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Garcea, Elena A. A.; D'Ercole, Giulia; Sterba, Johannes H.; Dunne, Julie; Manning, Katie; Gillard, Toby; Evershed, Richard P.; Varadzin, Ladislav; Varadzinova, Lenka (2020): Technological variability in foragers' pottery productions at the early-mid Holocene site of Sphinx, western part of Jebel Sabaloka, Sudan. In: Quaternary International, Vol. 555: pp. 110-125
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The site of Sphinx (SBK.W-60) is located about 3.5 km from the present Nile in the western part of Jebel Sabaloka, upstream of the Sixth Nile Cataract, in Sudan. This site uniquely includes Early Khartoum (Mesolithic) artifacts with no intrusive elements and has been dated from the ninth to the end of the sixth millennium cal BC. Excavations at Trench 7, in particular, brought to light a 1.2-m thick deposit with the quantitatively and qualitatively richest artifactual materials. Analysis and classification of the pottery assemblage from this site have been conducted with the aim of observing manufacturing techniques and examining the correlation between pottery production, cultural change and chronological variability. We undertook visual examinations of the manufacturing techniques combined with petrographic (optical microscopy, OM) and chemical analyses (instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, iNAA), observations of manufacturing and decorative techniques, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) on absorbed organic residues. The vertical distribution of the ceramic assemblage in Trench 7 reveals the existence of a relative sequence suggesting consistent technological variability throughout the site's occupation.