The MUAFS logo explained

The ERC DiverseNile project is embedded in the MUAFS project. In a recent post I explained the meaning of the new DiverseNile logo. The MUAFS logo was already created in 2018, but what exactly does it show?

We tried to illustrate the main aims of the project in the logo which is based on a rock art drawing in our concession (see Vila 1976, fig. 22).

Rock art motif at 3-L-24 after Vila 1976, fig. 22.

Within the MUAFS project, the area between Attab and Ferka will be investigated with a biography of a landscape approach and a long durée approach, considering all attested periods; the area is a natural and cultural border zone and therefore relevant for border studies.

We are very much interested in humans and cultural groups inhabiting and shaping the area. Objects and the material culture throughout the time is another of our research aims. Animals and other non-humans like plants will also be considered with priority. And finally, bringing these aspects together, we also focus on general activities and production within this area.

Although I was not aware of it when I chose the specific piece of rock art as the future MUAFS logo, the logo is also graphic evidence for the emergency affecting the project: Modern gold mining, construction works and building activities are endangering the cultural heritage of the area.

The rock art site 3-L-24 in Mograkka East comprising the picture of a herdsman we used for the MUAFS logo is presently buried below sand and debris from recent channel construction.

Present situation of the site 3-L-24: rock art including the MUAFS logo is buried below the debris of modern construction work and no longer accessible.

The area between Attab and Ferka has changed tremendously since the time of Vila – and this will also be illustrated and studied by both the MUAFS and the DiverseNile project in the next years.


Vila 1976 = Vila, A. 1976. La prospection archéologique de la Vallée du Nil, au Sud de la Cataracte de Dal (Nubie Soudanaise). Vol. 4. Paris.

Introducing the new DiverseNile logo

Research projects are of course not comparable with companies selling products and thus the relevance and importance of a proper logo is for sure much lower.

Nevertheless, especially for dissemination purposes, the online presence and to reach our target groups, logos are also essential for us scientists.

A logo graphically represents the corporate identity of a project and is therefore part of its visual appearance. Just as one example, I was extremely proud of the logo for my previous ERC project AcrossBorders which is easy to recognize (I believe).

A logo should hold ideally a signal effect and provide information about the project at one glance – thus, it is not an easy task to design such a logo which also meets aesthetic values underlining the independence of the specific project.

Today, I am very proud to introduce the new DiverseNile logo – as with the MUAFS logo, the original ideas came from my side, but the realisation, complex design and final version are indebted to the creativity of hertha produziert, the Viennese graphic specialists who also produced already the great AcrossBorders image video.

The new logo of my ERC project DiverseNile

So let’s see together what the new logo wants to sell:

The outline of the logo is the exact outline of our concession area. The DiverseNile project will investigate this specific region of the Middle Nile in Sudan as a case study.

The two outstretched arms represent both the very specific course of the Nile in our concession as well as the cultural contacts between Egyptians (coming from the north) and Nubians (coming from the south). We are by now much aware that this cultural contact during the Bronze Age in Nubia did not happen in a one direction only, with the Egyptians as the prominent actors but that technological transfer, exchange and contact occurred in both directions and was very dynamic, including diverse groups of people. To reconstruct the actual cultural diversity in our research concession is one of the prime goals, highlighted by the colourful letters of “Diverse” in the logo. The arms almost touching each other in the logo also illustrate our understanding of contact spaces. Within the DiverseNile project, we comprehend contact spaces as “social spaces where human actors meet, perceive and constitute otherness, clash, and grapple with each other” (Stockhammer and Athanassov 2018: 106).

The slightly different colour shades of the DiverseNile logo symbolise the landscape approach of the project – the Nile as a changing environment and the concession area as a geological border zone are important factors. The colour shades also illustrate the major differences between the East and West banks of the Nile in our concession – with desert environment and open hinterland towards oases and transport routes on the West bank and rocky hills and mountains on the East bank with ancient mining and quarrying activities.

I really hope our efforts in pointing out the most relevant aspects of DiverseNile in this graphic design were successful and will help introducing the new project to our target groups. Feedback is of course much appreciated!


Stockhammer/Athanassov 2018 = Stockhammer, P.W. and Athanassov, B. 2018. Conceptualising Contact Zones and Contact Spaces: An Archaeological Perspective, 93‒112, in: S. Gimatzidis, M. Pieniążek and S. Mangaloğlu-Votruba (eds.), Archaeology across Frontiers and Borderlands. Fragmentation and Connectivity in the North Aegean and the Central Balkans from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. OREA 9. Vienna.

Official start of ERC project DiverseNile

Today is the day – after months of preparation, my new ERC project DiverseNile is now officially running under the grant agreement No. 865463! Many thanks go here first to all the officers in Brussels and the persons here at LMU who made this possible, even in challenging times like we are all experiencing in the last weeks. And of course I am very grateful to my core team who supported the application and without whom this project would not take place!

More information about the main hypothesis and the objectives of the project are now available here. We are still in the process of recruitment and due to the corona crisis this process will take longer than we thought. Nevertheless, for now we can start working at home collecting and processing data which will enable us to challenge the present categories of “New Kingdom”, “Egyptian”, “Nubian” and “Kerma”. Five exciting years have just started!