Thousands of “galactic” Islamic tombs discovered in Sudan
More than 10,000 Islamic tombs, resembling galactic patterns in their arrangement, have been discovered in Kassala, eastern Sudan, dating thousands of years ago and spread across 1,000+ square kilometres.
In an article published in the scientific journal PLOS One, the archaeological team excavating the area in Kassala was puzzled by the arrangement of the tombs, with the structures suggesting they had not been laid out haphazardly, but rather designed in a pattern.
After the team of archaeologists had mapped the “galactic” Islamic tombs in Eastern Sudan, they faced difficulty interpreting the data, given that few monuments had been excavated.
To help explain the odd arrangement, and in perhaps the first instance of this kind, the archaeological team decided to employ the Neyman-Scott Cluster model to a topographical map of the region.
Interestingly, the model is usually used to study spatial patterns in stars and galaxies, and is seldom used in the field of archaeology.
‘We faced the challenge of interpreting the creation of the funerary landscape with almost no traditional archaeological data, but had a large enough data set to be able to hypothesize the presence of complex processes both at regional and local scales,” Stefano Costanzo, lead author and doctoral student of archaeology at the Naples L’Orientale, told Live Science.
The burial sites uncovered in Kassala consisted of many “qubbas”; a type of domed mausoleum that often appears in Islamic architecture.
This discovery would places the date of the construction of the East Sudan qubbas at sometime around roughly 900 AD.
The archaeologists pondered whether this discovery represents the Beja people’s – an ethnic group densely occupying Kassala – evolving funeral practices, or rather indicates the presence of other groups across millennia.
The full paper can be viewed here.