The Small Enclosure

The Small Enclosure is situated south of the Great Enclosure, and it is usually by-passed by visitors entering the site. Today, it is an inconspicuous mound with exposed building remains of sandstone and bricks. The Small Enclosure was built in the early Meroitic period, probably the 3rd century BC, and partly rebuilt and modified in the middle Meroitic period, i.e. the 1st centuries BC and AD.

According to its lay-out, the Small Enclosure was a secular complex. It is generally assumed that it served as the residence for the dignitaries who visited the Great Enclosure or worked there. Its historic value can be attributed to it being an exceptional, if not unique, example of this kind of architecture of the early Meroitic period.


Plan of the Small Enclosure at Musawwarat (drawing: Christiane Dorstewitz; adapted from Fitzenreiter 1999)

The Small Enclosure of Musawwarat in the centre of the picture, with the Great Enclosure in the background (photo: Claudia Näser)