Nowotnick, Ulrike

Ceramic Technology, Production and Use in an Urban Settlement on the Middle Nile

The Pottery Assemblage from Late Meroitic Hamadab, Sudan (2nd to 4th century A.D.)

21.0 x 29.7 cm, 426 p., 1070 illustrations color, 1134 illustrations b/w, hardback
128,00 €

ISBN: 9783752006292
Table of Contents

Short Description

The presentation of a large ceramic corpus from Hamadab, an ancient town on the Middle Nile, provides an important contribution to the research on Meroitic pottery. The systematic analysis of kiln wasters and domestic assemblages of the 2nd to 4th centuries A.D. offers new insights into production technologies and ceramic use in a past African community. By incorporating multiple lines of investigation, including fabric analyses, contextual studies and ethnoarchaeological observations, this book will provide an important methodological framework for future studies.


Excavations in the ancient town of Hamadab (Sudan) have revealed a large urban settlement of the 3rd century B.C. to 4th century A.D. – a once thriving neighbour to Meroe, the capital of Kush. As one of the few well-researched habitation sites in the region, Hamadab has revealed new insights on the way of life in a past African community about 2000 years ago. Archaeological investigations in the town, and particularly of pottery kilns and domestic houses, yielded large quantities of ceramics which provide important categories of data suitable for exploring the role of pottery in craft production and everyday life. They form the basis for an empirical analysis of production technologies and ceramic use; research topics that remain little studied in the archaeology of the Middle Nile region. By evaluating a large ceramic corpus from Hamadab, this book defines, for the first time, a Late Meroitic domestic assemblage. Kiln remains and household ceramics were analysed towards the economic and domestic activities in a Kushite settlement, using the broad potentials of ceramic analysis, such as archaeometric fabric analyses, contextual approaches, use wear traces and ethnoarchaeological observations. The evaluation of scientifically defined fabric groups also incorporates ceramics from the excavations at the Royal Baths in Meroe, which allows for a wider spectrum in studying the changes in Kushite ceramic technology, raw material selection and clay preparation. This book thus provides an important methodological and thematic reference for a Meroitic living assemblage and the analytical basis for understanding wider socio-cultural phenomena in the region.

Biographical Note

Ulrike Nowotnick is a postdoctoral researcher at the German Archaeological Institute with extensive experience in Sudan and Ethiopia. She has specialised on household archaeology, ceramic studies and the application of natural science analyses to reconstruct past lifeways. She is co-directing the excavations at the Meroitic town of Hamadab and her current research focuses on the material culture of food-related practices in eastern Africa.

Series Description

The »TransArea Network Africa« (TANA) of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) serves the purpose of better networking the DAIʼs Africa projects with each other and with its African and worldwide partners. Within this framework, the new series »Archäologische Forschungen in Afrika« (AFA) provides the network with a publication organ. The aim of the series is not only to achieve a better visibility of African research, but also to bundle the numerous research results of the individual departments and commissions working on the African continent. Monographs and collective contributions as well as research foci of the respective departments and commissions of the DAI are published in German, English and French. AFA appears in the uniform layout of the Institute, the different colour design of the cover marks the affiliation to the respective department or commission.


Archaeology (525) || Archaeology by period / region (442) || Ceramic & glass: artworks (49) || Culture (3) || Fine arts: art forms (180) || Keramik (34) || Keramikanalyse || Kultur (47) || Kusch || Material culture (57) || Meroe || Siedlungsarchäologie (22) || pottery analysis || Ägyptologie (30)