Archaeobotanical research in a pharaonic town in ancient Nubia

Philippa Ryan, Caroline Cartwright, Neal Spencer
This contribution discusses ongoing collaborative archaeobotanical research at Amara West, an ancient settlement in Upper Nubia (Northern Sudan). The region of Upper Nubia was occupied by pharaonic Egypt between c.1500 and 1070 bc, and Amara West acted as the administrative centre of the region for the last two centuries of Egyptian rule, from c.1300 bc onwards. Since 2008, a British Museum research project has undertaken excavations at the site to investigate the lived experience of the
more » ... ience of the inhabitants of the town, with a particular focus on seeking evidence of interaction between Egyptians and indigenous populations. This can be tracked through urban architecture, artefact assemblages, funerary preferences, skeletal remains and, perhaps, plant use patterns. The excellent preservation of both settlement and associated cemeteries, including evidence for use during the post-colonial period (1070-800 bc), has allowed recovery of reliable archaeobo-tanical evidence that is being used to study plants used for food, fuel and craft activities. The identification of wood and charcoal from the cemeteries and settlement is ongoing; ultimately this may not only reveal deliberate selection practices but shed some light on changes in local vegetation over time.