Old Dongola was the capital city of the Medieval Christian kingdom of Makuria (modern Sudan) from the early 6th to the 14th century. Although the royal court abandoned the city in 1364, it remained an important urban center with extensive residential quarters functioning on and around the citadel hill until the end of the 19th century. An archaeological expedition from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, has been working at Old Dongola since 1964. A new project, “UMMA. Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city”, funded by the European Research Council, was launched in 2018.
UMMA (Arab. for 'community') is a multidisciplinary project conceived of as the first study of the liminal phases of the Christian African community inhabiting Old Dongola and the emergence of a Muslim city-state organized along different social and religious paradigms. The project investigates the impact that the weakening of the central authority and migrations of Arab tribes had on the kingdom’s capital city and its community and seeks to trace patterns of continuity and change on a household level. It is one of the few excavation projects in Sudan systematically conducted on a deep-stratified urban site spanning the Funj period (16th-18th centuries).
This volume is a report from the first, four-month season of fieldwork, which unearthed over 20 residential compounds located within and outside the city walls. The research provides new data on building techniques and organization of space in the city.
This book is published open access. It can be downloaded here.