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The aftermath of the Roman frontier in Lower Nubia.

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Rose, Pamela Jane 


This dissertation seeks to explore the nature of the occupation of Lower Nubia between the third and sixth centuries A.D. through a study of the material culture of the 'X-group', and the cultural influences exerted thereupon. It draws upon a detailed examination of artefactual evidence and particularly ceramics from published and unpublished sites throughout the study area, with especial reference to unpublished data from the citadel of Qasr Ibrim which both the archaeological and historical records indicate to have been of key importance at this time. The study concludes that the previously assumed homogeneity of 'X-group' material culture cannot be accepted for much of the period under consideration, and that separate cultural traditions can be identified which indicate the settlement of new groups within the area alongside the small pre-existing population. These can now be more successfully linked with historical sources than has previously proved possible, and also provide clear evidence of the mechanisms by which the late Roman administration in Egypt sought to maintain stability in the territory immediately beyond its southern frontier. Ceramics are used extensively in the study in the assessment of the cultural influences present in Lower Nubia, their effect on local production, and their significance. Particularly important is the definition of a previously unrecognised 'post-Meroitic' ceramic assemblage of limited distribution, which is clearly antecedent to the well-known 'X-group' ceramic tradition. Ceramics also provide evidence of dating, and were used in seriation analysis in order to investigate more closely the chronology and sequence of occupation of Lower Nubia.


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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge