The end of the Meroitic period was not spontaneous, it was rather
gradual and is most evident in the shift of building materials from
more durable to more perishable ones.
Mound of a Nobatian King, Ballana. source: W. B. Emery, Nubian Treasure.
London; 1948. Source: Wildung, Dietrich. Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms
of the Nile.
The post-Meroitic period, which starts approximately after 350
CE, is distinguished by the emergence of a new culture in Sudan labeled as the X-Group; the culture is associated with the Nobatian nomadic tribes who migrated from the deserts neighboring the Nile Valley. The X-Group culture shares alot with the older Kerma culture of Kush. This is most evident in burial traditions
where X-Group rulers were buried in tumuli structures, just like
the rulers of Kerma in the past. In Ballana and Qustol, in Lower
Nubia, and at el-Hobagi, Jebel Adda, Jebel Quisi, and Meroe, in Sudan,
X-Group tumuli were located in large numbers; however, most of those
in Sudan have not yet been excavated. The sizes of the tumuli varies
to a great degree. In Ballana the largest of the tumuli measured
77 feet in diameter and 12 meters high.1
Bowl, cup, and Bowl. All made of bronze. Courtesy of the SFDAS and
the Khartoum National Museum. Source: Wildung, Dietrich. Sudan:
Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile.
Niche cut pits represented the common form of burials among the local
population . Although in many burials the deceased were
buried in the extended body position, the X-Group largely favored
a contracted position. The funerary goods also continued to
accompany tombs, though not as luxurious and elaborate as the royal burials in the Meroitic
The tradition of mummification continued among the
high-class members of the population. Most funerary goods included
unique pottery usually polished red and with distinctively little
designs. However many pots were designed in a style closely related
to the Kushite-Napatan and Roman styles of art. Other metal and
bronze weapons like spears and arrows were also found.
Human sacrifices were especially abundant in X-Group tumuli. Animal
sacrifices were also found and has included dogs, camels, and horses. With
the Christianization of Nubia in the sixth century, human and animal
sacrifices largely disappeared and burials were usually done in
Edited: Jan. 2009.