Funerary landscapes are eminent results of the relationship between environments and superstructural human behavior, spanning over wide territories and growing over centuries. The comprehension of such cultural palimpsests needs substantial research efforts in the field of human ecology. The funerary landscape of the semi-arid region of Kassala (Eastern Sudan) represents a solid example. Therein, geoarchaeological surveys and the creation of a desk-based dataset of thousands of diachronic funerary monuments (from early tumuli up to modern Beja people islamic tombs) were achieved by means of fieldwork and remote sensing over an area of*4100 km2. The wealth of generated information was employed to decipher the spatial arrangement of sites and monuments using Point Pattern Analysis. The enormous number of monuments and their spatial distribution are here successfully explained using, for the first time in archaeology, the Neyman-Scott Cluster Process, hitherto designed for cosmology. Our study highlights the existence of a built funerary landscape with galaxy-like aggregations of monuments driven by multiple layers of societal behavior. We suggest that the distribution of monuments was controlled by a synthesis of opportunistic geological constraints and cultural superstructure, conditioned by the social memory of the Beja people who have inhabited the region for two thousand years and still cherish the ancient tombs as their own kin’s.

Creating the funerary landscape of eastern Sudan / S. Costanzo, F. Brandolini, A. Zerboni, H. Ahmed, A. Manzo. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - 16:7(2021 Jul 07), pp. e0253511.1-e0253511.24. [10.1371/journal.pone.0253511]

Creating the funerary landscape of eastern Sudan

A. Zerboni
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2021-07-07

Abstract

Funerary landscapes are eminent results of the relationship between environments and superstructural human behavior, spanning over wide territories and growing over centuries. The comprehension of such cultural palimpsests needs substantial research efforts in the field of human ecology. The funerary landscape of the semi-arid region of Kassala (Eastern Sudan) represents a solid example. Therein, geoarchaeological surveys and the creation of a desk-based dataset of thousands of diachronic funerary monuments (from early tumuli up to modern Beja people islamic tombs) were achieved by means of fieldwork and remote sensing over an area of*4100 km2. The wealth of generated information was employed to decipher the spatial arrangement of sites and monuments using Point Pattern Analysis. The enormous number of monuments and their spatial distribution are here successfully explained using, for the first time in archaeology, the Neyman-Scott Cluster Process, hitherto designed for cosmology. Our study highlights the existence of a built funerary landscape with galaxy-like aggregations of monuments driven by multiple layers of societal behavior. We suggest that the distribution of monuments was controlled by a synthesis of opportunistic geological constraints and cultural superstructure, conditioned by the social memory of the Beja people who have inhabited the region for two thousand years and still cherish the ancient tombs as their own kin’s.
Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia
Settore L-ANT/01 - Preistoria e Protostoria
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/849954
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