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Surface surveys undertaken by Michael Hoffman in 1978 and Fred Harlan in 1983 revealed the presence of three discrete cemeteries with Nubian traits. HK21A and HK47 located at opposite edges of the site; and HK27C in the center, near the Fort. In the winter of 2001 (with continuing excavations in 2003 and 2007) the Hierakonpolis Expedition made preliminary investigations into this Nubian presence in order to understand its significance for the history of the site and this region of the Nile Valley as a whole.

nubian map

All three were assumed to belong to the Pan Grave culture--Nubian mercenaries, probably the Medjay of Egyptian sources, who were brought in to defend Egypt during the troubled times of the Second Intermediate Period. However, to our surprise HK27C turned out to belong to the Nubian C group, representing the northernmost occurrence of this culture in Egypt, and dated to the Middle Kingdom, a time about which we know little at Hierakonpolis. Study of the Egyptian pottery in these cemeteries, indicates that the Pan Grave cemeteries (HK21A and HK47) date to the 13-17th Dynasties (Second Intermediate Period), while the C-Group cemetery (HK27C) can be dated to the 11th to mid 12th Dynasty, with diminishing activity thereafter.

nubian c group cem

Our excavations of the Pan Grave and C-Group Nubian cemeteries, the first to be undertaken since the Nubian salvage campaign in the 1960s have augment the record for both of these poorly understood populations and revealed many intriguing details about their presence at Hierakonpolis.

nubian pan grave cem


For an overview on the Nubian cultures at Hierakonpolis see:

For evidence of A-Group Nubians at Hierakonpolis see:


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