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Interactions and Pastoralism Along the Southern and Southeastern Frontiers of the Meroitic State, Sudan

Brass, M; (2015) Interactions and Pastoralism Along the Southern and Southeastern Frontiers of the Meroitic State, Sudan. Journal of World Prehistory , 28 (4) pp. 255-288. 10.1007/s10963-015-9089-1. Green open access

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Abstract

The Nilotic Meroitic state, in what is now the Sudan, existed from the late fourth century BC until the mid fourth century AD. It has come to be regarded in recent years as an African segmentary state with a prestige-goods economy, less centralised than, for example, Egypt, with direct control by the ruling family diminished outside the Shendi Reach (central Sudan). Outbound trade from its capital Meroe included ebony, elephants, gold, iron, ivory and ostrich feathers. Trade routes criss-crossed the desert and extended down the Nile river to Greco-Roman Egypt, as well as through Red Sea ports to several Middle Eastern destinations including Egypt. Using the southern and southeastern reaches of the Meroitic state as a case study, I argue that to conceptualise the frontier peripheries of early states as borders is to misunderstand their internal dynamics (movements of people, fluid social networks and regional exchange systems). Each region had its own distinctive form of power relations. Examining how communities in these frontier zones were constituted, inscribed their identities in the landscape and facilitated trade in relation to the core of the Meroitic state in the Shendi Reach draws attention to the fluidity and continual renegotiation of state–pastoral relations.

Type: Article
Title: Interactions and Pastoralism Along the Southern and Southeastern Frontiers of the Meroitic State, Sudan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10963-015-9089-1
Publisher version: http://dxd.oi.org/10.1007/s10963-015-9089-1
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475559
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