Archaeological Survey of Nubia [Editor]; Ministry of Finance, Egypt, Survey Department [Editor]
Bulletin — 5.1909(1910)

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THE

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF NUBIA.

BULLETIN No. 5.

archaeological report.

The Destruction of the Cemeteries in the Neighbourhood

of Dakka.

By C. M. FIRTH.

The half-season's work of the Archaeological Survey of Nubia,
with which this Bulletin deals, was the excavation of the cemeteries
and buildings of the ancient district of Pselchis. The great plain
of Dakka consists of a wide expanse of ancient alluvium resting on
the Nubian sandstone. The portion to be dealt with in this prelimin-
ary report is about eight kilometres long by cne-and-a-half broad.
The ground presents many analogies with tbat of Koshtamna, only on
a larger scale. There was the same Ptolemaic-Koman cemetery with
graves of the Early Dynastic period scattered through it; the same
large C-group cemetery with sand-buried superstructures and pottery
only just preserved by this very chance from entire removal by sebakh-
digging. Cemeteries succeed each other throughout the eight kilo-
metres, and where the sebakh-digging in ancient and modern times
has been active, the disturbed surface strewn with fragments of bone
and pottery affords evidence that, in that part at least of the alluvium
which adjoins the desert, there was hardly a square metre of suitable
ground which had not been utilized for burial. There is no doubt
that the whole plain was at one time cultivable either by direct irri-
gation from the river, or, as at present, from deep wells in the alluvium.
It would appear that the water percolates into these from the river,
perhaps along the horizontal junction of the sandstone and the allu-
vium, and this percolation is favoured by the fact that the alluvium
appears to be actually deeper in the centre of the plain than at the
river bank, although accompanied by no corresponding rise in the
level of the ground, but rather the reverse, as one goes inland from
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