The Pan Grave

Contemporary with the C-Group, is the Pan-Grave culture (2000-1600 BC).1 The people of this culture were referred to as the Medjay.2 Ethnicity, they were identified in close connection with the Kushites. Their native homeland is the eastern deserts of Sudan and the Red Sea hills. There, they practiced nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyles. Archeologically, the culture is labeled Pan-Grave because they buried their deceased in pits that looked like frying pans.

Vessel, goat horn, and a bowl from Aniba. Courtesy of the Von Bissing collection and the Staatliche Sammlung Ägyptischer Kunst, Munich. Source: Wildung, Dietrich. Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile.
pan-grave Nubian

Their graves have been located in numerous sites, from Kerma in Sudan to Memphis in the north. Much of the Pan-Grave burials have not been well excavated especially those in Sudan. However, Pan-Graves excavated in Daraw, Abydos, Aniba, Toshka, Wadi Halfa, and other regions in Lower Nubia revealed elaborate information about the culture.3

They buried their deceased in contracted positions, however; with various body orientations. The bodies there were usually wrapped in raw leather hides and accompanied with cow skulls that were often painted with various colors. Among the findings was a unique type of pottery characterized with plain coloring.

Jewelry was among the common finds, usually made of raw materials like ostrich-eggshells, faience, and stones. Weaponry was a frequent type of finding. Daggers, bows and arrows were commonly found.
  • 1 K. K. Hirst, "Pan Grave Culture," About.com: Archaeology, Nov. 2008 <http://archaeology.about.com/od/pterms/g/pangrave.htm>.
  • 2 See The Medjay.
  • 3 For Daraw see: P. M. Crew, I. E. S. Eduards, J. B. Bury, C. J. Gadd, N. G. L. Hammond, and E. Sollberger, eds. The Cambridge Ancient History: C. 1800-1380 B. C., (Cambridge UP, 1973) 74-76, for Abydos see: D. Randall-MacIver, A. C. Mace, F. Ll. Griffith, and F. Ll Griffith. El Amrah and Abydos, 1899-1901, Sold at the offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, (1902) 67, for Aniba see: D. N. Edwards, The Nubian Past, (Routledge, 2004) 97-101, for Toshka see: B. G. Trigger, and B. J. Kemp, Ancient Egypt: An Archaeology of the Sudan, (Cambridge UP, 1983) 170-1, and for general information on Lower Nubia see: R. Friedman, "Setting the Scene," InteractiveDig, Jan-May 2004, Archaeological Institute of America, Dec. 2008 <http://www.archaeology.org/interactive/hierakonpolis/nubians.html>.
Authored: 2004.
Edited: Jan. 2009.

The primary material of the website is authored by Ibrahim Omer © 2008.