Nilo-Ethiopian Studies vol.1

Nilo-Ethiopian Studies No.1 (1993)

Nilo-Ethiopian Studiesの1993年〜2003年の号については、JST(科学技術振興機構)のJournal@rchiveにても公開されています。
JST Journal@rchive


Social anthropologists working in Sub-Saharan Africa have paid little attention to the evil-eye belief compared to witchcraft or the spirits of the dead, and its description is fragmentary. This is related to the peripheral or minor part played by the evil eye as well as the primacy of other causes of misfortune in social life. This article highlights several aspects of the belief and the practices of the evil eye among the Gusii of southwestern Kenya, such as: methods of the evil eye, their effects, their treatments, symbolic features of the belief, and social relationships between evil-eyed persons and their victims
Ethnic groups referred to here for comparative analysis include the Teso, the Luo, the Kipsigis, and the Logoli in Kenya, and the Nuer in Sudan. Despite many divergences, the evil-eye belief in these societies is shown to have several significant features in common. Evil-eyed people are not held personally responsible for any damage caused by their evil eye. Damage caused by the evil eye is generally much less serious and infrequent compared to other supernatural causes of misfortune. Evileyed people and their victims are, in most cases, not related in terms of kinship, residence or economic interest. These features are compared and contrasted with those of witchcraft belief.

Key words: evil eye, witchcraft, Gusii, Kenya.


The aim of this article is to explore the relationship between a language and a culture in the light of the borrowing from the Kara language observed in the Koegu language. The main cultural characteristics of Koegu lie in hunting and gathering, and Kara people introduced new cultivating methods in the downstream area of the Omo river.
The Koegu language has borrowed extensively from the Kara language with regard to vocabulary and grammar. There are some tendencies in borrowing.
(1) Regarding the vocabulary not related to the main cultural characteristics, that is, the whole vocabulary except for that of hunting and gathering, words with restricted semantic fields tend to be replaced by borrowed words, and words with general and wide semantic fields are not likely to be replaced . (2) In the case of the vocabulary related to the main cultural characteristics, that is, the vocabulary of hunting and gathering, words with general and wide semantic fields tend to be replaced by borrowed words, while words with restricted semantic fields are not likely to be replaced. Thus it can be concluded that a culture influences exchange of speech forms.

Key words: Koegu, Kara, language, culture, borrowing.


Based on observations of human mummies from Tombs No. 317 and 178 at Qurna, Egypt, two important items of the mummification process were studied. First, the removal of the brain through the nostrils was characteristic of the ancient Egyptians. This was found in 55 out of 60 mummies (91. 7 %) from Tomb No. 317 , but in 5 out of 19 mummies (26 .3%) from Tomb No. 178. The low incidence in the latter tomb could be due to the moderated style of embalming adopted to avoid heavy expense. The
hooked rod used in extracting the brain remained in and around the median plane in 28 (46 .7%) of the 60 mummies, but was shifted to the left side in 22 (36 .7%). The brain was rarely extracted through an opening for ventilation made on the left side of the skull or in the roof of the right orbit, or through the foramen magnum. In this process, the embalmers would feel no reluctance about standing on one particular side of the corpse. Second, the male external genital organs were specially treated . The organs were partially or totally cut off in 5 (50.0%), and deformed in 1 (10 .0%), out of 10 mummies from Tomb No. 317, while they were cut off in 1 (25.0%), and deformed in 3 (75 .0%), out of 4 mummies from Tomb No. 178. No prepuce was found on those penises of adult mummies which were left intact, suggesting that the ancient Egyptians practiced circumcision. In one mummy, the removed genitals had been replaced with an artificial phallus made of gilded resin . In another child mummy, the penis was serpentine in shape, a symbol of new life and resurrection . The special treatment of the external genital organs in males may indicate that the Egyptians sought eternity on the basis of beliefs associated with the mythical tales oflsis and Osiris. The various embalming techniques presented here probably originated in the special crafts for this task for which the embalmers are employed under the direction of hereditary master practitioners.

Key words: mummification process, brain, external genital organs , lsis and Osiris, Egypt.


A follow-up prospecting was executed to investigate a gamma-ray anomaly in the Miri area in the southern part of the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. An overview of the geology, radiometry and geochemistry involved is presented.
The anomaly is related to structurally controlled uraniferous pegmatitic veins and quartz-rich stockworks genetically related to alkali syenite batholith, and is principally raised by uranium and thorium at high Th/U ratio over a local background of approximately 90 cps and a regional background of 50 cps. In addition to uranium and thorium, there is a variety of incompatible trace elements: Nb, Ta, Zr, Ni, Ba, Be, Sr, Y, Ce, La, and Rb. The elemental distribution in the analyzed samples is erratic and displays variable abundances. Constrains on geochemistry of the mineralizing solutions are reviewed on the basis of mineralogical investigations and geostatistical interpretation of geochemical data.
Mineralization is interpreted to be related to pegmatitic melts and late-stage
hydrothermal solutions, suggesting multiphase emplacement.
The geological investigations which have covered the area up to now are inadequate to reveal the feasible economic potentialities of U-Th mineralization; detailed and costly explorational work is still needed. However, the environmental impact of mineralization, due to U and Th and their radiogenic daughter products, is observed and should be studied in detail.

Key words: geological study, uraniferous pegmatitic veins, guartz stockworks, Nuba Mountains, Sudan.


The Konso of southern Ethiopia are agricultural people, skilled at cultivating fields on stone terraces . They also have excellent techniques of cotton weaving, metalwork, pottery and other handicrafts. This paper focuses on Konso pots in an attempt to clarify their meaning, not simply in their important everyday role as utensils for cooking, storage or alcohol-making, or as commercial items to be traded on the market, but as symbolic objects that demonstrate the structure of society.
The Konso place the pots on the roofs of their houses . There are several social norms concerning pots, and the rank of each family in Konso society is shown by the presence or absence of a pot on the roof and by the type of pot. By understanding what sort of norms govern the use of pots in Konso society, I was able to deduce four norms which demonstrate the relation between the pot on the roof and their social structure.

Key words: Konso, decorative pot, symbolic objects, social norm, village structure.


Key words: Ethiopia, sheikh, migration, Islam.

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