Cultural mix in funerary customs

The multi-chambered substructure of tomb G244
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    The multi-chambered substructure of tomb G244

The multi-chambered substructure of tomb G244

G244 in cemetery C, discovered in 2013, is one of the most striking and unique examples of Nubian-Egyptian interactions at Amara West. On the surface, the tomb is marked by a large, circular burial mound (tumulus) constructed from alluvial silt and schist stones. This type of superstructure is a classic feature of Nubian funerary customs, in use throughout all periods of Nubian history. Underneath the surface however, the grave comprises a multi-chambered substructure, a typical layout for Egyptian graves. It is by far the largest tomb discovered at Amara up until now and only finds a very small number of parallels in Nubia.

The five burial chambers of a 2.80m deep vertical shaft were used for the interment of at least 20 people including adults and children, perhaps belonging to a family group. Amongst them was also a young man who suffered from cancer, one of the earliest ever found. The large amount of ceramics recovered from this tomb allow for dating it to the 20th Dynasty.

Grave goods and funerary treatment also reflect a multi-cultured picture. The adult individuals were buried in wooden coffins decorated with painted plaster. Even though they follow Egyptian models, aspects of their decorations point to local fabric. Several individuals were provided with scarabs, and jewellery items such as carnelian ear-rings. Buried with the children were fine items like a comb and bracelets made from ivory and objects perhaps representing elements of a game.

In terms of size and wealth of grave goods the tomb by far exceeds the Egyptian-style elite pyramid tombs and perhaps represents the tomb of an elite group with a more traditional Nubian orientation