Publication: Small Enclosures, Big Meals

Attribution & Copyright: Sudanarchäologische Gesellschaft zu Berlin e.V.

Article – Project 2 – Connecting Foodways

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The Small Enclosure of Musawwarat, Sudan, is a prestigious residence with designated areas for living and for economic activities, which was used to accommodate and supply high-ranking guests. The find objects, which were excavated as early as 1961, are now part of the Sudan Archaeological Collection at Humboldt University in Berlin. These were examined by the Connecting Foodways project in 2019, specifically to study ancient cooking traditions.

Of special importance is the kitchen tract of the Small Enclosure. Its finds and features revealed how food preparation at this particular site differs from urban settlements in the Nile Valley. However, neither cooking installations nor ceramic vessels differ from the usual patterns of Meroitic food processing. The cooks of the Small Enclosures used the same utensils, foodstuffs, and practices as those along the Nile. Yet, a much larger scale of cooking activities is indicated by a multitude of storage vessels, basins, and cooking pots. Numerous jars and small jar lids point to enormous capacities for storing grain and liquids. The culinary activities in the Small Enclosure, therefore, served to feed larger groups, presumably those that attended specific festivities at Musawwarat. The elevated status of the building is thus reflected in the amount of food served to a larger number of people.

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