Kulubnarti (13.1%), Semna South (4.3%). However, they were absent at R12 and shared top position with the radius (20%) at Faras. At these sites, further analyses revealed that a large portion of these injuries were consistent with the parry signature (Judd 2008b), a signal, but certainly not confirmation of interpersonal violence. Aside from Soba, long bone injury frequencies during the Meroitic to Medieval periods were similar for most groups, but the forearm injuries at Semna South and Kulubnarti in the Batn el Hajar region were attributed to treacherous rocky terrain and cataracts that invited falls on land or along the shoreline (Alvrus 1999; Kilgore et al. 1997). Curiously, injuries to the hands and feet, also characteristic of falls, were less frequent at Kulubnarti than at sites located on more level ground. Dzierżykray Rogalski’s (1985) analysis of the Faras bishops offered a rare glimpse of a geriatric group of known individuals. It is hardly unexpected that given their ecclesiastical profession that they suffered from few injuries aside from one clavicular and two Colles’ fractures, all consistent with injuries due to falls, particularly amongst the elderly. The fracture pattern among those interred at Gabati is inconsistent with injuries received during physical confrontations amongst the residents or collective violence such as raids, even though frequencies of injury were somewhat higher at Gabati in contrast to injury frequencies at other geotemporally diverse Nubian sites. The pattern is not atypical and cannot be explained by unusual activities or occupations practiced by the community as a whole.



CHAPTER 8 GABATI REVISITED David Edwards and Margaret Judd


cemeteries such as those recently discovered near Dangeil (Anderson and Ahmed 2011) and Berber (Bashir 2010) suffered heavy surface damage. Further north, Meroitic graves with superstructures, including possible pyramids, were recently found at Kawa (Welsby 2011).

The brief discussion chapter included in the first volume of the Gabati excavations (Edwards 1998), highlighted several interesting conclusions and drew attention to some wider interpretative issues raised by the results. In the light of the more complete data presented in this volume, it is useful to revisit some of that material and take the opportunity to address some further points, not least those raised by the findings of the more recent research undertaken in parts of central and northern Sudan since 1998.

Grave substructures Two different forms of grave substructure can be distinguished within the cemetery, with east-west shafts/ramps leading to either (i) rectangular axial east-west chambers, or (ii) oval transverse chambers aligned north-south. In all cases the tomb chambers were situated at the west end of the shaft. Graves with the north-south transverse chambers were the norm and only three graves (T.11B, T.68 and T.95) had the east-west axial chambers; all three had superstructures. The 60 graves with transverse chambers were relatively uniform, entered from sloping access shafts ranging in length from 2.1m to 5.5m. Generally, at the base of the shafts there was a near vertical step (c. 400-600mm) down into the chamber. The chambers varied in length with the smallest being 1m long and the largest 2.6m long; the unusually small graves (T.66, T.69, T.73 and T.119) held subadults. The grave chambers had been sealed with blockings of stone slabs or, in a small number of cases, mud brick. Among those with the north-south transverse chambers, blocking elements survived in 46 cases. Most commonly (identifiable in 42 graves) the blockings took the form of a row of roughly worked sandstone slabs propped against the west end of the shaft over the chamber entrance. Where found in situ, these were tightly wedged in place, with smaller stones used to plug any gaps between the slabs. Intact examples of this form of blocking were found in graves of subadults T.66 and T.69. In situ remnants of mud-brick blocks were found in only three of the transverse chamber graves (T.72, T.93 and T.100); in two other cases (T.19 and T.39) deposits of brick rubble found in their robbing fills may have come from displaced blocking walls. The surviving mortared mud-brick walls were built up from the base of the chamber. In the case of T.72, displaced stone slabs were found in the upper robbing fill, suggesting that two separate blockings may have been constructed (related to the first two burials) prior to a later, perhaps post-Meroitic reuse (designated T.72B). Of the three graves with axial chambers, no traces of the original blocking survived in T.95. In T.11B, the main blocking consisted of a crude wall of mud bricks, laid as ‘headers’ and bonded with a mud mortar; however there were traces of a possibly earlier blocking using both stones and brick, which would be consistent with the presence of two (sequential) burials. Interpreting the use history of

Meroitic Gabati

A total of 74 Meroitic graves were located, of which 64 were excavated. While in most cases, this identification was secure, the date of some of the unexcavated examples and that of some of the subadult graves and the fragmentary remains in the shaft fills (e.g., in T.50 and T.119) remained uncertain. The skeletal analysis presented here identified a number of additional burials, though fragmentary, raising the overall total of interred individuals to approximately 142. That this represented a significant sample of the overall cemetery seems likely, although the full extent of the cemetery was never adequately determined. The site may have contained about 120 graves, but this should perhaps be regarded as no more than a minimum figure. Nonetheless this remains one of the largest groups of Meroitic graves excavated in the Meroitic heartlands, outside Meroe. In this context, a few general points concerning some of the key features of the cemetery should be reiterated. Grave superstructures With the exception of four tombs, no traces of any built superstructures were found covering the Meroitic graves. However, it is likely that despite the lack of formal superstructures, most graves would originally have been marked on the surface by a low mound of redeposited gravel increasing their visibility within the cemetery area for a significant period of time spanning decades and perhaps generations. In view of the close proximity and linear arrangement of many of the burials, it seems unlikely that tumuli were constructed over these burials, as may be the case in Meroitic-period burials in some rural areas (e.g., Lenoble 1987). The presence of mud-brick superstructures over four graves (T.11B, T.36, T.68 and T.95) differentiated them from the other Gabati burials. These were likely relatively low mastaba-like structures, with the mud-brick facings supporting a core of stones or sand and gravel. While common in Meroitic cemeteries in Lower and Middle Nubia, such superstructures are rarely encountered in cemeteries within the Meroitic heartlands outside the main urban centres, although issues of preservation must also be borne in mind. For example, 75

of c. 124 individuals being present and allows for a much fuller appreciation of the degree of preservation (and/or recovery) of individual skeletons. Twenty-five (39%) of the 64 graves contained single burials, 18 (28%) double burials and 20 (29%) multiple burials containing between three and six burials (the original burial in one grave – T.64 – remained uncertain). There can be little doubt that such multiple/collective burials reflect the practice of re-opening graves for their reuse, with the insertion of additional burials. This appears common practice within the Meroitic period, and is widely encountered in northern Meroitic cemeteries in Lower and Middle Nubia (Edwards 1996a: Appendix 2; Lefebvre 2007; Rilly and Francigny 2011). It is evident that providing an exact and definitive total of individuals interred is unlikely to be attainable, as we acquire a better understanding of grave use, reuse and robbing, and the associated disturbance and intermixing of the remains that resulted. In a number of cases, small quantities of bones were found in the shaft fills which, while likely to be associated with the more or less fragmentary burials in the grave chambers, could not be conclusively demonstrated as there was the possibility of occasional bones being introduced from surface material exposed by previous episodes of grave reuse and other disturbance. An excellent study of the Meroitic communal burial at a cemetery on Sai Island utilised methods of l’anthropologie de terrain in the recording and stratigraphic analysis of skeletal remains found within a single grave (Lefebvre 2007). The study draws special attention to the taphonomic processes through which fragments of probably 13 burials were recovered from a single grave, of which perhaps only six may represent the original interments; other body fragments were introduced during several episodes of reopening, reuse, and other disturbances. That similar processes were at work at Gabati seems likely. This might be the case in grave T.77, for example, which was apparently not completed, but where some fragmentary elements (5.6%) of an adult burial were recovered from the shaft fill. That the series of burials within single graves represent some form of ‘familial’ groups is not an unlikely assumption (see Lefebvre 2007, 254). Further bioanthropological studies may be able to shed light on the associations among those who came to share a grave. It should be noted that the use of multiple/collective burial is common to both major Meroitic burial configurations, whether the dorsally extended position, common in what may be perceived as elite contexts in the Meroitic heartlands and throughout northern Nubia, or the contracted burial position, predominant at Gabati. With the limited artefactual material recovered from most of the multiple burials there are as yet few indications of the time period over which the series of interments in one grave may have occurred. That they might in some cases relate to several generations (potentially spanning a century of more) is certainly possible, as was suggested in the study at Sai (Lefebvre 2007, 262). This obviously has interesting implications for attempts to reconstruct the chronology of the cemetery development, in that some graves may have been used and reused

T.68, found with an intact mud-brick blocking, was more problematic. The most satisfactory interpretation of the various phases of use, robbing and re-use of the grave suggests that this was the original mud-brick blocking wall that survived intact until exposed and cut through during the medieval period (during the excavation of a medieval grave T.97). It was not evident that the tomb entrance had been robbed previously from the shaft-end; in particular, no sand-filled robbing pit was found in this area. However, a radiocarbon date acquired on temper from the bricks gave a date of 1035±40BP. An early 11th century AD date suggests that the blocking is associated with a medieval reuse of the tomb. Burial position As was made clear in Volume I, the Gabati excavations were valuable in providing a new perspective on the variability of Meroitic burial forms in the Meroitic heartlands. The posture or layout of the burials was markedly uniform, correlating to the two forms of burial chamber in use. The very heavy disturbance of the three graves with east-west axial chambers left little information concerning the layout of the bodies. Some in situ long bones preserved in T.11B confirmed that at least one body was laid out in a dorsally extended posture, head to the west. In T.68 and T.95 this was also suggested by the shape of the chambers. With these few exceptions, nearly all other burials appeared to have been contracted, oriented approximately north-south. Of the 37 burials where sufficient bones remained in situ to show the basic layout of the body, 32 (86%) were laid with their heads to the south. Of the 22 whose position could definitely be determined, 19 (86%) were laid on their left sides facing west, (i.e., away from the tomb entrance), while only three were facing east. Several others were likely laid facing west but some doubt must remain in these cases. The Gabati excavations were important for confirming the coexistence of two forms of Meroitic burial in this ‘rural’ context even close to Meroe itself. That both must be regarded as ‘Meroitic’ is very clear and future research must be more ready to accept variability within Meroitic mortuary practices, rather than continuing to attempt to establish ‘authentic’ normative forms of Meroitic burial practice. More recent fieldwork in the Meroitic heartlands confirms that the north-south contracted burial position predominant at Gabati was widespread. Additional examples have recently been recorded at Berber (Bashir 2010) and Dangeil (Anderson and Ahmed 2011, 85), as well as at Shuhada and Misiktab near Shendi (Faroug et al. 2009). Further afield, however, even more heterogeneous practices have been encountered. Recent work at the Fourth Cataract demonstrated the presence of quite varied forms of ‘Meroitic’ burial in that region (El-Tayeb and Kołosowska 2007). Extended burials predominated, but with a diverse range of grave substructures, generally quite different from what was encountered in the ShendiBerber region. Multiple burials, reuse and robbing The skeletal analysis reveals a total of c. 142 individuals interred, a substantial increase from the original estimate 76

over extended periods, while potentially datable artefacts may represent only parts of that usage, most probably relating to the last use of a grave. Such repeated use also raises interesting questions concerning the stability and longevity of the populations using these cemeteries, if the common reuse of the graves was indeed related to close social (familial?) bonds. It also presupposes a degree of stability in the lived-environment, not only to allow the continued use of a single cemetery by successive generations, but also sufficient to maintain a good knowledge of the cemetery and specific grave-locations. In addition to the possibility of several episodes of grave reuse, further disturbance and ‘robbing’ of the Meroitic graves appears to have been systematic and comprehensive, although care needs to be used in our representations of these ‘robbing’ processes (Aspock 2011). There was little evidence for random diggings across the site in search of graves and the accuracy with which robbing pits were located over the chamber entrances suggest a familiarity with their layout and an ability to identify the location of the grave chambers with some confidence. As was suggested above, the location of most graves would have been marked by low mounds/spreads of distinctive white gravel. Locating graves and excavating their west ends would thus have posed few problems for ‘tomb robbers’ so long as these mounds were exposed. However, over the long-term with their gradual erosion and masking by aeolian or rain-wash deposits their identification would have become increasingly difficult without extensive surface clearance (as was found during the archaeological excavation). While the speed at which these mounds disappeared remains difficult to determine, it was clear in several instances where post-Meroitic tumuli sealed Meroitic graves that at the time of their construction no surface indications of the earlier burials remained. While dating the ‘robbing’ episodes in some graves is often problematic, a range of evidence suggests that most graves were disturbed/robbed during the Meroitic period. Meroitic sherds used as digging implements were discovered in a number of fills (e.g., in T.127, T.41 and around T.43). The most easily recognisable of these were large wall sherds typical of tall cylindrical jars (Rose 1998, fig. 6.18) similar to those commonly found in late contexts at, for example, el-Kadada (Lenoble 1994) and Meroe (Dunham 1963, fig. L.8, K.5). Diagnostic post-Meroitic sherd material was not found in the robbing fills of any of the Meroitic graves, although such sherds were quite commonly incorporated in the shaft fills and tumuli of the post-Meroitic graves. In some cases, stratigraphic relationships demonstrated that the construction of postMeroitic graves post-dated the robbing of the Meroitic graves (Edwards 1998, 197). Only a small number of Meroitic graves survived this systematic robbing, most of these to be disturbed later when accidentally cut by either post-Meroitic or medieval graves. That such disturbances may have occurred during the use-life of the tombs–between burial episodes—may also be proposed on the basis of stratigraphic evidence. This is most evident where there were significant accumulations of fill materials within grave chambers on which

new burials were deposited rather than the new burials having been inserted into intact closed burial chambers. Grave artefacts Despite the almost ubiquitous reuse as well as robbing of graves, pottery relating to at least one of the original burials was recovered from 39 (60.9%) of the graves. It is also likely that at least some of the more fragmentary and poorly-contexted pottery also originated in the graves where it was recovered, especially where a series of burials was present. That some sherds found within graves (as with bones) may be intrusive cannot be ruled out. As was noted in Volume I, an impressionistic assessment suggested that the quantity of pottery recovered increased with the number of grave occupants. However, with our growing recognition of the impacts of both repeated use of graves, as well as ‘robbing’, it remains difficult to pursue further analyses based on the evidently very incomplete data which has survived. Lefebvre’s (2007) case-study on Sai Island certainly indicates that where multiple interments were found within single graves, little material relating to the first burials was recovered. Bearing this in mind, what remains far from clear is the extent to which during the reuse of graves and the insertion of new burials, artefacts associated with the original burials were removed, and why? That pottery from a grave might be perceived as having a value meriting its extraction and reuse should perhaps not be assumed. The sparsity of Meroitic sherds found on the surface of the site and in the shaft fills also implies that if removed from graves during their reuse, little pottery was being discarded on the cemetery surface (another possible outcome). Further investigation of the significance of variation into the abundance of the pottery is problematic due to the clear, but poorly understood differences in grave assemblages encountered across the site. The most obvious difference was the relative absence of bowls/cups in favour of jars in many graves, especially on the east side of the site, T.11B being the most obvious case. One factor in such differences may be chronological, with relatively late ledge-rimmed bowls being particularly common. From a general review of the evidence for this region (e.g., Dunham 1963; Lenoble 1994; Bashir 2010), there are some suggestions that pottery becomes increasingly abundant in the later Meroitic graves. That this could relate to changes in mortuary practices is possible, but changing material conditions amongst the inhabitants of the Gabati area could equally be responsible, not least in relation to changes in the production and availability of certain types of pottery. The absence of large late Meroitic cylindrical jars at Gabati (except where found as digging sherds – see above), which are abundant at el-Kadada (Lenoble 1994) and indeed Meroe, may be a case in point. Bearing this in mind, whether basic norms of burial equipment existed remains an increasingly problematic issue. The results of earlier cemetery excavations, largely within Lower Nubia, suggested that a minimum burial equipment of a jar and a cup/bowl might be expected (Edwards 1996a, 41-2). However, it is far from clear whether this was ever a standard practice at Gabati. That pottery survived in only 39 (60.9%) of the graves, may be 77

compared with its occurrence in 73% of graves in a Lower Nubian cemetery at Abu Simbel North (Cemetery 214) (Näser 1995, 45). This represents at least 98 vessels for a minimum of 142 burials, to which may be added a probably not insignificant number of displaced, fragmentary or otherwise poorly-contexted vessels. The communal nature of Meroitic burial makes it difficult to identify life course thresholds. However, that single normative Meroitic burials began as early as the toddler stage is indicated by the case of T.69, a burial accompanied by a jar and beads (possibly worn by the child). We also know of several intact, relatively early (probably late 1st century BC), child burials in the Meroe West cemetery (Dunham 1963), accompanied by several smaller vessels, if not jars (e.g., W.284). It may be observed here that the multiple burials containing subadults only (T.50, T.66 and T.119) contained few accompanying artefacts. The feeder cup found in T.119, a burial of four subadults ranging in age from 3-8 months to 4-5 years, may be seen as an item specifically related to and perhaps used by one of the younger children. Males and females were also buried discretely with jars, beads and bowls, which were often ignored by ancient looters, although an unknown number of objects may of course have been removed during episodes of reopening and reuse of the graves. Because of such invasions, further interpretation is problematic and incomplete. However, no biological differentiation of objects based on those rejected items was observed: jars, bowls and beads were included with both males and females. Aside from T.119, all of the multiple burials with surviving metal jewellery (silver and copper-alloy finger and toe rings), scarabs and pendants had at least one adult female in the group, but these items were not conclusively associated with the female. In T.34 copper-alloy toe rings adorned the feet of the 9-year-old child who suffered from severe cribra orbitalia. Loose fragments of kohl were found with the middle-aged adult and subadult in T.126. Kohl pots were recovered from three tombs (T.39, T.62 and T.114) where both adult males and females were present and in T.11B, the mastaba tomb containing two middle-aged males only. Neither of these males was exceptionally healthy—they both experienced nonspecific infection, trauma and moderate to severe osteoarthritis. However, the comparatively lavish deposits of pottery, the rare klepsydra, kohl pot and kohl confers a unique identity or social role on at least one of these individuals or perhaps their family. However, many of the members of the other four tombs also experienced poor health due to cribra orbitalia, moderate to severe nonspecific infections, sinusitis and trauma. The multifunctional properties of kohl extend far beyond its cosmetic use and it may be in these particular cases that the medicinal qualities of kohl were intended. While the vast majority of the Meroitic burials were much disturbed and heavily robbed, three were relatively undisturbed following interment—T.48-967 (female; random female bone in fill), T.73 -581 (subadult), T.87610 (female). All burials conformed to general Meroitic burial patterns, but it is noteworthy that all were single interments with serious health problems that affected their appearance or well-being. Both adult females suf-

fered from a severe nonspecific infection that grossly distorted their right lower leg. Beads were recovered from both burials, while T.87 also contained a jar and a copper-alloy sheath around a wooden object. The third individual, a 9-year-old, suffered from minor cleft palate and a snaggly tooth that may have affected the ability to eat the same foods as others, and consequently may have predisposed the child to nutritional deficiencies and cribra orbitalia, although this lesion may be attributed to other aetiological agents. This child was interred with a copper-alloy bowl (almost certainly a valued item) by its knees as well as another unidentified copper-alloy object near its head. Only one other grave of an adult male and female (T.62) contained a copper-alloy bowl in addition to the kohl pot described above. That the presence of the copper-alloy bowl might in some way be linked with the child’s health is one possibility to consider as the special character of copper/bronze within many African contexts is widely documented (Herbert 1984). Individuals with major trauma (long bone or skull) were all found within multiple burials. This included T.119, which contained the remains of four children, one (1077) who suffered a fractured clavicle, possibly during birth. These injuries are uncommon clinically, but when present heal fairly quickly (Hobbs 1989). In addition to T.73, only two other Meroitic children less than 15 years-of-age were buried singly in T.34 and T.69. The subadult (9 years ± 24 months) interred with a copper-alloy toe ring and beads in T.34 suffered from cribra orbitalia and experienced a stressful episode in early childhood as indicated by dental enamel hypoplasia. The 3-year-old in T.69 had no visible pathological condition and was interred with beads and a jar. Children were important to the community, but for some reason in these three cases they were excluded from a shared grave. Whether due to a familial decision or perhaps an association with unusual death circumstances remains unknown, although the deaths were not so extraordinary as to avert subsequent tomb robbers.

Post-Meroitic and Medieval Gabati

The later burials in the cemetery may be divided into three main groups. The first, mainly associated with the stone-clad tumuli, are late examples of a widespread post-Meroitic burial tradition. A series of radiocarbon dates and associated artefacts indicate that the earliest of these are unlikely to predate the mid-5th century AD, and the latest the early 7th century, although the dates centre on the 6th and 7th centuries. The second group comprises dorsally extended east-west burials without superstructures, whose substructures are similar to types associated with ‘Christian’ burial forms encountered elsewhere in Nubia. However, in most of these burials the heads lie to the east rather than the west, the most common positioning of medieval burials in more northerly (Nobadian) parts of Nubia (Adams 1998, 28). A third more heterogeneous group of graves includes a small number of more varied layout and orientation, sometimes covered with small cairns. While probably dateable to what is traditionally defined as the medieval ‘Christian’ period, they lack clear Christian associations and represent a different burial tradition(s). A total of 50 graves of post-Meroitic or later 78

date were excavated (including nine examined during the test excavations). These included 13 graves covered with stone-kerbed tumuli, two marked by small earth/gravel mounds, five by stone cairns and 20 unmarked graves. The date and status of an unmarked grave shaft (T.63) remains uncertain.

a widespread practice, also encountered in burials of this period in the Dongola Reach and further north (e.g., Edwards 1994; El-Tayeb 1994). The construction of a tumulus superstructure was a common but by no means universal practice; no tumuli were found over T.42, T.60 and T.103. In the case of T.42, it is possible that a mound may have been removed during the construction of the large tumulus over the nearby grave T.40 however, this is unlikely as there is no evidence for the disturbance of other tumuli across the cemetery, or indeed at other cemetery sites. In the second case, it is noteworthy that the grave held the body of a subadult (aged 7 ± 24 months). While it is possible that subadults may not have warranted the construction of formal superstructures, the lack of tumuli over the other adult males buried in T.42 (aged 35-50) and T.103 (aged 30-43) suggests that the social rationales determining such practices were more complex. T.42 lacked artefacts deposited with the body (unless the group of otherwise unique crude handmade cups recovered from the robbing pit of T.41 came from this grave). If not, the body had simply been laid on a mat and covered with some textile (Edwards 1998, 82). The individual in T.103 was similarly buried with no additional artefacts deposited with the body (Edwards 1998, 92-4). During the excavation of the tumuli, small but well-defined deposits of ash and charcoal were noted in tombs T.1, T.21, T.40 and T.83; these burials included both male and female adults, with T.83 containing a young adult female and foetus. The fresh condition of the charcoal indicates contemporanity with the tumuli and may be evidence of small fireplaces associated with funerary rites. Similar charcoal traces are reported from late- or more probably post-Meroitic tumuli at el-Kadada (Lenoble 1987, 115, pl. XIII), Bauda, north of Omdurman (Al-Hakem 1979) and in the Dongola Reach (El-Tayeb 2010a, 209). Two main types of substructures can be defined, the first used for adult burials and the second for subadult burials. The first were built with large trapezoidal shafts, generally with a steeply sloping entrance ‘ramp’ and ledges cut along their sides. Graves T.9, T.10 and T.59 were exceptional in having no side ledges. The significance of the ledges remains unclear, but they may have been purely functional, providing easier access to the base of the shaft and the chamber. They were certainly of considerable assistance during the excavation of the tombs! The graves without these ledges had three of the shallowest shafts of the excavated tombs. A further feature of several of the grave shafts was the narrow shoulders/ pillars on either side of the chamber entrances. The grave chambers were accessed through narrow entrances cut in the shaft’s end wall. While diverse in detail, there was generally a vertical drop to the base of a roughly oval or semi-circular chamber with a sloping roof. None of the graves had the more rectangular chamber of the type commonly found in post-Meroitic graves in Lower and Middle Nubia (e.g., Vila 1984). The second group of substructures were smaller and of much simpler construction, with relatively shallow and narrow ramps or pits providing access to similarly small chambers. From a wider comparative perspective another

Post-Meroitic tumulus graves A total of 38 tumuli were identifiable, including five examples (T.1, T.2, T.4, T.5 and T.6) recorded during the test excavations. In most cases the tumulus mounds were bounded by a kerb of sandstone blocks and smaller stones. A further 12 graves, either unmarked or with no more than small earth mounds over the shaft (e.g., T.115 and T.116), also probably date to this period. With the exception of T.42 and T.103, this latter group were all burials of subadults. The date of one infant burial (T.91) remains uncertain. With rare exceptions the post-Meroitic graves were single burials, totalling 26 burials. A double burial of two adult males was found in T.59, while T.2, excavated during the test season, contained an adult female and a foetus. Organisation of the cemetery The distribution of the stone-kerbed tumuli suggests the possibility of some linear organisation to the cemetery with two or possibly three lines of tumuli running northsouth across the west side of the cemetery and more scattered outliers on its east side (Edwards 1998, fig. 8.1). The cairn-covered burials are widely dispersed on the periphery of the cemetery. However, without a clear understanding of the distribution of unmarked burials, the significance, if any, of this general patterning is difficult to determine. The placement of the subadult burials across the site raises questions concerning their relationship(s) with neighbouring adult burials. It is certainly possible that ‘family’ groupings of some form may have been intended. The burial structure The method of tumulus construction was relatively standardised. The central areas of the mounds were constructed of redeposited gravels excavated from the tomb shafts and chambers. These were recognisable as clean and homogenous deposits of white gravel. The upper parts of the mounds consisted of mixed deposits including darker gravels, sand and silty sands representing the material excavated during the tomb construction, material cleared from surrounding surface deposits and material from quarry pits around the tumuli respectively. Excavated examples of these pits were found to be broad shallow features, subsequently filled with aeolian and water eroded natural fills, almost devoid of any finds. In some cases where pits were found to have cut through Meroitic graves (e.g., T.80 and T.87) it was evident that they were excavated after the Meroitic tombs had been robbed. This form of quarrying and tumulus construction using quarry pits may be contrasted with excavation of ring-ditches for tumulus material, often encountered around northern Nubian tumuli (Edwards 1994). The stone cladding around the edges of the tumuli represents 79

feature of the Gabati burials was the absence of graves with double entrances, a grave form that has been found in recent years at several sites in the Shendi-Berber region, including el-Fereikha (Anderson and Ahmed 2002) and Akad (Faroug and Tsakos 2005; Faroug et al. 2007). The variety of post-Meroitic grave structures in the Fourth Cataract region and the southern Dongola Reach also suggest the development of localised burial practices during the post-Meroitic centuries. In some parts of central Sudan this diversity may reflect the presence of different populations, whether more settled riverine-dwellers or more mobile groups moving in and out of the riverine zone from its western and eastern hinterlands.

orientation of the body may be one shared characteristic of both Meroitic and post-Meroitic funerary practice at Gabati, the rare exceptions suggest alternative approaches to such patterning. Interestingly, the standard head-south position (with the body laid on the right side facing east) leaves the individual’s head facing the tomb entrance. This pattern is maintained in all the anomalous burials, including those with north-south oriented shafts. Thus, in T.2, T.9, T.10 and T.27 the bodies are still positioned to face the tomb entrance. This observation persists in graves T.28 and T.112, with north-south oriented shafts. In two cases, T.2 and T.10 (both containing adult females, one with a foetus), the bodies were laid facing the tomb entrance but lying on their left sides. In the absence of extensive comparative data, further exploration of the significance of different body orientations and burial layout, and how they may be conceived of (Ucko 1969, 272-2) would be premature. However, that there may be possible regularities to be further explored seems likely. As has been noted previously at the welldocumented cemetery at Abri-Missiminia, burials were also generally oriented (local) north-south, head to the south (facing the tomb entrance), notwithstanding the use of rather different grave forms (Vila 1984, 8-12). That such recognised norms of burial orientation have existed in more recent periods in Sudan, and many other parts of Africa, is apparent in ethnographic literature (e.g., Goody 1962; Nalder 1937; Seligman 1932; Ucko 1969). The indigenous folk-explanations proffered by each group to ‘explain’ the significance of favoured orientations warn against drawing simplistic cross-cultural analogies. That these are also commonly described as varying by gender – men buried on one side facing one direction, women buried on the other side, facing the opposite direction – is perhaps one avenue which might be further explored. Despite the similarity between Meroitic and post-Meroitic burials, that there were perhaps also more subtle, and potentially significant changes, must be considered. Within the Meroitic graves, the majority of the burials were laid on their left side, facing west (that is away from the tomb entrance). By contrast, among the post-Meroitic graves, the bodies were most commonly facing the east. However, with a number of graves not on an east-west axis, the more general regularity may be found in a body orientation facing towards the tomb entrance.

Grave and burial orientation The grave chambers were clearly constructed to hold contracted burials, a common feature of the normative Meroitic grave form. This predominance of contracted north-south burials in both periods raises questions about general underlying cultural continuities. It also draws attention to the special character of extended east-west Meroitic burial. In this respect it is noteworthy how in Lower Nubia during the post-Meroitic period, there is a marked change in orientation of burials (towards northsouth orientation) as well as a reappearance of contracted burial positions (Adams 1977, 396). This change is normally viewed within a regional context, as a significant cultural change which contrasts with Meroitic practice. However, from a broader perspective it could also be seen as a reassertion or revival of what may have been very long-established forms of practice widespread over large areas of the Middle Nile. Such a co-existence of different burial forms recalls a similar diversity encountered in the Napatan cemetery at Sanam for example (Griffith 1923; Lohwasser 2010). There, however, we are reminded that while certain forms of burial might first have arrived in Nubia from Egypt during the New Kingdom, they became an integral part of Kushite traditions through both Napatan and Meroitic periods. As such, its continued representation as an ‘Egyptian’ form may perhaps be unhelpful. The larger graves associated with adults were, with two exceptions, oriented along an approximately east-west axis: four graves with chambers at their east end and the others with chambers at their west end. The two exceptional graves were T.28 and T.112 with shafts oriented on a north-south axis, the chamber of T.28 located at the north end of its shaft and that of T.112 at its south end. With the exception of the individuals within these two graves, all other bodies were laid in a contracted position, oriented north-south. In most cases the bodies were laid on their right sides with the head to the south, facing east. Exceptions included T.2, T.9, T.27 and T.59. In T.2, T.9 and T.27 the bodies were laid with their heads to the north, T.2 facing east and T.27 facing west. In the anomalous double burial T.59, both bodies were laid head to the south, with one facing west and one east. The predominance of a contracted north-south burial, most commonly with the head to the south seems clear, continuing a preferred orientation apparent in the Meroitic period, and as such over a period of possibly more than 800 years. While this underlying preference for a north-south

Grave artefacts As was noted in the first volume one potentially interesting feature of the post-Meroitic cemetery was the predominance of females among the adult burials (Edwards 1998, 202-3). Potentially, this might be of significance in defining some of the more general characteristics of its burials. The marked absence of ‘beer-jars’, which are generally characteristic artefacts of post-Meroitic burial groups might, for example, relate to this bias, but these are also absent from the few adult male tumuli. Such jars were extremely common in post-Meroitic graves throughout the central Sudan and Dongola Reach, while their wheel-made counterparts were equally common within post-Meroitic (X-Group) assemblages in Lower Nubia north of the Third Cataract. Their absence from these 80

tles, kohl pots, grindstones, baskets, spatulas, hair combs and toe/finger rings, and jars and cups were exclusively feminine; a single mirror and spindle whorl were found with two females. The presence of the imported oil bottles, a type previously not encountered in post-Meroitic burials in central Sudan, was also noteworthy. The absence of the oil bottle in three female burials might distinguish them from the others. The female (aged 25years), 1 R pubis (young female about 25 years) Patella: 2 L/R matching Vertebrae: Cervical-C1, C2, 2 complete, 4 fragments; thoracic-4 complete, 3 bodies, 5 arches; lumbar-5 complete, 2 arches; 17 fragments Hands: R lunate; L MC1, L/R MC5, shaft; 6 PP, 2 MP Feet: 2 L/R calcaneus, 2 L/R talus, L/R navicular, R cuneiform-1, 2 R cuneiform-2; L MT1, 2 R MT1, 7 shafts; 7 PP Age: Subadult Scapula: L/R glenoid Clavicle: 2 L/R lateral shafts Humerus: L distal, 2 shafts, 1 head epiphysis Radius: 2 heads, 1 shaft Ulna: L proximal, R complete ulna Femur: 2 L/R, 2 heads, 4 distal epiphyses. Tibia: 2 L/R fragmentary, L/R distal epiphyses, 3 condyles Fibula: 2 proximal and distal shafts Innominate: L/R ischium Patella: L/R Vertebrae: Complete-2 cervical, 5 thoracic, 1 lumbar Hands: R capitate, scaphoid, trapezium; L MC1-3, R MC3-4, 4 MC shafts; 2 PP unfused base. Feet: L/R calcaneus, L talus, L/R navicular, R cuneiform 1-3; 1 R MT and 4 L MT shafts; 3 PP unfused base. GBT 39 Context: Meroitic. Five individuals were identified from the commingled remains, but some bones could not be matched due to morphological and metrical similarities, for example the fibulae. Context 866 was the fill of GBT 39 and skeletons were originally numbered in association with the fill. Individuals have been assigned new contexts:

Skeleton 864 Skeleton 866-2 Skeleton 866-3 Skeleton 866-4 Skeleton 866-5

1083 (this was from the surface 864- 420E/1020N) 1084 1085 1086 1087

Skeleton 1083 Sex: Male Age: 30-39 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 165.35 ± 4.42cm (ulna) Condition: Fair. Trowel marks on the R femur. Completeness: 68.3% Inventory: All major skull and long bones are represented, but most are damaged. Portions of the scapulae, ribs and L innominate were recovered with the complete patellae, manubrium and sacrum. The vertebral column includes all cervical, 9 thoracic and 1 lumbar element. Hand bones comprise 10 MCs, 14 carpals and 21 phalanges; feet are composed of 5 L MTs, 12 tarsals and 8 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal foramen, L marginal tubercle, L ZF foramen. Postcranial-L/R acromial facet, L femoral plaque, L/R vastus fossa, R lateral squatting facet, L/R medial talar facet, L double calcaneal facet. Dental disease: Circular wear on facial surface of #11, possibly due to a labret. Resorbed lower anterior incisors and molar region. The teeth in general show heavy angled and cupped wear. Joint disease: The glenoid fossae, sternoclavicular joints, hands and R distal fibula exhibit modifications due to joint disease. Osteophytes are present on T10-12, L1, L4 and S1. Trauma: A parry fracture on the L ulna (lesion length: 27.38mm; distance from distal end: 47.9mm; length of bone: 111

264mm; angulation: 15° posteriorly). Seven hand fractures: transverse shaft and base compression fracture of L MC4; PP4 transverse fracture and base compression; L PP3 base with osteoarthritis; L MP5 base and 1 DP base impaction; R MC3 partially avulsed styloid and fracture of L hamate hook. Other: Distal phalanges of the hand have splayed tufts. One foot phalanx is hypertrophied. Raised area of well-remodelled bone on the medial shaft of the R tibia. Skeleton 1084 Sex: Female Age: 21-25 (Cohort 8: 21-25) Stature: 160.77 ± 4.25cm (humerus) Condition: Fair Completeness: 83.3% Inventory: All major skull bones are partially complete aside from the absent L zygomatic. The long bones are all accounted for, but sustained damaged. The patellae, manubrium and all vertebral elements with the sacrum are complete. The R scapula, ribs, innominate and sternal body are fragmentary. Hands comprise all MCs, 15 carpals and 21 phalanges; all MTs, tarsals and 24 foot phalanges were recovered. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R frontal foramen, R parietal foramen, R ZF foramen. Postcranial-L/R double atlas facet, R acromial facet, L/R vastus notch, L lateral squatting facet, R medial squatting facet, R medial talar facet. Dental disease: Slight calculus on R mandibular teeth. Joint disease: OA on the facets of C3-4, L acetabulum and sacroiliac, and patellae. Some destruction of superior anterior margin of L3, perhaps due to brucellosis. Trauma: Fracture avulsion hand DP. SN is faint on T12 and L1. Other: Large cortical defects on medial clavicles. L/R MT1-3 facets. Skeleton 1085 Sex: Male Age: 30-45 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 164.32 ± 4.3cm (radius) Condition: Fair Completeness: 67.5% Inventory: All major skull bones are present but incomplete. The fibulae and R radius are not present; other long bones are damaged. The patellae are complete, while the scapulae, ribs, innominates and sternum are damaged. All vertebral elements are present and the majority are incomplete; S1 is present. Hands include 9 MCs, 13 carpals and 18 phalanges; feet are represented by 5 MTs, 9 tarsals and 9 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R frontal grooves, L/R lambdoid and occipital/mastoid ossicles, L parietal foramen, L/R tympanic dehiscence, L/R zygomaxillary tubercle, L accessory mental foramen. Postcranial-R acromial facet, L os acromiale, L/R septal aperture, R femoral exostosis, R vastus notch, L vastus fossa, L medial and lateral squatting facets, L/R double calcaneal facets. Dental disease: Osteoperiodontitis on the R maxilla, particularly the posterior bone. Slight to moderate calculus is intermittent throughout dentition. Joint disease: Osteophytosis on the thoracic vertebrae and sacroiliac; there is some arthritic degeneration of the pubic bones. Trauma: None. Other: Slight bilateral cribra orbitalia and porosity of the L parietal. Generalised osteoperiostitis on the femora. R maxillary sinusitis; the L cavity was not recovered. Skeleton 1086 Sex: Unknown Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor Completeness: Mandible only Inventory: Broken mandible. 112

Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: None observed. Dental disease: Caries #15, 16. Osteoarthritis: None. Trauma: None. Skeleton 1087 Sex: Female Age: 25-30 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 23.3% Inventory: Missing major skull bones include the L maxilla and zygomatic and R temporal; many of the others are broken. Of the long bones, the left fibula and right humerus are not represented. The tali and sacrum were recovered. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R supraorbital foramen, L/R lambdoid ossicles, sagittal ossicles, R ZF foramen. Dental disease: A lingual abscess is associated with #3. Joint disease: None. Trauma: A healed puncture (12mm) at a break on the R side near the midline of the frontal bone. Other: The R lower leg is severely altered due to a nonspecific infection causing osteomyelitis that affects the shafts of both bones; the disorganised bone growth is most exuberant on the fibula extending the entire length. The disorganised bone does not extend much past the soleal line of the tibia and is much more organised than the new bone on the fibular surface. The bones are fused from the distal articular surface for a length of 103.86mm and a cloaca is present in the fused area. The R talus also was affected resulting in a webby bone cortex and loss of bone mass. The ankle joint is unaffected; neither the knee nor hip show evidence of adjustment to biomechanical stress. Pitting appears on the sphenoid greater wings. Unassigned bone from fill Age: Adult Skull: L/R temporal (not matched), maxilla fragment, R orbital fragment, L mandible, 1 mandible condyle, L zygomatic fragment, hyoid body, partial hyoid; 25 vault and 20 sphenoid fragments; 4 damaged teeth; 19 dental roots. Clavicle: L middle and lateral shaft; R proximal shaft Femur: 15 distal and proximal epiphyses Fibula: 2 L distal, 1 L proximal, 1 R, 3 shaft fragments Patella: 1 L Innominate: 37 fragments Ribs: 15 heads Vertebrae: Cervical-5 fragments; thoracic-3 complete, 24 spines; lumbar-5 complete, 2 double arches, 2 L single arches, 9 fragments; 40 vertebral fragments; 4 sacral fragments; 1 coccyx Hands: 6 MTs, 2 MP, 3 PP Feet: 2 tarsals, 5 MTs, 2 PP, 1 DP GBT 40 Skeleton 921 Context: Post-Meroitic. Original context number. Other disarticulated bones were found in the shaft and inventoried here. The excavators suggest that these may be from a disturbed Meroitic burial, possibly GBT 43 (Edwards 1998, 80). Sex: Female Age: 30-35 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: 156.43 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Excellent Completeness: 95.9% Inventory: All bones present except for 3 hand and 10 foot phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 113

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal foramen, L/R frontal grooves, L parietal foramen, L/R zygomaxillary tubercle, L/R ZF foramen. Postcranial-L/R atlas bridge, L/R acromial facets, L/R septal apertures, L/R Allen’s fossa, L/R vastus notch, L/R squatting lateral facets, R double calcaneal facets. Dental disease: Tool use between #7/8 and 9/10 shows V-notch and exposed dentin. Slight to moderate calculus throughout. Joint disease: None. Trauma: Two small actively healing lesions are on the parietal immediately superior to the R temporal and expose the diploë. Other: Symphalangism L DP/MP5. Developmental fossa along inferior margin of L/R humeral heads on medial side. Partial cleft of R ala. L/R MT2-3 facets. Sphenoid pitting. Unassigned bone from fill context 916 (remains of 2 adults with at least 1 female) Age: Adult Skull and teeth: 3 mandible fragments, 1 female orbit, L zygomatic, 2 vault fragments; teeth #8, 12, 23 Scapula: 6 fragments Clavicle: 2 L lateral, 3 R fragments Humerus: 1 R distal Radius: 1 L distal shaft, 4 shaft fragments Ulna: 1 L, 1 L proximal, 1 R segment, 2 shaft fragments Femur/tibia: 51 fragments Fibula: 9 fragments Ribs: 3 L and 2 R heads; 12 fragments Innominate: 9 fragments Vertebrae: 1 complete thoracic, 1 lumbar fragment, 6 unidentified fragments. Hands: L lunate, 4 MC fragments, 4 PP (1 with copper stain), 1 DP Feet: L talus, cuboid and cuneiform-3; 3 MT shafts, PP1 Unassigned bone from mound of tumulus (context 906) Age: Adult Skull and teeth: L maxilla, 17 vault fragments, tooth #27 Scapula: 2 fragments Clavicle: 1 R proximal (gracile), 1 R distal (robust) Ulna: 1 L proximal Femur: 1 distal condyle fragment Long bone fragments: 52 Innominate: 3 fragments Vertebrae: 1 fragment Hands: 2 MC fragments Feet: R calcaneus, 1 MT fragment, 1 PP1 GBT 41 Context: Meroitic. One articulated individual, Skeleton 929, was interred at the base of the tomb with the disarticulated bones of 3 individuals in the shaft. Skulls were bagged separately. Based on the innominate and parietal, at least 1 additional adult was present, but was not assigned a context. The MNI for this tomb then was at least 5. The 4 individuals from the fill (Context 917) were assigned new context numbers:

Skeleton 917-2 Skeleton 917-3 Skeleton 917-4 New from fill

1098 1099 (subadult) 1101 1100

Skeleton 929 Sex: Male Age: 30-42 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 172.87 ± 4.3cm (radius) Condition: Fair Completeness: 80.1% Inventory: The skull is broken into large pieces but some bones are complete; the maxillae and R zygomatic are absent. All of the long bones are present, but most are damaged; the forearms are intact. The innominates are damaged as are the 25 ribs recovered. The vertebral column, sacrum and R patella are complete. Hands include 10 MCs, 12 carpals and 22 phalanges; feet comprise all MTs and tarsals as well as 6 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 114

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R zygomaxillary and marginal tubercles and ZF foramen. Postcranial-L/R atlas posterior bridge, R acromial facet, sternal foramen, L/R femoral plaque. Dental disease: Slight buccal calculus and osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: Marginal osteophytes occur frequently throughout the hands and wrists, ulna olecranon and R elbow. Blunt lipping around the fovea capitus and blunted surface osteophytes around femoral heads. Osteophytosis on the anterior bodies of the lower cervical and thoracic vertebrae. The costal facets of the lower thoracic and the ribs are particularly affected with much curling of the facet margins. Marginal osteophytes extend through the lumbar and affect the posterior margin of L5; there is additional new bone activity on the anterior body of L3. The lower bodies of L4-5 are depressed; excavation trauma on L1 and L5. Early stages of fusion of L5 inferior posterior margin and superior S1, which exhibited substantial osteophytic growth on the body. Trauma: Stress fracture of R rib 1. Other: Robust MSMs especially the R linea aspera and soleal lines. Osteoperiostitis involved the R fibula and distal midshaft of tibia. Skeleton 1098 Sex: Female? Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 10.1% Inventory: Portions of the recovered skull include the frontal, parietals, temporals, occipital, maxillae and R zygomatic. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R supraorbital and frontal foramina, L/R mastoid foramen, R tympanic dehiscence. No other pathology observed. Skeleton 1099 Sex: Unknown Age: 7yrs ± 24 m (Cohort 5: 7-11) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 25% Inventory: The frontal bone is complete while the other major skull bones are damaged; the L mandible and zygomatics are absent. Long bones are partially complete and include the L humerus and femur, R radius and tibia, and innominates. Four vertebral elements (1 thoracic, 2 lumbar and 1 sacral) and 1 hand phalanx were found. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 1 5 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology None observed. Skeleton 1100 (new from fill) Sex: Male? Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor Completeness: 1.9% Inventory: L/R partial maxilla, R parietal, 3 vault fragments. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R supraorbital and frontal foramina, L/R mastoid foramen, R tympanic dehiscence. No other pathology observed. Skeleton 1101 Sex: Male Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown 115

Condition: Very poor Completeness: 14.5% Inventory: Skull elements include the frontal, parietals, temporals, occipital, mandible, maxillae and L zygomatic. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L supraorbital foramen, L/R frontal foramen, L marginal tubercle and ZF foramen. No other pathology observed. Unassigned bone Age: Adult Scapula: L fragment Clavicle: R clavicle Humerus: 3 R shafts (1 gracile, 1 medium, 1 robust), 4 heads Ulna: R proximal Arm: L/R forearm w L humerus (gracile) Femur: 2 L, 3 R shafts Tibia: 1 shaft Fibula: 2 robust shafts, 1 gracile shaft Patella: 1 L, 1 fragment Innominate: 3 L/R, 1 L pubic bone (male), 1 R pubic bone (female); many fragments Ribs: 14 fragments Sternum: 1 manubrium Vertebrae: Cervical-2 complete; thoracic-3 bodies, 2 arches; lumbar-4 complete, 2 arches; sacrum-1 female Hands: L lunate, R scaphoid; L MC 3, 4; R MC 2-4, 2 MC fragments; 4 PP, 4 MP, 1 DP Feet: L/R calcaneus, L calcaneal heel, R cuneiform-3; L MT3; R MT 1, 4; 1 PP GBT 42 Skeleton 970 Context: Post-Meroitic. Original context number. Sex: Male Age: 30-35 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: 164.25 ± 3.93cm (femur) Condition: Excellent Completeness: 91.2% Inventory: All skull and long bones were recovered. The scapula bodies and ribs suffered minor damage; innominates, patellae, sternum, and the vertebral column to coccyx-1 were recovered. Hands include all MCs, carpals and 21 phalanges; feet consist of all MTs, 11 tarsals and 13 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R supraorbital foramen, R frontal grooves, L/R lambdoid and coronal ossicles, L/R mastoid foramen, L/R zygomaxillary and marginal tubercles, L/R ZF foramina, L mylohyoid bridge. Postcranial-R atlas posterior bridge, L/R double atlas facets, L/R acromial facets, L/R femoral plaque, L/R vastus notch, L/R medial squatting facets. Dental disease: Slight calculus predominantly on mandibular teeth. Joint disease: Osteophytosis on C5-7, T1-4, L3-5; OA on articular facets of T7-10, L2-3 as well as rib facets and sternoclavicular joints. Trauma: L rib 9 has a midshaft healed transverse fracture. There is a compression fracture across the transverse posterior body of L5 and L transverse process fractures of L2-3. Proximal base fractures of R MT2-3. Early stage SN on T11-12 and L1-4. Other: Foot proximal phalanges have robust interosseous insertions and are slightly twisted. OCD at 2 locations on L distal tibial articular surfaces and also on the R cuneiform-1 (3.58mm on metatarsal articular surface). MT facets on L MT1-3 and R MT1-2. Spiculated bone on bodies of L3-5. Some green stain in skull sutures especially sagittal. Samples: Brain. GBT 43 Context: Meroitic. Three discrete individuals were found within the tomb. Skeleton 941 was beneath skeleton 935. Skeleton 936 was pushed to the east of the narrow tomb. These individuals retain the original context numbers. Much 116

bone was found in the fill (context 924) and some bone may be associated with these individuals. However duplication, robusticity and developmental stage reveal at least 2 additional adults, 1 of which was likely female and at least 1 additional subadult. In total, the MNI for this tomb was 4 adults and 2 subadults. Skeleton 935 Sex: Male Age: 34-60 (Cohort 11: 50+) Stature: 166.62 ± 4.3cm (radius) Condition: Fair Completeness: 56.5% Inventory: Though broken, major skull bones are present, as are the long bones except for the L radius. Scapulae, ribs, innominate, sternum and patella are damaged, but the vertebral column to S5 is complete. Six MCs were recovered along with 12 carpals and 5 phalanges; 3 tarsals were recovered from the feet. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R divided hypoglossal canal, R maxillary torus. Postcranial-L/R double atlas facet, R acromial facet, sternal foramen, L/R vastus notch, L medial talar facet. Dental disease: The dentition is in good condition with mild to moderate calculus present throughout. Buccal fracture #14. Joint disease: Osteophytosis on C5-7, T7-9, L5 and S1. OA on R facets of C3-4. Surface osteophytes dotted the distal articular surfaces of the femora in addition to marginal lipping. Trauma: None. Other: Endocranial pitting. Skeleton 936 Sex: Unknown Age: 3yrs ± 12m (Cohort 4: 3-6) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 29.2% Inventory: The major skull bones are fragmentary with the zygomatics and L maxilla absent. Nearly complete long bones include the humeri, ulnae, femora, tibiae and fibulae; the R scapula is fragmentary. Two vertebrae and 2 ribs are represented. Dental inventory:

51 52 53 54 55 | 56 57 58 59 60 70 69 68 67 66 | 65 64 63 62 61

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 | 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology None observed. Skeleton 941 Sex: Male Age: 30-59 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 164.14 ± 4.43cm (humerus) Condition: Fair. Trowel damage. Completeness: 50.1% Inventory: Portions of the frontal, temporal and mandible were recovered. All long bones are nearly complete, but damage was sustained by the fibulae, forearms and R humerus. Hands include 8 MCs, 9 carpals and 17 phalanges, while only 3 foot bones were found. The L scapula, innominates, sternum and ribs are present, but damaged; patellae are complete. The 4 cervical and 9 thoracic vertebrae are damaged while the 5 lumbar vertebrae and sacrum are in good condition. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Postcranial-L acromial facet, L medial/lateral squatting facets. Dental disease: The L mandible is edentulous from the posterior molars to the # 22. Joint disease: A thick osteophytic lip surrounds the head of the L humerus with bony nodules on the head surface; the articulating glenoid fossa shows a corresponding arthritic response. A large osteophytic nodule is on the central ridge of the R patella. OA at R costoclavicular joint. Osteophytosis on L1-5 and C3. 117

Trauma: SN on L3-4. Other: Bifid S1. Unassigned bone Age: Subadult Skull: 2-L temporal, R petrous, L zygomatic fragment, R orbital fragment, parietal fragment, R mandible fragment, L maxilla fragment Teeth: #58, 59, 3, 8, 9, 11-15 indicating at least 1 older child 6yrs ± 24m. Femur: Proximal L/R and 1distal fragment Fibula: 2 fibula shaft fragments Age: Adult Skull and teeth: L/R maxillae fragments with incisors #7, 10; fragments of sphenoid, occipital, R parietal, R maxilla with broken #1-2; C1-2, T1-2. Skull fragments suggest at least 1 adult female. Scapula: fragments Long bones: shaft fragments of humerus, radius, R clavicle and tibia Ulna: 2 olecranon process fragments of different sizes. As all olecranon processes were present for Skeletons 935 and 941 at least 2 additional adults are indicated. Ribs: fragments Innominate: fragments Sacrum: 2 fragments Hands: L MC1, 4 hand PP Feet: R calcaneus fragment GBT 47 Skeleton 954 Context: Meroitic. Original context number. Sex: Male Age: 30-49 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 166.33 ± 4.42cm (ulna) Condition: Poor Completeness: 68.9% Inventory: The skull suffered the most damage and much of the L side is absent; the long bones are in good condition, though most elements are broken into large pieces. Patellae are complete, while the scapulae, ribs, innominate and sternum are damaged. Recovered vertebrae are in various states of completeness: 7 cervical, 8 thoracic, 5 lumbar and 4 sacral elements. Nine MCs, 9 carpals and 17 phalanges form the hands; the feet consist of 9 MTs, 12 tarsals and 11 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R zygomaxillary tubercle, R ZF foramen. Postcranial-L acromial facet, R femoral plaque, L/R medial/lateral squatting facets, L inferior lateral talar facet, L/R lateral talar extension, L double calcaneal facet. Dental disease: The teeth are broken with no crowns present; osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: None. Trauma: None. Other: Large cortical defect on the R clavicle. R MT2 facet. Endocranial pitting. GBT 48 Context: Meroitic. Skeleton 967 was in situ, with additional bone found in fill (context 951) now assigned context 1088. Skeleton 967 Sex: Female Age: 25-35 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: 150.91 ± 4.25cm (humerus) Condition: Fair Completeness: 70.6% Inventory: All major skull and long bones are present but most are broken into 2 or more pieces. The scapulae, sternum, innominate and sacrum are heavily damaged. The ribs are broken, but heads of each rib are present. The L patella is complete. The cervical and coccygeal elements are complete, while the 12 thoracic and 5 lumbar are in various states of completeness. All MCs are represented with 6 carpals and 21 phalanges; 1 MT, 5 tarsals and 7 phalanges were recovered from the feet. Dental inventory: 118

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-Metopic suture, L/R supraorbital foramen, L/R frontal grooves, L/R parietal foramen, L mastoid foramen, L/R zygomaxillary tubercle. Postcranial-R acromial facet. Dental disease: Slight calculus and osteoperiodontitis at #30. Joint disease: Some deterioration of R auricular surface likely in response to leg infection. Trauma: None. Other: The femora and the L tibia were severely affected by osteomyelitis; the hip, knee and ankle joints indicate no evidence of response. Deposits of disorganised bone covered most of the R femoral shaft expanding the diameter to 39.69mm. A large cloaca penetrates the posterior surface (19.05 x 80.03mm); a more distal section with a closed medullary cavity has a large cloaca spanning the width of the bone. Bone remodelling covers the L posterior femoral midshaft for 142.75mm with a proximal cloaca (15.07mm x 10.14mm); the bone diameter is 34.86mm. The medullary cavity is filled with a mesh of cancellous bone and the cortex is thickened to 15.4mm on the medial surface at the break. Most of lesion on the L tibia affects the medial side and measures 106.88mm in length; a cloaca 37.38 x 14.34mm angles distally to the expanded shaft. Skeleton 1088 Sex: Female? Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Undetermined Condition: Very poor Completeness: 18.3% Inventory: The skull vault bones are present but damaged. Portions of the ulnae and femora, R clavicle and humerus were found. Scapulae, innominates and patellae are damaged. One carpal, 2 MTs, 2 tarsals and 1 foot phalanx represent the extremities. Two cervical, 2 thoracic and 3 sacral elements are present. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L supraorbital foramen, L parietal foramen, L ZF foramen. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: None. Trauma: None. Other: Osteoperiostitis in sacroiliac region. GBT 50 Context: Meroitic. Disarticulated bone was recovered from the fill and 2 subadults identified as A and B, although this was not reported in the original site report. Individuals are assigned new context numbers:

Skeleton A Skeleton B

1107 1108

Skeleton 1107 Sex: Unknown Age: 18m ± 6m (Cohort 3: 6m-2yrs) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor Completeness: 8.4% Inventory: The petrous portions and mandible segments were identified among the small cranial fragments. Portions of both clavicles and L femur represent the postcranial bones as well as 5 vertebrae, 4 hand bones and assorted rib fragments. Dental inventory:

52 53 54 55 | 56 57 58 59 60 69 68 67 66 | 65 64 63 62 61 70


Palaeopathology None observed. Skeleton 1108 Sex: Unknown Age: Newborn-1m (Cohort 2: 3mm. Joint disease: Very slight osteophytosis increasing from cervical to lumbar elements. Minor OA affects most joints. Extensive lipping (4.7mm width) around joint margins with eburnation on L knee: lateral condyle of femur and lateral plateau of proximal tibia (25.9 x 28.8mm) with faint 5.7mm wide groove visible. Lipping around joint margins of R knee, but not as extensive; surface osteophytes on medial articular surface of R patella. Trauma: Perimortem split head fracture of L MC2 causing depression of medial head. Early stages of OCD R tibial plateau (8.8mm). More aggressive OCD (10.3mm) in centre of L lateral tibial plateau. Other: One very short accessory rib. L MC2, 5 are shorter than R side (52.7, 55.8 vs. 39.6, 42.7mm); shaft of L MC5 is distorted by curvature. MT facets on L MT4-5 and R MT2,3. Some porosity on the middle rib shafts. Skeleton 145 Sex: Female Age: 21-25 (Cohort 8: 21-25) Stature: 154.84 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Good. Trowel lines on R clavicle and tibia. Completeness: 74.3% Inventory: All major skull bones, long bones, scapulae, innominates, patellae and sternum present with some broken into large segments and damaged. Damaged vertebral column includes 7 cervical, 9 thoracic, 4 lumbar, 4 sacral and 1 coccygeal element. Extremities consist of all MCs, MTs, 15 carpals, 13 tarsals, 24 hand and 10 foot phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R ZF foramen. Postcranial-R septal aperture. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: Minor marginal osteophytes on vertebrae especially L4-5. Trauma: None. Other: Large pit (6.4mm) under the tubercle of R pubis. MT facets on R MT1-3. GBT 94 Context: Tomb 94 contained a large amount of commingled bones that produced 5 adults. The bone present is in good condition, although most bones are broken. It was not possible to assign the smaller bones, such as phalanges, to an individual, unless the bones were bagged with specific individuals. While scapulae could be paired, they could not be reliably matched to a specific skeleton. Only portions of the fibular, ulnar and radial diaphyses were present and as a result no articulations were possible. One articulated forearm was bagged separately, and it can be narrowed down to 2 individuals, but ownership is uncertain. The vertebrae were relatively complete, but only fragments of the ribs and extremities were recovered. New context numbers are as follows:

Skeleton I Skeleton II Skeleton III Skeleton IV Skeleton V

156 157 158 1068 1067

Skeleton 156 Sex: Male Age: 21-25 (Cohort 8: 21-25) Stature: 160.23 ± 4.43cm (humerus) Condition: Poor Completeness: 42.7% 143

Inventory: This individual is the most robust of the group. Major skull bones are preserved, except for the absent R zygomatic. Long bones recovered include the femora, tibiae, humeri and clavicles; some articular surfaces are absent. The patellae and innominates are in good condition with the R pubis missing. The vertebral column consists of 7 cervical, 10 thoracic and 5 lumbar elements in addition to a well preserved sacrum. Assigned foot bones include 1 MT, and 11 tarsals. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal foramen, L foramen spinosum open. Postcranial-R C6 transverse foramen bipartite, L/R medial squatting facets, L/R double calcaneal facets. Dental disease: A small carious lesion on the occlusal surface of #32. Slight osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: The vertebral bodies are very porous, particularly the lumbar and lower thoracic vertebrae. Some of the pores reach 4.8mm and are likely not due to insect activity as other parts of the skeleton are unaffected and the margins are not sharp. There is much destructive action on the vertebral bodies, notably L3-4. On L3, the trabecular portion is exposed to 10.8mm at the deepest extent, while the entire anterior section was undergoing a lytic response (41.6 x 14mm); however, the marginal epiphyses are intact as is the inferior surface. L4 shows complete destruction of the anterior body. The exposed portion of the body appears very rough, but at the same time a clean slope of destruction is visible. A similar lytic response is evident in very early stages for the superior surfaces of L1-2. These lesions may be due to infectious disease, such as brucellosis, rather than joint disease. Trauma: T12, L1 and L5 show incipient SN. A small islet of OCD (8mm) is present on the calcaneal articular surface just posterior to the articular facets and is associated with the blunt rim of osteophytic growth on the calcaneal margin. The posterior portion of the L zygomatic has broken off, but the most anterior edge shows some bevelling indicating that the lesion measuring 17.4 x 8.6mm, whether due to trauma or ulcerative, was actively healing. Other: Bilateral cribra orbitalia exhibits large coalesced pores. Fine porosity (41.3mm) covers the posterior medial quadrant of both parietals and the superior apex of the occipital; fine porosity present on the sphenoid wings and posterior maxillae. A round nodule of spongy bone (5.6mm) is in the nasal cavity of the R maxilla. Skeleton 157 Sex: Male Age: 18-20 (Cohort 7: 17-20) Stature: Unknown Condition: Fair Completeness: 33.7% Inventory: Broken skull vault bones and the mandible are present. Portions of the clavicles, humeri, innominates, femora and tibiae are present but damaged. Partial scapulae were matched based on the incomplete fusion of the coracoid processes. Some damage to the vertebral elements, but generally they are in good condition and include 3 cervical, 11 thoracic and 4 lumbar vertebrae. The sacrum is complete. Extremities include 1 each of a MC, MT, tarsal and foot phalanx. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R marginal tubercles. Postcranial-L/R os acromiale, R lateral talar extension. Dental disease: The dental health is poor with a facially perforating abscess at #1 and 14. Osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: A large boney spur extends 12.4mm above the auricular surface of the L innominate and may be early stages of fusion due to ankylosing spondylitis. Trauma: OCD (2mm) on central L glenoid fossa. Other: Bilateral os acromiale may be age-related rather than pathological. A large muscle attachment for costoclavicular ligament on R clavicle. Skeleton 158 Sex: Female Age: 30-44 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 165.1 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Fair Completeness: 38.7% Inventory: The skull is broken with some pieces missing; the maxillae are completely absent. Clavicles, humeri, tibiae, femora and innominates are present, but broken with pieces missing. Patellae are complete as is the sacrum. Four cervical, 9 thoracic and 6 lumbar vertebrae are present and in fairly good condition. Foot bones include 5 MTs, 11 tarsals and 2 foot phalanges. Dental inventory: 144

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Postcranial-R femoral exostosis, L/R medial and lateral squatting facets. Dental disease: AMTL of all mandibular teeth; edentulous. Joint disease: Osteophytes extend horizontally from the margins of the L3-5, but the remainder of the vertebral column shows little modification, including the sacrum. The articular joints of the innominate have undergone moderate bone destruction when compared to other joints. The L talus and calcaneus suffered from severe OA; the trochlea and calcaneal plantar surface are unaffected. Healed sharp force trauma traverses the posterior talus just below the trochlea and superior to the os trigonum that likely severed the posterior talocalcaneal and talofibular ligaments causing the talus to slip against the calcaneus. This action resulted in large cysts and a rough surface rather than eburnation. A false joint (11.1 x 21mm) was created between the os trigonum and calcaneal heel; the severed os trigonum is 16.7mm long. Osteophytes surround the margins of the first proximal phalanges of the feet. Trauma: An oval lesion (37.5mm sagittally and 31.5mm coronally) occurs on the central superior portion of the R parietal bone and disrupts the endocranial surface. The lesion is quite thin and may result from surgical intervention or parietal thinning rather than blunt force trauma. OCD (2mm) on the L femoral condyle. Other: Large facets appear on the superior alae that articulate with facets on inferior L5. Pubic pitting on both pubes. L MT1 facet. Skeleton 1067 Sex: Female Age: 21-25 (Cohort 8: 21-25) Stature: 166.92 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Fair. Some postmortem gauges appear on the femoral shafts as well as some peeling. Completeness: 40.7% Inventory: The skull is broken and missing some pieces of the major elements. Humeri, tibiae, femora and innominates are present, but broken into large segments and are incomplete. Both clavicles and the R patella are intact. The vertebral column is in good condition with 4 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar vertebrae plus the complete sacrum. Foot bones include 2 MTs and 7 tarsals. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-R parietal foramen, L/R mastoid foramen, L/R marginal tubercles, R ZF foramen. PostcranialL/R double atlas facet, L/R septal aperture, L/R Poirier’s facet, L/R medial and lateral squatting facets. Joint disease: Slight OA affects some vertebral elements, especially the cervical facets. The medial clavicular articular surfaces and innominate articulations show most degeneration in contrast to the remainder of postcranial joints. TMJD L mandibular condyle and articulating temporal fossa. Trauma: A small lesion superior to the L orbit (7.2 x 3.9mm and 1.2mm deep). The trabecular bone is sealed, but new bone growth has not obliterated the injury. Other: Bilateral cribra orbitalia. Osteoperiostitis on the medial and lateral sides of L MT1 head. Skeleton 1068 Sex: Female Age: 35-39 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 172.39 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Fair Completeness: 40.5% Inventory: The skull vault and zygomatic bones are present, but broken into large pieces, as are the innominates, humeri, femora and tibiae. Both clavicles are complete but broken in half; the R patella is undamaged. The vertebral column is in good condition with 6 cervical, 10 thoracic, 5 lumbar and 1 sacral vertebrae. Foot bones include 4 MTs and 13 tarsals. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal grooves, ossicle at lambda, L/R lambdoid ossicles, L/R marginal tubercle, L/R facial foramen. Postcranial-L double atlas facet, R septal aperture, L Poirier’s facet, R vastus notch, L/R medial and lateral squatting facets, R talar extension. Joint disease: Slight osteophytic growths surround the occipital condyles, as well as C4-7 articular surfaces. The posterior R mandibular condyle has undergone degenerative changes resulting in a 10.1mm long erosion of the surface into which inserts an osteophytic extension from the condylar articular surface of the temporal bone. 145

Trauma: A perimortem fracture likely due to compaction cuts through the inferior articular surface of the R talus and passes medial to the sustanticulum tali. The fracture line diverges into a Y-pattern before reaching the talar head. The fracture extends through the body of the trochlea and again forms a Y-pattern on the surface with branches extending from the centre of the trochlea to the posterior talus and diagonally to the each side of the trochlea. Corresponding lesions are not present on the articulating bone surfaces. Other: Intermittent osteoperiostitis on the distal R tibia. L5 spondylolysis. The superior edge of the talar head is unusually flat. Bilateral fissures on the mastoid processes. Unassigned bones Numerous adult elements remain unassigned as they could be associated with more than 1 individual. The scapulae are well preserved, but the absence of humeral heads did not permit any articulations to be attempted, although the bones could be paired. Numerous dental crown fragments or roots are present, but as much of the alveolar bone is missing, matches are often unreliable. Skull: 29 fragments, 1 zygomatic process, 1 fused hyoid, 1 hyoid body Teeth: 57 crown fragments; 13 roots/fragments; 9 single teeth. One tooth fragment is quite large (megadont) and from its profile it is likely a canine; this could also be a fused tooth. Scapula: 4 individuals based on 4 L and 3 R bones; os acromiale 1 R of a pair, 1 L of a pair, 1 pair unaffected; 1 L unknown. Humerus: 6 head pieces L forearm (articulated): ulna (274mm), radius (255mm; head = 21.5mm) with corresponding distal R ulna. Muscle markings are robust. Associated hand bones include the 5 MCs; lunate, trapezium, capitate, scaphoid, triquetral, trapezoid and hamate. Interosseous muscles are particularly pronounced. The proximal half of the R radius was matched (head = 21.3mm). Radius: 1 R distal radius, 1 proximal (head = 22.1mm); 16 long bone pieces Ulna: 2 L heads, 2 L proximal ends Femur: 6 distal epiphyseal pieces; 2 head pieces Tibia: 10 epiphyseal fragments Fibula: 4 distal L; 4 heads Ribs: Ribs are very fragmentary and sorted by each separate bag as excavated. Bag 1: 8 L heads, 12 R heads; Bag 2: 23 L, 26 R (many with marginal lipping at the facets; Bag 3: 6 L, 7 R (these very robust ribs are likely from 1 individual). Sternum: 4 manubria, 2 nearly complete sternal bodies plus 9 sternal fragments Innominate: 43 fragments Vertebrae: Cervical-1 complete, 1 partial, 1 arch; thoracic- 1 nearly complete element, 25 spinous processes with arch portions; lumbar-6 spinous processes with arches; numerous fragments; 1 sacral fragment; coccyx-2 C-1, 1 element Hands: 2L/1R capitate, 1L/3R hamate, 2L/R trapezium, 2L scaphoid, 1L/R lunate, 3L/2R triquetral, 1 L/R trapezoid, 1L/3R pisiform; 4L/R MC1, 1L/2R MC2, 3 L/R MC3, 3L/R MC4, 1L/2R MC5; 35 PP, 24 MP, 11 DP. Some OA on MC1 heads. Feet: 2L/R MT2, 3L/R MT3, 3L/1R MT4, 3L/R MT5; 7 PP1, 24 PP, 3 MP, 6 DP1, 1DP, 1 sesamoid; 6 MT heads. Minor OA. One PP bore an impacted condyle that may have been caused by a sharp object. A DP1 had a well-healed linear base fracture with OA surrounded the margin. Three of 16 MT heads had MT facets. GBT 95 Skeleton 1073 Context: Meroitic. This collection of bones was pushed to the sides of the grave floor. One adult was identified and assigned the context 1073. Sex: Male? Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor. The bone is extremely weathered with much peeling; insect activity is also present, especially on the distal tibia. Completeness: 10.5% Inventory: Both femora, R tibia and fibula are present but broken into large pieces. Damaged extremities include 1 MC, 2 hand phalanges, 2 MT, 8 tarsals and 9 foot phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Postcranial-R femoral exostosis, R lateral squatting facet, R medial talar facet and extension. No pathological lesions are visible.


GBT 97 Context: Medieval. This grave cut into GBT 68. The articulated individual retains the original context, 110. A foetus was below the pelvis of this individual and is assigned to context 1051. Skeleton 110 Sex: Female Age: 25-30 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: 163.50 ± 3.41cm (femur) Condition: Excellent Completeness: 94.3% Inventory: All skull and long bones, scapulae, ribs, innominates, patellae, sternum, vertebral column to coccyx-1, MCs and MTs are present and in excellent condition, except for the R pubis which has broken off. Twelve carpals, 22 hand phalanges, 13 tarsals and 24 foot phalanges are inventoried. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-Metopic suture, L frontal grooves, L/R condylar canal patent, R postcondylar process, L foramina ovale and spinosum incomplete, L/R marginal tubercle. Postcranial-L C5 and R C6 transverse foramen bipartite, L/R sacral accessory facets, L/R acromial facets, L/R septal aperture, L/R femoral plaque, L vastus notch, L/R medial squatting facet, R medial talar facet, L/R inferior lateral talar facet, L/R double calcaneal facet. Dental disease: Slight to medium calculus throughout. Labial draining abscess at #9, impacted #32. Osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: Occipital condyles, especially L. Trauma: Well-healed frontal linear depression fracture (10.0 X 4.3mm). Other: Partially lumbarised S1. R partial calcaneal/navicular synostosis joined by fibrous tissue. Sphenoid porosity. MT facets L/R MT1-3 and R MT 4. Skull is noticeably asymmetric. Samples: Hair, skin, brain. Skeleton 1051 Sex: Unknown Age: 21 weeks (Cohort 1: Foetus) Stature: Unknown Condition: Fair Completeness: 76.7% Inventory: Most major skull bones are only partially complete. All long bones are present and undamaged. The scapulae, ilia and L ischium were found as well as 21 vertebral bodies, 36 arches, 22 ribs, 5 MCs, 1 hand phalanx and 5 MTs. Dental inventory:

51 52 53 54 55 | 56 57 58 59 60 70 69 68 67 66 | 65 64 63 62 61

Palaeopathology None observed. GBT 99 Context: Meroitic. Many of the bones from this context were commingled, although some articulation was maintained. Three skulls were recovered and are broken in large segments. The three adults are reassigned as follows:

Skeleton 415A Skeleton 415B Skeleton 415C

Skeleton 415 Skeleton 1070 Skeleton 1069

Skeleton 415 Sex: Female Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: 154.91 ± 4.25cm (humerus) Condition: Poor Completeness: 42.6% Inventory: The major skull bones are present, but broken into medium sized pieces. Damaged long bones include the humeri, femora and tibiae; L clavicle; R radius, ulna and fibula. Vertebrae include 6 cervical, 9 thoracic, 5 lumbar and S1—all damaged. Hands consist of 6 MCs, 6 phalanges and 2 carpals; 7 tarsals, 7 MTs and 6 phalanges were recovered from the feet. Dental inventory:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R supraorbital foramen, R frontal groove, L/R mastoid foramen, R ZF foramen. Dental disease: Substantial resorption of maxillary anterior alveolar bone. Hypercementosis on loose roots. Nonspecific infection affects the posterior surface of the R maxilla and perforates into the sinus. Joint disease: Slight OA on the vertebral column and most joints. Osteophytes are present on both occipital condyles. Trauma: Two proximal foot phalanges have base impactions. An elongated SN traverses L5 on the superior surface. Other: Sinusitis of R maxillary sinus likely linked to dental disease. The spinous process of L5 is bifid with developmental delay on the R side. R MT1 facet. All sutures, except the squamosal, are completely obliterated with the sagittal suture being depressed. Sample: Brain. Skeleton 1069 Sex: Male Age: 17-20 (Cohort 7: 17-20) Stature: Undetermined Condition: Very poor Completeness: 15.5% Inventory: Only the major skull bones are present and broken into large segments. Small pieces of the auricular surfaces and a partial L pubic symphysis were recovered. Dental inventory: The dentition is fragmented and very few pieces fit together.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L frontal groove, L lambdoid ossicles, L parietal foramen, R mastoid foramen, L/R zygomatic and marginal tubercles, L/R ZF foramen. Other: Granulations along endocranial sagittal suture. One large ossicle (14.6mm) spans the occipital and parietal on the R lambdoid suture. Skeleton 1070 Sex: Female Age: 35-39 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 158.79 ± 4.59cm (radius) Condition: Poor. A slash to the L humeral head occurred during excavation. Completeness: 46.2% Inventory: Bones of the skull vault, R maxilla and zygomatic are present, but broken. The ilia and all long bones except for the fibulae are represented to some degree. The fragmentary vertebral column includes 7 cervical, 11 thoracic and 4 lumbar elements. Hands comprise 7 carpals, 7 MCs and 15 phalanges; feet consist of 11 tarsals, 7 MTs and 8 phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Postcranial-L Allen’s fossa, L/R medial talar facet. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: Vertebral osteophytosis, notably the lumbar. The cervical bodies exhibit extensive porosity. Trauma: None. Other: Cribra orbitalia R orbit. The parietal bones are quite thick (10.9mm at the centre break of L parietal) and exhibit slight porotic hyperostosis, which is also present on the superior occipital. Spondylolysis on L process of L5; the R side is broken and it is uncertain whether the anomaly is bilateral. L MT1-3 and R MT1-4 facets. Sample: Brain. Unassigned bones Age: Adult Scapula: 2 L and 2 R lateral borders with glenoid fossae (small: female) Fibula: 1 R proximal and 1 R distal segment; 1 distal L (gracile); fragments Innominate: at least 3 acetabula Sternum: 1 manubrium and sternal body Ribs: 7 L, 8 R tubercles Patella: 1 L Feet: 3 MP 148

GBT 100 Skeleton 972 Context: Meroitic. Completely disarticulated individual retains the original context number. Numerous fragmentary remains were included in the bags associated with the fill and are listed below. Assuming that these fragments are indeed associated with this tomb, the MNI is 4 adults and 1 subadult based on the R proximal ulna. Sex: Female Age: 40-44 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 41% Inventory: Portions of skull vault bones and the R zygomatic are identified. The arm bones, clavicles and scapulae are present, but incomplete. The ribs, innominates, fibulae and femora are extremely fragmented. Vertebrae include fragments of 6 cervical, 10 thoracic and 1 lumbar element. Extremities found consist of 5 MCs, 4 carpals, 3 MTs, 7 tarsals, 19 hand and 5 foot phalanges. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L frontal foramen. Postcranial-L C5 transverse foramen bipartite. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: Slight OA. Trauma: None. Other: Slight cribra orbitalia on L orbit, with R orbit missing. Dorsal pitting on the L/R pubis, 10.4 x 5.9mm and 2.4mm deep on L pubis. The bone is very gracile and light, but not osteoporotic. Unassigned bones Age: Adult Scapula: 2 fragments Humerus: 1 distal L (septal aperture), 1 R proximal shaft Radius: 1 L (250mm, 21.8mm head); 1 L (23.9mm head); 1 L (unfused diaphysis: 255mm, 22.2mm+ head); 1 R head 21.7mm), 1 R head (22.5mm with OA); 1 R head (21.4mm with OA); 1 distal shaft and articular surface with slight OA Ulna: 3 L proximal ulnae; 4 R proximal ulnae; 1 R subadult ulna (292mm, distal end unfused) Fibula: 1 complete L (397mm), 3 distal L, 2 distal R, 15 large shaft fragments Assorted long bone, ribs, innominates fragments GBT 103 Skeleton 979 Context: Post-Meroitic. Original context of in situ skeleton wrapped in textile. Sex: Male Age: 30-43 (Cohort 9: 25-35) Stature: 162.77 ± 3.93cm (femur) Condition: Excellent Completeness: 98.1% Inventory: All bones complete and accounted for except 4 hand and 2 foot phalanges; some damage to R skull vault from excavation. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L supraorbital foramen, L/R lambdoid ossicles, precondylar tubercles, L frontal spinosum, L/R marginal tubercle and ZF foramen. Postcranial-L atlas bridge, L/R C5-6 accessory foramen, L/R acromial facet, L/R femoral plaque, L/R lateral squatting facet, L/R double calcaneal facet. Dental disease: Medium to heavy calculus. Lingual draining abscesses at #9, 25. Joint disease: OA R knee, L/R lunate. Trauma: L MT5 Boxer’s fracture. R frontal BFT (17.32 x 8.29mm) with endocranial healing. Other: Vertebral shifting of 6 lumbar and 4 sacral elements. L/R MT1-3 facets. Samples: Brain, skin. GBT 104 Context: Meroitic. The skeletal remains were heavily commingled with some episodes of articulation. For the most part, 149

the bones are broken and the individuals are incomplete. The consistency of the bone present is quite robust. An MNI of 5 adults is based on the mandible; an infant is represented by a single scapula. The individuals have been assigned a context as follows:

Skeleton A Skeleton B Skeleton C Skeleton D Skeleton E Skeleton F

739 (original context number) 741 (original context number, youth) 1039 1040 1041 (single mandible) 1111 (infant)

Skeleton 739 Sex: Male Age: 35-55 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor Completeness: 12.8% Inventory: Only the mandible represents the skull and few teeth are preserved. Pieces of humeri, ulnae and femora were recovered with fragments of the L scapula, R clavicle and lower leg bones, and the ribs. The pelvic basin and lower vertebral column (T10-sacrum) were disarticulated but associated in situ. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Postcranial-R sacral facet, R medial and lateral squatting facets. Dental disease: Osteoperiodontitis. Joint disease: OA on the distal humeri and ulnae articular surfaces; vertebral articular facets also bear osteophytes. Trauma: None. Other: Prominent MSMs at deltoid and pectoralis major for both arms, as well as ulnae. Skeleton 741 Sex: Male Age: 17-18 (Cohort 7: 17-20) Stature: 167.2cm ± 3.93cm (femur) Condition: Good. Numerous divots and cuts from excavation. Some peeling on long bones, especially femora. Completeness: 47.3% Inventory: The skull vault bones are complete or broken into large pieces; the R mandible is present. The facial bones are more fragmentary with the R zygomatic and maxilla absent. The vertebral column and innominates were found in semi-articulated position and the postcranial is easily matched due to unfused epiphyses. All long bones, scapulae, innominates and patellae are present and though broken they are reasonably robust. The vertebral column is represented by 7 cervical, 8 thoracic, 5 lumbar and 5 sacral elements. Eight ribs are fragmentary. Of the extremities 1 MC, 1 MT, 1 tarsal and 1 foot phalanx were found. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8| 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 32

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal foramen, L marginal tubercle, L ZF foramen. Postcranial-L/R acromial facet and os acromiale. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: None Trauma: SNs were active at the time of death for T11, 12 and L2-5. Other: Actively healing bilateral cribra orbitalia. Skeleton 1039 Sex: Male Age: 45-59 (Cohort 10: 35-50) Stature: 160.66 ± 3.93cm (femur) Condition: Poor Completeness: 27.2% Inventory: Major skull bones are present, but damaged. Portions of long bones except for the L radius and fibula are present; the R femur and patella are complete. Scapulae and innominates are damaged. Four tarsals represent the extremities. 150

Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L/R frontal grooves and foramen, L/R parietal foramen, L accessory lesser palatine foramen, R ZF foramen. Postcranial-L Allen’s fossa, L/R femoral plaque, L femoral exostosis, R vastus notch, L/R lateral squatting facets. Dental disease: Complete alveolar resorption at incisor locations #8-9, 23-26. Osteoperiodontitis exposes about 1/3 of the tooth roots. Joint disease: Osteophytic extensions with moderate intensity on the glenoid fossae, proximal tibiae, L femoral head and acetabulum, distal R femur and patella. A large cluster of surface osteophytes surrounds the L fovea capitus covering an area of 22.1 X 19.1mm. Marginal osteophytes and surface pitting are on the R femoral articular surface. Other: Bilateral sinusitis. Active bone growth on the R wall of the nasal aperture extends into the hard palate (10.5 x 8.8mm). Numerous venous impressions on tibiae. Skeleton 1040 Sex: Female Age: 21-25 (Cohort 8: 21-25) Stature: Unknown Condition: Poor Completeness: 20.3% Inventory: The skull is broken and incomplete with the R temporal, maxilla and zygomatic absent. Fragmentary long bones include the humeri, femora and tibiae with the L ulna. The innominates, R scapula, sternum and sacrum are damaged. Foot bones comprise 7 tarsals and 2 MTs. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Cranial-L parietal foramen, L zygomaxillary tubercle, marginal tubercle and ZF foramen. PostcranialL Allen’s fossa, R femoral plaque, L/R femoral exostosis, R vastus fossa, L/R squatting facets. Dental disease: None. Joint disease: Slight OA L humeral head. Trauma: None. Other: Cribra orbitalia. Skeleton 1041 Sex: Male Age: Adult (Cohort 12: Unaged adult) Stature: Unknown Condition: Very poor Completeness: 2.2% Inventory: Portions of mandible and R maxilla. Dental inventory:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25| 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17

Palaeopathology Non-metric traits: Not observable. Dental disease: No teeth were recovered, but AMTL and osteoperiodontitis are evident. Severe resorption of the molar area at #30-31 that may have been due to a carious lesion or abscess. The bone is not completely resorbed and it is possible that the teeth were present at death. Joint disease: None. Trauma: None. Other: R maxillary sinusitis. Skeleton 1111 Sex: Unknown Age: Newborn (Cohort 2: