Meinarti

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An island in the middle of the Nile, at the foot of the Second Cataract, 346 km upriver from Philae. A sizable community was first established here in Late Meroitic times, and continued to be occupied until after the end of the Christian period. It was in the end a high mound and the most clearly stratified site in the whole of Nubia, having five distinguishable layers of pre-Christian occupation and 12 layers of Christian occupation. This circumstance provided an unrivaled opportunity to plot the changing standards of medieval Nubian house and church architecture. The site also had a large cemetery with an extraordinary variety of tomb superstructures. According to historical sources, Meinarti in Classic and Late Christian times functioned as a control point for traffic on the river, and was a sometime residence of the Eparch of Nobadia. One-half of the mound was excavated by the Sudan Antiquities Service in 1963-64.

Sources: Adams 1968; Adams 2001; Adams 2002; Adams 2003.

(Contributed by William Y. Adams.)

Photographs of the Meinarti Ostraka are available here.