February 26, 2013

Stable isotopes and Nubian/Egyptian relationships

Wikipedia on Tombos site:

Tombos in an archaeological site in Northern Sudan. The village of Tombos was located at the third cataract of the Nile, not far from Kerma near the present Karmah. An important granite quarry was located here in the Pharaonic era. Its stone was used mostly to build statues and buildings between the river delta and the southern regions of the kingdom. A statue to the Pharaoh Taharqa, abandoned for over 2700 years, contains inscriptions. About 3000 years ago, there were pyramids dedicated to ten noble Egyptians. 
In 2000, several discoveries were made by the archaeologist, Professor Stuart Tyson Smith of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Smith and his team discovered the remains of a pyramid more than 3,500 years old, and the buried remains of an Egyptian colonial administrator named Siamun and his wife, Wernu. The two mummies were intact, and were buried with Ushabti figurines, a boomerang, and painted Mycenaean terracotta.[1] The burial chamber includes a series of rooms, some plundered by thieves, while others were undisturbed in whole or in part. Also, an epigraphic survey by the British Museum uncovered pharaonic rock-inscriptions.[2]
Might be interesting to look at DNA from remains from the Tombos site, both the ones mentioned in Wikipedia and the likely Egyptian immigrants mentioned in the following article.

Am J Phys Anthropol DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22235

Strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) variability in the Nile Valley: Identifying residential mobility during ancient Egyptian and Nubian sociopolitical changes in the New Kingdom and Napatan periods

Michele R. Buzon, Antonio Simonetti

As a successful technique for identifying residential mobility in other areas, this study investigates the feasibility of using 87Sr/86Sr analysis to track the movements of the ancient peoples of Egypt and Nubia in the Nile Valley, who interacted via trade, warfare, and political occupations over millennia. Dental enamel from faunal remains is used to examine variability in strontium sources in seven regional sites; human enamel samples are analyzed from eight Nile Valley sites in order to trace human movements. The faunal samples show a wide range of 87Sr/86Sr values demonstrating that some animals were raised in a variety of locales. The results of the human samples reveal overlap in 87Sr/86Sr values between Egyptian and Nubian sites; however, Egyptian 87Sr/86Sr values (mean/median [0.70777], sd [0.00027]) are statistically higher than the Nubian 87Sr/86Sr values (mean [0.70762], median [0.70757], sd [0.00036], suggesting that it is possible to identify if immigrant Egyptians were present at Nubian sites. Samples examined from the site of Tombos provide important information regarding the sociopolitical activities during the New Kingdom and Napatan periods. Based on a newly established local 87Sr/86Sr range, human values, and bioarchaeological evidence, this study confirms the preliminary idea that immigrants, likely from Egypt, were present during the Egyptian New Kingdom occupation of Nubia. In the subsequent Napatan period when Nubia ruled Egypt as the 25th Dynasty, 87Sr/86Sr values are statistically different from the New Kingdom component and indicate that only locals were present at Tombos during this developmental time. 


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