InBetween

Reappraising Nubian Identity through Material Culture


INBETWEEN is a theory-driven, comparative reassessment of the Middle Nubian cultures (C-Group, Pan-Grave, and Kerma) during the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1750–1500 BC). The project operates in the liminal spaces between the groups to re-evaluate their relationships with one another, asking how they are the same, how they are different, and if imposed modern cultural divisions are valid. Material culture takes the focus, and an analysis of the relevant chaînes opératoires using cultural phylogeny, entanglement, and border theory will identify shared or differing technological heritages that may reflect corresponding cultural relationships.

The project challenges modern constructs of the Middle Nubian cultures as bounded cultural entities: how did the ancient Nubians perceive their own cultural boundaries? how fluid were they? A deep theoretical investigation of the processes driving cultural change will address questions of how and why cultural components crossed boundaries in certain situations, and what impact this had upon each group’s identity.

INBETWEEN will be the broadest and most up-to-date survey of Middle Nubian material culture available. The acquisition of new skills via training in XRF-spectroscopy and RTI photography to analyse raw material and technological processes will yield concrete evidence to support the project outcomes. Research collaborations exploring the application of archaeological and anthropological theory will further expand my skillset in new directions, building my European network. The theoretical framework makes the project relevant to multiple disciplines, and the resulting monograph and publications will serve as a methodological case study for archaeologists and anthropologists alike. By examining the Middle Nubian cultures in their own right, the project breaks down the boundary between Egyptology and African studies, resituating the Middle Nubians into their broader northeast African context.

Cover image courtesy of The Hierakonpolis Expedition.