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Opening a grave in antiquity. Formation and Interpretation in the Kingdom of Meroe

Alex de Voogt 1 Francigny Vincent 2, 3
3 OM-MP - Équipe Mondes pharaoniques
SU - Sorbonne Université, OM - ORIENT ET MÉDITERRANÉE : Textes, Archéologie, Histoire
Abstract : During Late Antiquity in the Middle Nile Valley, the cemeteries of the Kingdom of Meroe had their graves visited many times after the first burial took place. Even if robbers left a burial chamber open, it could still be reused soon after for another individual accompanied by a regular funerary ceremony. The term "grave activity" is introduced here to describe any human intervention likely to modify the environment of a tomb. It includes any (re-)opening of the grave related to looting activity or reburial practice. "Grave activity" may affect the structure, the position and presence of one or more bodies as well as the presence (or absence) of funerary deposits. A disturbed grave should be studied by disentangling these activities. This can be achieved with a reconstruction of the chronology and the types of activity as well as the particular consequences of each. While these activities are usually highly confusing to archaeologists, it is shown how a systematic documentation can be used to offer a better understanding and interpretation of Meroitic funerary practices.
Mots-clés : Plunder burial Sudan Nubia
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02539139
Contributor : Vincent Francigny <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 6:35:51 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:58 AM

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Alex de Voogt, Francigny Vincent. Opening a grave in antiquity. Formation and Interpretation in the Kingdom of Meroe. Journal of African archaeology, Frankfurt a. Main : Africa-Magna-Verl, 2012, p. 59-70. ⟨10.3213/2191-5784-10204⟩. ⟨halshs-02539139⟩

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