Save the date: DiverseNile Seminar 2024

We are very excited to announce the start of this year’s DiverseNile Seminar on May 7th with a lecture by Mohamed Bashir (currently Visiting Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU).

The 2024 DiverseNile Seminar Series will focus on current archaeological research on Sudan. We particularly hope to showcase work led by Sudanese colleagues, and to discuss the continuation and possibility of archaeological research despite the ongoing war. More details will be announced soon – but keep Tuesdays, 1 PM (CET) free in your calendar if possible!

Failure in week 5: experiencing major difficulties at Attab West

We all know that science is also all about failure, mistakes, and unexpected events. I have addressed this topic already on several occasions, especially for outreach activities like podcasts, Science Slams and blog posts (see, e.g. All of us working in Sudan also know that despite of the beauty of the country, the great Sudanese people, and the wonderful archaeology here, it takes a good amount of resilience to work here – and flexibility.

Having said this all, it is not my intention to write a just negative piece here, but nevertheless to share at least a small glimpse of all the frustration I experienced this week.

According to plan, I shifted my focus from site AtW 001 to the Vila site 2-S-54 in Foshu where we have been already working earlier this season (when I had to come up with Plan B with the crash of our totalstation). Despite of severe nimiti attacks, all went well on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I was getting all prepared to excavate the original occupation deposit of this well-preserved 18th Dynasty building, when one of the most depressing days of my professional life to far occurred on Tuesday.

I arrived at the site, a bit ahead of my co-worker Mohamed Soubho (since he was kindly pushing the wheelbarrow with our equipment), and could not believe my eyes: every single brick, almost every laid stone block of the structure were simply gone, have been destroyed and smashed to pieces! This destruction was so massive that I was simply speechless and felt completely helpless.

The situation at the site before and after the severe damage.

Yes, of course we documented everything until the destruction, but the original deposits were now simply gone and the previously complete architecture severely damaged, including a deep hole cut into the bedrock in the center of the site.

By the time Mohamed arrived, I had found my voice again, made some phone calls and informed our inspector Huda and the tourism police in Abri and Wadi Halfa. We gave a complete report also to higher authorities in Dongola – it is clear that the destruction must be seen in connection with the increase in modern gold working in the area. And that this poses a major threat for all the other sites located nearby.

Mohamed and I started then cleaning up the mess these looters left when I received a phone call from Kate Rose, who was nearby busy flying our drone. First, I thought her slightly irritated voice is probably because her workman Samer told her about our disaster at Foshu (Mohamed called him of course). But then I realized what she is telling me: for unknown reasons, our drone crashed, simply fell from the sky, from the height of 70m. When a very bad day is about to get worse… and yes – it really did: once we had finished cleaning our mess and I was about to document everything with my camera, the camera did not work… it’s also broken – like site 2-S-54, like our drone, and all of this within a few hours.

Well, by now, thanks to Kate and our colleague and friend Sami from NCAM at Khartoum, we will probably be able to kindly borrow the drone of NCAM in the next days… but the site is lost (and my camera still not working).

Why do I share this with you all? Well, maybe partly out of selfish feelings, I just needed to get all of this out, this was a real nightmare week and not business as usual. But more importantly, I believe that we do not talk enough about things which go wrong in academia and in science – partly because of a false feeling of embarrassment (even if much like in in our case is due to external factors and not to real human-caused errors; not wanting to say that mistakes do not also happen), but most prominently because we are trained that only success and more precisely in archaeology great discoveries count and receive attention. But there is so much more than that, so much is hidden below the surface, so much energy is sapped by all these things which do not work out as planned.

I am very frank here – I consider myself a resilient person, but it took me two days to recover, it really was a shock, especially in combination with the drone and camera. And I am still sad when I see the damaged site I was about to excavate (of course we went back to check if further destruction happened which is not the case…), but I already have specific ideas about the improvement of the protection of our sites in the next years. Although it was impossible for me to continue at 2-S-54 after this disaster, I am now done with its documentation and description, including the pottery analysis for 2023. Despite of a vague sad feeling, I very much appreciate what we documented this season and how much new material and ideas we gained from this amazing site – even if we lost the most crucial part of it.

Archaeology is not just about progress, discoveries, and success – we should be open about the fact that we also constantly fail in many respects, for a great range of different reasons. This then also allows us to appreciate our positive results and working steps even further – because these are rarely what we call in Viennese “a gmahte Wiesn”.

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!

New dissemination article: the 2022 season of the DiverseNile project

Amid the quiet summer break here in Munich, a new dissemination article on the results of the DiverseNile project in the field was published, of course open access (Budka 2022).

In this article, I highlight the results of our excavations in the Kerma cemetery GiE 003. Among others, the remarkable complete set of a red-burnished Kerma pot with a stone lid found in situ on top of the vessel is emphasised. This intriguing mix of materials in the combination of a stone lid and a pottery vessel was also the topic of one of my last posts.

Drone aerial photo of the landscape of the westbank in the MUAFS concession (photo: Cajetan Geiger, ©DiverseNile).

Another theme of this new dissemination article is the importance of gold working sites that are traceable in the entire MUAFS concession areas, at both the east and the west bank of the Nile. I very briefly summarised our first test excavations at the promising settlement site AtW 001 in Attab West which might be related to gold exploitation in the early 18th Dynasty.

Although the results from our first excavation season are only preliminary and excavations at both sites, the Kerma cemetery and the New Kingdom settlement site, will have to continue, they represent already important steps towards establishing Middle Nile contact space biographies beyond cultural classifications.


Budka 2022 = Budka, J., Unearthing unknown archaeological sites in the Attab to Ferka region in Sudan: the 2022 season of the DiverseNile project, The Project Repository Journal 14, July 2022, 80‒83 (

New recruitment: welcoming Chloë Ward in Munich

It is my pleasure to announce a new enforcement of my DiverseNile team: Starting with June, Chloë Ward will work as PostDoc researcher for the next 3 years here in Munich.  She is now responsible for DiverseNile’s Work Package 1 “The variability of domestic architecture in the Attab to Ferka region” and will be able to include in her assessment new results from ongoing fieldwork in the MUAFS concession area as well as all the data available from Vila’s work in the 1970s.

Holding a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, Chloë has extensive experience of archaeological fieldwork, in the UK, Egypt and Sudan. Before joining the DiverseNile project, she also worked at Sanam Temple in Sudan. She previously worked at the British Museum and has taught on archaeology and interdisciplinary modules at University College London.

We are all very happy about this new recruitment – Chloë has just arrived in Munich this week and of course needs some time to get settled, but I am sure you will soon be hearing/reading from her here on our blog. Herzlich Willkommen!

A short summary of the 2022 excavation season

It seems already like ages ago that we left Sudan in mid-April! Here in Munich, all is very busy with the start of the summer term and loads of administrative things. Thus it was a bit silent here on the blog.

With the weekend approaching, it’s time for at least a short summary of our successful spring 2022 season. We collected loads of data which will keep us busy in the next months – I am especially delighted that we were able to excavate cemeteries and also a domestic site. This is perfectly in line with our integrated approach combining funerary and domestic archaeology in the study of the contact space biography of the Attab to Ferka region in northern Sudan.

In our first excavation season with local workmen – who did a great job under the supervision of Rais Ramy – we focused on what was classified as Bronze Age sites in the area of Ginis and Attab.

Part of our local gang of workmen, here at cemetery GiE 003 (photo: J. Budka).

GiE 001 – surface traces of occupation

In the first week of the 2022 season, we worked at GiE 001. Recorded by Vila as 2-T-36B, this domestic site at Ginis East has been assigned to the Egyptian New Kingdom, showing also an intriguing Kerma presence according to the surface finds as well as some Napatan sherds and Christian material. As a follow up to test excavations in 2020, two trenches were excavated to check the sedimentation. Both new trenches in GiE 001 confirm now that there simply is a thin sandy surface layer with much pottery and other finds like stone tools on top of natural alluvial deposits, without any anthropogen remains in the soil. This corresponds to the results from two test trenches in 2020 (Trench 1 and 2, Budka 2020, 66-67). As disappointing as this may sound for something we were hoping to excavate as a New Kingdom settlement site, it is really important for our understanding of site formation processes in the region.

GiE 002 – a small-scale cemetery

Much more successful were the excavations in cemetery GiE 002. Here, the main aim was to check the dating to the New Kingdom as proposed by Vila in the 1970s. We opened a total of eight trenches and one small extension and only discovered two tombs of the pit burial type as described by Vila. All the associated ceramics seem to postdate the New Kingdom respectively start in the very Late New Kingdom.

Overview map of the eight trenches at GiE 002 (map: Max Bergner)

The most interesting burial was Feature 2 in Trench 4 – I already described in an earlier blog post the intriguing long use-life of this tomb.

In the main pit of Feature 2, remains of seemingly original burials were unearthed below the intrusive Medieval burial which was found wrapped in textiles. A minimum of two individuals were found associated with Pre-Napatan/Napatan pottery, including a complete Marl clay vessel.

MUAFS 065, the intact Marl clay vessel from Feature 2 in GiE 002 (photo: J. Budka).

Finally, the oldest burial of Feature 2 was discovered in an extended position in the southern niche of the tomb. It was partly moved during the looting in antiquity but is otherwise complete. With remains of mud bricks which were formerly blocking the niche, this tomb finds close parallels in Missimina (Vila 1980), also as far as the material culture is concerned.

In conclusion, GiE 002 proved to be of more complex character than assumed by Vila – not only simple pit burials were executed on this cemetery, but also pits with side chambers and with mud brick blockings. The date as proposed by Vila needs to be corrected: this small cemetery post-dates the New Kingdom and flourished in the 10th-8th centuries BCE.

GiE003 – a substantial Kerma cemetery

The richest excavation site of the 2022 season was the Kerma cemetery GiE 003 (Vila’s site 2-T-39). It is a large cemetery with an estimate of 150 tombs in an area of 200x100m. We opened two trenches and were lucky enough to be able to show a chronological development. Despite of ancient looting, some of the Kerma burials were nicely preserved and datable by means of finds. A total of 28 pits was excavated. With our Trench 2 in the southern part of the cemetery, we cleaned part of the cemetery which shows large circular pits of the Middle Kerma period.

Map of Trench 2 with Kerma Moyen burials (map: Max Bergner).

In Trench 1 further north, we had mostly rectangular pits, all with depressions on the east and west end for funerary beds, which can be nicely dated to the Classical Kerma period.

Drone aerial photo of work in progress in Trench 1 (photo: Cajetan Geiger).

In general, GiE 003 finds a very close parallel in the cemetery of Ukma in the Second Cataract region (Vila 1987). At our site, the wooden funerary beds are not as nicely preserved and the burials more disturbed, but the pottery is very similar as are pieces of jewelry like beads and other objects.

The Kerma cemetery GiE 003 will be the subject of several future blog posts – Rennan Lemos was responsible for the find documentation and I processed all the ceramics. The results are interesting on various levels. Overall, the burials suggest a certain wealth of the Kerma communities who were living in Attab and Ginis and chose GiE 003 as their last resting place.

AtW 001 – first glimpses on New Kingdom settlement activities on the west bank

Finally, we had stunning results at Attab West at a domestic site we labelled AtW 001. Domestic rubbish deposits from the early 18th Dynasty but also the evidence of overfired ceramics, red bricks and at least one kiln highlight the huge potential of this part of our concession for a variety of research questions. Furthermore, the site is located just next to the new line of electricity poles – and was partly disturbed by this modern construction. In general, there is the urgent need for excavations in the area, especially on the west bank.

Our NCAM inspector Huda Magzoub at the site AtW 001 (photo: Max Bergner).

Altogether, the 2022 excavation season of the DiverseNile project within the framework of the MUAFS project enables us to approach previously little-known cemeteries but also domestic sites with new ideas. Our work resulted in an advanced level of understanding chronological patterns and social implications connected with Kerma and New Kingdom remains in the region and will serve as the basis for future studies.


Budka 2020 = J. Budka, Kerma presence at Ginis East: the 2020 season of the Munich University Attab to Ferka Survey Project, Sudan & Nubia 24, 2020, 57-71.

Vila 1980 = A. Vila, La prospection archéologique de la Vallée du Nil, au Sud de la Cataracte de Dal (Nubie Soudanaise). Fascicule 12: La nécropole de Missiminia. I. Les sépultures napatéennes. Paris 1980.

Vila 1987 = A. Vila, Le cimetière Kermaique d’Ukma Ouest. Paris.

‚Digging‘ in the Sudan National Museum storeroom

This MUAFS/DiverseNile season is divided in two fronts: there will be simultaneous work on site and in Khartoum. I’m working in the storeroom at the Sudan National Museum together with Shadia Abdu and the assistance of various colleagues from NCAM with the aim to document objects previously excavated by Vila in the region from Attab to Ferka. This is a crucial step for us to better understand the sites located in the project’s concession area and to design future excavation and research strategies, especially concerning the cemeteries I’m investigating for DiverseNile’s work package 2.

The storeroom of the Sudan National Museum is an endless source of invaluable information about all things Sudan and Nubia. It’s a great privilege and amazing experience to be able to go through drawers and shelves containing not only all sorts of objects, but also glimpses of the history of archaeology in Sudan, including the drawer cabinets themselves, which were designed by Arkell to contain ancient objects (fig. 1). Arkell later brought the same design to the Petrie Museum in London

Fig. 1: drawer cabinet designed by Arkell at the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum (photo by R. Lemos, courtesy of the SNM)

The objects kept at the SNM hold an enormous research potential not only for us to re-contextualise archaeological sites, but also to carry out new analyses and answer questions that archaeology back then didn’t really think about asking. For example, reassessing the pottery from various tombs is important for us to understand the (re)use history of archaeological contexts inside and around cemeteries (fig. 2).

Fig. 2: a selection of the vessels I’m re-documenting, mostly from tomb 3-P-50 at Ginis West (photo by R. Lemos, courtesy of the SNM)

Tomb 3-P-50 at Ginis West is one of the most important burial contexts that I’m currently looking at. After some preliminary observations based on material published in the 1970’s, I was able to put forward some questions and hypotheses that help us move research forward. Now I have the chance to carry out a first hand study of some of the objects from inside tomb 3-P-50—including my favourites, the pretty shabtis of lady of the house Isis (fig. 3). This is important as it allows me to ask more in depth questions to move forward.

Fig. 3: one of the green faience shabtis of lady of the house Isis from tomb 3-P-50 at Ginis West + SNM object card (photo by R. Lemos, courtesy of the SNM)

It’s a great opportunity to be able to work in the Sudan National Museum storeroom. As a material culture person, I feel privileged and humbled to be able to handle with my own hands the results of years and years of archaeology in Sudan, carefully kept by our wonderful colleagues at NCAM. Working inside the SNM is certainly a great way of closing this dreadful year. May the next year be better for all of us! Cheers from Khartoum!

Another recruitment: introducing our new student assistant Iulia

I am very happy that from yesterday onwards, Iulia Comşa has joined the ERC DiverseNile project as a new student assistant. She will complement Sawyer Neumann and together they will help us with post-fieldwork processing, image editing, digital drawings, scanning and other tasks.

Iulia is a BA student in Egyptology at LMU and joint our last course in practical fieldwork about which she also wrote a blog post earlier this year. She is much interested in field archaeology in Egypt and Sudan and makes a perfect addition to our team. During the practical class (which was held online due to the pandemic), Iulia turned out to be also a very talented cook baker – her “stratigraphy cake” was very impressive!

Stratigraphy cake by Iulia for our practical class in March 2021 (photo: Iulia Comşa)

Welcome to the team, we are all very much looking forward to our future collaboration!  

Start of the DiverseNile Seminar Series 2021

Time flies as usual and our DiverseNile Online Seminar Series will commence with a first presentation by Elena Garcea tomorrow.

The Seminar Series under the general topic of “Cultural Diversity in Northeast Africa” has a wide chronological and regional scope and we will start with a view from Prehistoric Sudan. I am more than happy that we have one of the renown experts in this field as our first speaker: my dear friend and colleague Elena Garcea from the Università degli studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale.

I first met Elena 10 years ago while we were both working on Sai Island – ever since, she has become a close friend and collaborator to which I owe fruitful comments, advices and plenty of discussion on various occasions. Elena collaborated already with the AcrossBorders project and one of the outcomes is a joint article which appeared in Antiquity in 2017, with Giulia D’Ercole (one of Elena’s former students) as the corresponding author (D’Ercole et al. 2017).

Here, it became very obvious that a shared view from Prehistoric and Bronze Age Sudan can result in interesting insights and pose a number of relevant questions. The long settlement sequence on Sai over millennia provided an excellent opportunity to study continuity and discontinuity in long-term pottery traditions. Thanks to Elena, we presented a preliminary version of this research at the 14th Congress of the Pan African Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies, hosted from July 14-18 2014 by the University of the Witwatersrand at Johannesburg, South Africa. This trip to South Africa was in many respects rewarding and one of my personal highlights of congress experiences.

Elena’s research is mostly focusing on the last hunter-fishers-gatherers and early food producers and users of domestic plants and animals in Sudan. All of her interpretations are always reflecting recent theoretical perspectives, in particular technical knowledge accumulation, storage strategies and optimal foraging theory. She has undertaken fieldwork not only in Sudan but also in Libya and Niger. In Sudan, she has worked in different parts of the country: Khartoum province and Jebel Sabaloka (central Sudan), Karima and Multaga-Abu Dom areas, Sai Island and Amara West district (northern Sudan).

Elena recently published a book on the Prehistory of Sudan (Garcea 2020). In my view this is an excellent piece of work, not only for students but for anyone who wants to understand the early history of Sudan within a wide framework. The book profits from more than thirty years of field experience and brings together this expertise with analyses in laboratories, conference presentations and numerous publications to develop a differentiated picture of Prehistoric Sudan.

I am personally very much looking forward to this kick-off of the DiverseNile Seminar Series! For those of you who I could convince that it will be clearly worth to attend Elena’s lecture: participation is free but registration via email is mandatory. See you all tomorrow!


D’Ercole, G., Budka, J., Sterba, J., Garcea, E., & Mader, D. 2017. The successful ‘recipe’ for a long-lasting tradition: Nubian ceramic assemblages from Sai Island (northern Sudan) from prehistory to the New Kingdom. Antiquity, 91(355), 24-42. doi:10.15184/aqy.2016.262

Garcea, E. 2020. The Prehistory of Sudan. Berlin.

Von der Luftbildarchäologie zur Stratigraphie und zum Digitalen Zeichnen

Luftbildarchäologie (Sawyer Michael Neumann)

Das Analysieren von Luftbildern ist ein wichtiger Bestandteil der archäologischen Prospektion, um einen Bereich zu finden, der sich für eine Ausgrabung anbietet. Hierfür werden die Bilder nach interessanten Strukturen abgesucht, die möglicherweise antik und nicht modern sind. Manchmal sind die erkannten Strukturen ganz klar als spezifische Strukturen einer archäologischen Kultur zu erkennen, so sind z.B. die Umrisse von Hügelgräbern und römischen Kastellen besonders gut in einem Luftbild zu identifizieren, sofern sie nicht von anderen Strukturen gestört sind. Weiterhin kann mithilfe von Luftbildern das ganze Ausmaß eines Fundplatzes ermittelt werden, beispielsweise bei einer Siedlung, wenn mehrere Gebäudereste, wie Mauern oder Pfosten, zu erkennen sind.

Doch wie sind Befunde in einem Luftbild zu erkennen? In einem Gebiet, in dem viel Landwirtschaft betrieben wird und es viele Felder gibt, können anhand der Bewuchsmerkmale der Pflanzen, Strukturen, die im Erdreich liegen, erkannt werden. Pflanzen oberhalb von Gruben und Gräben wachsen oftmals besser, somit sind sie größer und kräftiger als die restlichen Pflanzen. Umgekehrt gilt das Gegenteil, wenn diese auf Mauerresten und Strukturen, die aus Stein bestehen, wachsen. Hier sind sie kleiner und schwächer als die umliegenden Pflanzen. Frischer Schnee ist ebenfalls hilfreich, um Strukturen sichtbar zu machen, wenn er auf Strukturen besser liegen bleibt oder wegschmilzt. Es bietet sich oft an Luftbilder in den Morgen- oder Abendstunden anzufertigen, da hierbei der längere Schattenwurf dank der oben genannten Gründe, besser sichtbar ist. Natürlich sind dadurch auch Schatten von Strukturen erkennbar, die höher oder tiefer gelegen sind als der Mutterboden. Weiterhin können Verfärbungen des Bodens, vor allem auf Flächen oder Regionen, in denen kaum Bewuchs besteht, auf Befunde hinweisen.

Wälder hingegen behindern das Anfertigen von Luftbildern auf die herkömmliche Weise. Hier empfiehlt sich das Benutzen anderer Methoden, wie z.B. der LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) Scan, bei dem mithilfe eines Laserimpulses die Höhenunterschiede zwischen Boden und Scanner unterhalb der Baumkronen gemessen werden und mithilfe des Computers ein akkurates Bild ergibt. Allerdings ist diese Methode um einiges kostenintensiver als das herkömmliche Erstellen von Luftbildern.

Da diese Methode jederzeit von Zuhause aus durchgeführt werden kann, ist sie ein netter Einblick um den Alltag der Archäologie auch ohne eine Exkursion zu erfahren. Wer nun ein bisschen nach Befunden stöbern möchte, kann sich auf den folgenden Webseiten ein paar Luftbilder anschauen:

  • Das bayerische Landesamt für Digitalisierung, Breitband und Vermessung bietet kostenpflichtige, dafür aber hochauflösende Luftbilder für den gesamten Raum Bayerns an.
  • Allerdings bieten sie auch ein Portal an, das zwar weniger auflösend ist, wo man jedoch ganz Bayern betrachten kann und sich von dort aus, dann spezifische Luftbilder heraussuchen kann, falls man diese erwerben möchte.
  • dagegen bietet ein Online Luftbild Archiv, das für die Archäologie spezifisch ist.
  • Generell ist aber auch Google Earth, dass dank Satellitenbildern den ganzen Globus erfasst hat zu empfehlen, um sich interessante Orte herauszusuchen und größere Strukturen zu entdecken.

Stratigraphie (Sarah Regina Krinner)

Wenn man sich mit der Archäologie beschäftigt ist die Ausgrabung ein Bestandteil, der nicht wegzudenken ist. Genauso wie die Bedeutung und die Methoden der Stratigraphie.  

Eine mögliche Definition des Wortes Stratigraphie ist, dass es sich um eine Abfolge von Schichten handelt. Welche beschreibt, dass die unteren Sedimentschichten älter sind als die Sedimentschichten, die sich darüber befinden. Auch ist diese Definition unter dem Gesetz der Überlagerung oder des Stratigraphischen Prinzips bekannt. Eine weitere Definition beschreibt die Stratigraphie als das Darstellen einer Stratifizierung, die Interpretation, Dokumentation und die Beobachtung von einem archäologischen Fundplatz. Mit beiden Definitionen als Anhaltspunkt ermöglicht die Stratigraphie zum einen die chronologische Abfolge der Schichten relativ zueinander in ein Verhältnis zu setzen und zum anderen durch die Vergesellschaftung von Funden diese kontextuell einordnen zu können.

Um mit dem Zusammenspielen der Schichten auch nach dem Dokumentieren vor Ort visuell sichtbar zu arbeiten entwarf Edward Harris ein Modell, welches einem ermöglicht die stratigraphischen Schichten in ein graphisches Modell umzusetzen. Hierfür nutzte er für die Beschreibung der Schichten zueinander die Bedingungen unter, über, neben und unbekannt. Das Kriterium, welches die Schichten voneinander abgrenzt, ist die Grenze/Interface zu den jeweiligen Schichten. Das Ziel ist das Erstellen einer Sequenz von Kontexten und der Beobachtung, welche zu einem Schema der zeitlichen Staffelung von Schichten führt.

Jedoch gibt es bei diesem Modell einige Voraussetzungen und Probleme. Es setzt das Graben in natürlichen Schichten voraus und das Erstellen der Stratigraphie im direkten Anschluss an die Grabung. Das wichtigste ist das Verständnis der Schichtgrenzen/Interfaces. Die Natur der Kontexte, der Kulturschichten, die Störung oder der Sedimente sind für das Modell nicht erforderlich oder von Bedeutung. Zudem erklärt das Modell weder die Schichten, noch steigert es das Verständnis an ihnen.

Um einige dieser Probleme zu beheben empfiehlt sich das Nutzen des Harris Matrix Composers. Welches ein Computerprogramm ist, um Schichten sichtbar voneinander abzugrenzen und zu organisieren. So kann man in dem Programm Perioden und Phasen in Boxen darstellen, welche mit Kommentaren versehen werden können, auf die Ausgrabungsseite verweisen, Einheiten mit „noch nicht ausgegraben“ beschriften und eine Veränderung des Graphikdesigns erkennen, je nach Veränderung des Erscheinungsbilds des Modells.


Die grundlegende Schwierigkeit ist, dass die Kontexte dreidimensional sind, während die Dokumentation zweidimensional ist. Zudem sind die Schichten nicht immer natürlich entstanden, sondern von Menschenhand gemacht. Wie das Graben einer Grube, das Füllen einer Grube, das Wegwerfen von Müll oder das Bauen einer Mauer. Auch verlaufen die Schichten nicht horizontal, was ein Problem bei der Verfolgung von Schichtgrenzen ist.

Die Harris Matrix bietet die beste Möglichkeit Schichten in eine zeitliche Staffelung zu setzen. Der Harris Matrix Composer ist für jede*n Archäolog*in ein praktisches Tool und die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Programm lohnt sich bereits für Studienanfänger*innen.  

Links für weiterführende Literatur:

Digitales Zeichnen in der Archäologie (Tuğçe Zinal)

Das digitale Zeichnen ist für die Archäologie ein wichtiger Arbeitsschritt, um Funde zu dokumentieren. Wie wir alle wissen, ist das Zeichnen und Dokumentieren der Funde ein wichtiger Bestandteil für die Archäologie, sei es nur eine Münze, eine Keramikscherbe, ein Teil einer Statuette oder auch die verschiedenen stratigraphischen Schichten, all das muss aufgrund der „kontrollierten Zerstörung“ aufgezeichnet werden. Jedoch können Details der Funde „verloren gehen“, wenn nicht sorgfältig dokumentiert wird.

Ein Foto der Objekte allein ist meist nicht ausreichend, da bestimmte Aspekte wie die Form, Farbe oder besondere Merkmale wie Information über die Herstellung usw. verloren gehen können.

Durch die Handzeichnungen können die Exponate viel detaillierter analysiert und dokumentiert werden, da man sich hier mit dem Fund auf Anhieb differenziert auseinandersetzt und es sehr genau betrachtet. Da diese aber mit der Zeit aufgrund von äußerlichen Faktoren wie Wasser, Schmutz, Risse etc. verblassen, ist es sehr wichtig sie nochmals als digitalisierte Handzeichnung zu fertigen.

Wie genau funktioniert das?

Als erstes wird die Handzeichnung mittels eines Scanners eingescannt und anschließend mit einem Grafikprogramm, wie beispielsweise „Adobe Illustrator“ oder „Affinity Designer“ bearbeitet. In unserem Seminar „Grabungspraktikum“ wurde uns „Affinity Designer“ empfohlen, da hier die Handhabung, in Gegensatz zum „Adobe Illustrator“, einfacher ist. Nachdem die eingescannte Zeichnung in dem Programm geöffnet wurde, fängt man an durch die gezielte Schaffung der jeweiligen Ebenen darauf zu zeichnen, die Linien nachzufahren, miteinander zu verbinden oder Felder auszufüllen. Am Ende hat man von der Handzeichnung eine digitalisierte Version, auf der Fehler direkt korrigiert werden können.

Hierdurch entsteht noch eine Möglichkeit, die Zeichnungen digital abzuspeichern und diese dann direkt in den wissenschaftlichen Publikationen zu verwenden.

Das positive an unserem Online Seminar über „Zoom“ war, dass durch die Funktion der Bildschirmfreigabe jeder sein Bildschirm teilen konnte, damit die Dozentin bei Schwierigkeiten mit dem Programm gleich eingreifen und uns weiterhelfen konnte. Die Handhabung der ganzen verschiedenen Werkzeuge, Techniken oder Anwendungsmöglichkeiten der einzelnen Funktionen konnte uns ohne weiteres auch digital übermittelt werden. Nach mehreren Anläufen waren wir alle selbstständig in der Lage, digitale Handzeichnungen zu fertigen (siehe Abb.1-3.)

Als Fazit kann man sagen, dass ein Onlinekurs über „Digitales Zeichnen“ durchaus viel Wissen mit sich brachte und optimal von zu Hause ausgeübt werden kann.

Um sich einen besseren Einblick zum Thema „digitales Zeichnen“ zu verschaffen, empfiehlt es sich dieses Video anzuschauen:

Die Autor*innen sind BA Studierende der Archäologie an der LMU.