The team of ERC Starting Grant “UMMA – Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city”, headed by Dr. Artur Obłuski, organized a workshop to summarize the results of the first fieldwork season in Old Dongola. The archeologists have developed the urban plan of the city.

In the 2018–2019 season, the PCMA UW mission spent four months at Old Dongola. The primary focus of their fieldwork was on localizing and investigating the latest archaeological remains at the site, which proved to date from the 18th century. The work of the “UMMA” project, headed by Dr. Artur Obłuski, aims at researching the recent history of Dongola to gain insights on the changes that took place in the city after it had seized to be the capital of the Christian Kingdom of Makuria.


The mission undertook excavations in the highest, south-eastern part of the city, over a space of approximately 4,500 m2. In their work, archaeologists used laboratory tests and specialized equipment. Thanks to the use of ground-penetrating radar and other non-invasive methods, the archeologists have developed the urban plan of the city. These studies were carried out together with scientists from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences: Tomasz Herbich and Robert Ryndziewicz.


Old Dongola is a site of great importance, excavated by PCMA teams for over half a century. As the Makurian capital it flourished between the 11th and the 13th century. After Makuria’s downfall, a small kingdom centred round the city, which upheld intensive trade contacts both with the Far East and with Europe. The UMMA project’s team are not only interested in the collapse of one state organism and the erection of a new one, but also in the transitional period which sees Dongola’s transformation into a Muslim city and the formation of a new society.


Project UMMA is financed with a prestigious ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant, which Dr. Artur Obłuski received in 2017 as the first archeologist in Poland.