African Archaeological Review

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 115–127 | Cite as

Pottery tempered with sponge from the White Nile, Sudan

  • D. A. Adamson
  • J. D. Clark
  • M. A. J. Williams


Pottery containing abundant organic and siliceous particles of the swamp-dwelling spongeEunapius nitens occurs at occupation sites dated between 3500 and 1500 bp flanking the White Nile in central Sudan. Megascleres, gemmoscleres and gemmules in vast numbers are well preserved in the pottery, megascleres forming the temper. Common features of sponge pottery are: fine paste; wall thickness in the range 4 to 9 mm; internal scoring; deepish, steep-walled bowls with straight or slightly everted rims often decorated with chevron pattern; and a variety of well executed external decoration by incision, rouletting and stamping. Thorough study of the distribution, economy, affinities and chronology of the peoples practising this swamp-based technology is yet to be made. The pottery forms part of a wider tradition in the Nile basin.


Wall Thickness Cultural Study Vast Number Parmi Occupation Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Dans des sites d'habitat de 3500 à 1500 bp, le long du Nil Blanc, au Soudan central, se trouve une céramique contenant de nombreuses particules organiques et silicieuses de l'épongeEunapius nitens, qui habite les marais. D'énormes quantités de mégasclères, de gemmosclères et de gemmules sont bien préservées dans la céramique—les mégasclères en forment le dégraissant. Parmi les traits communs de la céramique à éponge sont: une pâte fine; des parois épaisses de 4 à 9 mm; des stries internes; des bols profonds à parois raides avec des bords droits ou un peu éversés, souvent décorés de chevrons; et une variété de décors externes bien exécutés par des incisions, des roulettes ou des estampages. On n'a pas encore fait une étude approfondie de la répartition, de l'économie, des affinités et de la chronologie des peuples qui pratiquaient cette technologie des marais. Cette poterie fait partie d'une tradition plus large dans le bassin du Nil.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adamson, D., Clark, J. D. and Williams, M. A. J., 1974. Barbed bone points from Central Sudan and the age of the ‘Early Khartoum’ tradition.Nature 249:120–3.Google Scholar
  2. Adamson, D., Williams, M. A. J. and Gillespie, R. 1982. Palaeogeography of the Gezira and of the lower Blue and White Nile valleys. InA Land Between Two Niles, Quaternary Geology and Biology of the Central Sudan (eds. M. A. J. Williams and D. Adamson): pp. 165–219. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  3. Arkell, A. J. 1945. Notes on sherds from the Zeraf Hills.Sudan Notes and Records 26:327–8.Google Scholar
  4. Clark, J. D. and Stemler, A. 1975. Early domesticated Sorghum from Central Sudan.Nature 254:588–91.Google Scholar
  5. Howell, P. P. 1945. The Zeraf Hills.Sudan Notes and Records 26:319–27.Google Scholar
  6. Linne, S. 1965. The ethologist and the American Indian potter. InCeramics and Man (ed. F. R. Matson): pp. 28–42. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology No. 41. New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.Google Scholar
  7. Penny, J. T. and Racek, A. A. 1968.Comprehensive revision of a world-wide collection of freshwater sponges of Spongillidae. U. S. National Museum Bull. 272. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  8. Phillipson, D. W. 1985.African Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Robbins, L. H. 1972. Archaeology in the Turkana District, Kenya.Science 176:359–66.Google Scholar
  10. Turner, J. 1985. Sponge gemmules from lake sediments in the Puget lowland, Washington.Quaternary Res. 24:240–3.Google Scholar
  11. Williams, M. A. J. and Adamson, D. 1973. The physiography of the central Sudan.Geog. J. 139:498–508.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Cambridge University Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Adamson
  • J. D. Clark
  • M. A. J. Williams

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations