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The long-distance exchange of amazonite and increasing social complexity in the Sudanese Neolithic

  • Andrea Zerboni (a1), Sandro Salvatori (a2), Pietro Vignola (a3), Abd el Rahman Ali Mohammed (a4) and Donatella Usai (a2) (a5)...

The presence of exotic materials in funerary contexts in the Sudanese Nile Valley suggests increasing social complexity during the fifth and sixth millennia BC. Amazonite, both in artefact and raw material form, is frequently recovered from Neolithic Sudanese sites, yet its provenance remains unknown. Geochemical analyses of North and East African raw amazonite outcrops and artefacts found at the Neolithic cemetery of R12 in the Sudanese Nile Valley reveals southern Ethiopia as the source of the R12 amazonite. This research, along with data on different exotic materials from contemporaneous Sudanese cemeteries, suggests a previously unknown, long-distance North African exchange network and confirms the emergence of local craft specialisation as part of larger-scale developing social complexity.

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