QSAP-19: New Finds from Dangeil
Dangeil is located 350 km north of Khartoum. It was an important and powerful royal city during the Kushite Period (7th century BCE to 4th century CE) and is strategically situated at the hub of several trade routes, including those originating from the Red Sea, circumventing the 5th Nile cataract, crossing the Bayuda Desert and coming from the gold mines in the Eastern Desert.
Over the last years, a team from Sudan’s National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (QSAP-19) has conducted excavations within the enclosure of a 1st century CE Amun temple at Dangeil, as the mission is focusing on the reconstruction of the sacred landscape of the late Kushite period in the Berber-Abidiya region.
A most surprising find in the eastern half of the columned temple court was made just recently in a pit that had been cut through the paving of the processional way where an odd-shaped, hard stone was noticed protruding from the fill of this pit. After cleaning, it became evident that it was the kilt and upper thighs of a small granite statue, approximately half life-size. The newly discovered fragment joined other pieces found previously. The king’s name and titles inscribed on the back pillar in hieroglyphs enabled the identification of the statue as being that of the Kushite King Aspelta (6th century BCE).
The western half of the court also contained surprises. Excavations revealed eight intact graves which had been cut through the collapse of the earlier temple. These slot graves were medieval in origin, dating between the late 11th - early 13th centuries CE. They contained burials of adult females and juveniles adorned with jewellery (necklaces, rings, bracelets, anklets, beaded belts) whose bodies had been wrapped in shrouds.