The Wendorf Skeletal Collection

The majority of the Wendorf Skeletal Collection was collected during the 1963-65 field seasons during the UNESCO High Dam salvage project. Brief field notes, slides, negatives, photographs and correspondence are available, but the original skeletal analysis notes and data are not included with the archive.

The descriptions of the collections are based on the recent 2003 analysis and reflect the current state of the collection rather than the one published in 1968. The new catalogue provides a detailed methodology of the analytical protocol; raw data collection notes; concordance tables comparing Anderson's original 1968 age and sex assessment of the collection; and quantified preservation inventory tables. The following information is presented for each individual:

Context: Site, Year excavated, Project.
Demographic Profile: Sex, Age, Stature.
Preservation: Percentage of skull, long bones and miscellaneous bone preserved.
Inventory: Skeletal and dental (quantitative and visual).
Palaeopathology: brief description of dental disease (plus dental wear), trauma, osteoarthritis, cultural modification and other.
Notes: brief description of burial anomalies and associations with other individuals.

Jebel Sahaba

The collection contains 24 females and 19 males over 19 years of age, in addition to three unaged and unsexed adults.

The skulls were reconstructed immediately after excavation and, therefore, craniometrics are possible although some of the elements have slumped over the years and require conservation, which is an ongoing project. The dentition is in excellent condition. The long bones shafts are reasonably preserved, but the epiphyses sustained damage during excavation. The remaining postcrania are fragmentary and in the case of the ribs and vertebrae, nearly nonexistent.

There are remains of 13 children ranging from foetal to 15 years, but the bones are extremely fragmentary. The collection is particularly suited to analyses of the dentition, habitual activity and robusticity. One skeleton was radiocarbon dated in 1988 to 13,740bp +/- 600 [Pta-116]; recent efforts to obtain AMS radiocarbon dates were unsuccessful.


Tushka was excavated from 1964-66 and skeletons were recovered from the cemetery, Site 8905, Locality A. These individuals are very fragmentary and in many cases a soil matrix adheres to the bone, which requires extensive conservation. This collection consists of six male and three female adults, one child, and one mixed context of one female and two males.


One individual was recovered from each of the following sites:

Anquash East
Dungul Oasis
Deir El-Fakhuri