The Funj: A reconsideration

The Funj: A reconsideration

Author: 
Spaulding, Jay
Publisher: 
Cambridge University Press
Date published: 
1972
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of African History
Source: 
Journal of African History, Vol.13,No.1,1972,pp39-53
Abstract: 

Three lines of evidence regarding the Funj prior to the rise of the Sinnar Sultanate about 1500 have been considered. Shilluk tradition remembers the Funj as the previous inhabitants of the present Shilluk homeland, while many of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visitors to Sinnar were told that the Funj came from the White Nile. While neither set of traditions should be accepted without question, the fact that they tend to confirm each other lends weight to both.|In the Shilluk country, the early Funj seem to have lived on elevated settlement mounds, and perhaps the putative Funj homeland should be extended to include the region in which these mounds are found. That would suggest that the Funj culture centred primarily along the White Nile approximately between Renk and Malakal, but the possibility of a homeland even more broadly defined need not be excluded.|Archaeological evidence derived from pottery finds on the White Nile mounds may be interpreted to imply that the Funj were a southern Nubian people, an hypothesis that must be weighed against alternatives that would suggest an unknown or even Meroitic cultural identity. The presence of red brick structures along the White Nile south of the generally accepted borders of the Sultanate, as well as in the capital itself, tends to support the ‘Nubian’ hypothesis. Further research concerning the Funj language and the archaeological cultures south of the latitude of Sinnar should help resolve these ambiguities; many aspects of government and society in the Sinnar Sultanate are clarified by considering the era a Nubian Renaissance.

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CITATION: Spaulding, Jay. The Funj: A reconsideration . : Cambridge University Press , 1972. Journal of African History, Vol.13,No.1,1972,pp39-53 - Available at: http://library.au.int/funj-reconsideration-3