Pre-Kerma Agglomeration

By its scale and architectural system, the Pre-Kerma agglomeration heralds the future development Nubia will know with the emergence of the city of Kerma.

The agglomeration discovered in 1986 by Charles Bonnet was the object of first excavations until 1988. In 1994, Matthieu Honegger re-opens the excavations with extensive clearings of an area in the centre of Kerma’s eastern necropolis.

The agglomeration constitutes an important step towards the emergence of permanent settlements, where a sedentary lifestyle determined by agriculture progressively takes over migration linked to stockbreeding practices. The agglomeration features a unique architecture that follows a Sub-Saharan tradition. Palisades and buttresses made of posts and added-on earth, organized in a circular arc or parallel rows, surround the habitation huts, animal pens and storage pits. Undoubtedly, this is an important defensive system of which only a portion has been unearthed so far. The presence of this feature and the rectangular buildings, which denote a certain degree of specialization, appear to suggest a form of social complexification unknown in Upper Nubia at this period.

The Pre-Kerma period, dated between 3500 and 2500 B.C., leaves many questions unanswered because of the paucity of identified settlements and the scarcity of discovered burials. At the moment, it is difficult to determine its territorial expansion, its social system and its evolution; nonetheless, it is the cultural substratum from which the Kerma civilisation developed.

 For further information, read the publications of M. Honegger