Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Two miles east of Kerma, at the edge of the Nubian desert, Reisner discovered thousands of low, circular mounds marking the graves of the settlement’s ancient necropolis. One of the three largest tombs (shown here) in the cemetery contained the remains of 322 members of a royal entourage buried alive at the time of the king’s interment in the pit at lower right. Huge numbers of people filled the burial tumulus with sand and covered its surface with millions of white and black pebbles. They likely feasted on beef following their exertions; nearly 1,000 cattle skulls were found arranged around the southern half of the royal burial mound.