All set for the official start of the excavation season 2023

It has been a busy week – arriving in Khartoum, finishing the paperwork, travelling to the north, arriving in Ginis, settling in our digging house, sorting the material and equipment and organizing the gang of workmen for our excavations as well as the boat transport to the west bank. All went very smoothly thanks to great support from our Sudanese friends and colleagues, especially the help of our inspector Huda, our friends Waleed in Khartoum and Magzoub here in Abri as well as our driver Imad and cook Ali.

Just great to be back in oir digging house in Ginis!

We will start with extended excavation in the small settlement AtW 001 – in 2022, a first test trench provided interesting results, suggesting that there was a use at the site from Classic Kerma times through the Thutmoside period (for details see Budka 2022).

We managed to prepare everything for our first day of excavation tomorrow: Chloe and Sofia set up the new grid and took all necessary measurements, I was busy with taking micromorphological soil samples from the section of our 2022 trench – Huda was a great help here, not only in taking working pictures.

Taking our first micromorphological samples at AtW 001.

It was the first time I took these samples using plaster of paris, quick-setting gypsum plaster – and although the sediment is partly very soft and challenging to sample, it worked really well. We hope that the analysis of these samples will allow us a more detailed understanding whether our excavated area was an open space or a roofed space, what kind of activities apart from the visible fire places and the dumping of food waste are traceable and much more! Very exciting, especially since we did not yet find standing architecture although loose mud bricks are present at the site.

Today is our day off and tomorrow we will start week 1 of excavations at AtW 001 with our local workmen – stay tuned, this site is really full of potential!


Budka 2022 = J. Budka, Early New Kingdom settlement activities in the periphery of Sai Island: towards a contextualisation of fresh evidence from Attab West, MittSAG – Der Antike Sudan 33, 2022, 45‒61.

Arrival in Sudan: getting the 2023 field season prepared

While winter is back in Munich, Chloe, Sofia and I have safely arrived in Khartoum this night. It’s wonderful to be back in Sudan and we cannot wait to be heading to the north on Monday insha’allah. Paperwork and shopping still need to be done, but then all is set.

In the field in the Attab to Ferka region we will be busy with several tasks:

  • Excavations at Ginish East and Attab West, especially the continuation of work at the Kerma cemetery GiE 003 and at the intriguing settlement site AtW 001
  • Survey in various areas, especially on the west bank and into the desert
  • Drone Aerial Photography in all of the concession area, but especially on the west bank.

Furthermore, we plan some ethnoarchaeological research about pottery making and goldworking/goldsmithing and metal working.

The 2023 team comprises all our ERC DiverseNile staff – Chloe, José, Kate, Giulia and Sofia. I am delighted that our team will be strengthened by two students of Al-Neelain University (Tasabeh Obaid Hassan and Mohamed Abdeldaim Khairi Ibrahim) and one PhD Candidate from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles (Matei Tichindelean). Our NCAM inspector will be our old friend and colleague Huda Magzoub who has been supporting us in the last years.

We have a very promising 2-month season ahead of us and we will keep you updated (if the connection in the north allows it ;-)).

DiverseNile Seminar Series 2023

It’s been a busy start to the year here in Munich with our upcoming field season in Sudan. However, the organisation for this year’s DiverseNile Seminar Series by Chloe Ward is well under way and we hope to have a full programme for you soon. For now, we are delighted to announce that the first talk will be given by our very own Kate Rose (PostDoc of the DiverseNile project) on Tuesday 25th of April (13-14 CET).

The theme of this year’s DiverseNile Seminar Series will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to archaeological research in the Nile Valley. This ties in well with the aims of the DiverseNile project and will allow us to reflect on the wide range of methods and theories that can be used in archaeological research. Other speakers for the series will include Fatma Keshk (IFAO/PCMA), Carl Walsh (Barnes Foundation), and Frederik Rademakers (British Museum).

We are very much looking forward to see you all at these online seminars – stay tuned for the detailed programme!

New year, new team member: a warm welcome to José

Last year I spent the turn of the year in Sudan. This year our field work is a little later, but there are other very happy events on the occasion of the new year. It is my great pleasure to welcome our new PostDoc of the DiverseNile project in Munich today.

Jose arrived on January 1, 2023 in Munich and started his employment at LMU today.

Jose Manuel Alba Gomez is an archaeologists and Egyptologists with a wide range of interests and much fieldwork expterise in funerary archaeology. From 2009 onwards, he was a team member of the Proyecto Qubbet el-Hawa of the University of Jaén, Spain; for several years he acted as the co-director of this important archaeological mission in Aswan, Egypt.

Jose shares my interest in pottery and I am delighted that he is now strengthening our DiverseNile team. His prime focus will be Work Package 2, the variability of funerary monuments in the Attab to Ferka region.

Our objective to illustrate on the level of funerary practices the cultural diversity in the MUAFS concession in northern Sudan by disentangling burial grounds from previous cultural categorisations, will be addressed later in January with new excavations at Ginis. The Kerma cemetery GiE 003 (Vila’s site 2-T-39) comprises approximately 150 tombs – our excavations in 2022 yielded already 28 burial pits, but more data from this key site in our concession are needed. GiE 003 clearly promises an exciting start for Jose – welcome again to Munich and to our team!