The Pan Grave Culture

The carriers of this specific Nubian culture are thought to have been nomads from the Eastern Desert and are identified with the Medjay (later the Bedja) of the Egyptian texts – a designation of the desert Nubians in contrast to the Nehesy-Nubians of the Nile valley. This may be the correct assessment for a part of this population. The Medja land is known, however, since the late Old Kingdom and seems to have been situated near the Nile. Since king… Read More

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The Museum

In the early 1960’s, when Egypt built the High Dam at Aswan, Egyptologists and archaeologists the world over heeded UNESCO’s appeal to salvage the monuments of Egyptian Nubia before the rising waters of Lake Nasser submerged them forever. More than sixty expeditions ultimately joined the “Nubian Rescue Campaign“, which resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, and the salvage and translocation of a number of important temples to higher ground. Due… Read More

Abdalla Nirqi

Central church of Abdalla Nirqi “The site of Abdalla Nirqi on the west bank of the Nile, about 3.5 Km to the East (locan north) of the temple of Abu Simbel, belonged to the area of the concession granted to the Netherlands by the Egyptian Antiquities Department in consultation with Unesco. ” The concession Abu Simbel North, contained two settlements, the ruins of which had been analyzed during a Survey undertaken by the Egypt Exploration Society”… “The two settlements, both… Read More

Ballana and Qustul

Tumulus of Ballana “Beyond the gorge of Abu Simbil and Gebel Adda, the desert cliffs and Pleistocene gravel terraces recede from the vicinity of the river and leave plains on both banks of modern alluvium and upper Paleolithic silt. The scanty vegetation is mainly composed of a few palms and “sunt” trees, which border the river’s edge.” “We moved forward in extended order noting each possible site, and on November 3rd we came within view of a vast field of… Read More

Ptolemaic period Philae

General view of Philae temples, now relocated on Agilkia Island The temples of Philae are the creation of several dynasties. The island was dedicated to the cult of Isis. The oldest structure on the island is the kiosk built by Nectanebo I (380-362 BC). To the north of the kiosk he also built a temple gate which was eventually integrated into the first pylon of the Temple of Aset (Isis). From this time until the Roman occupation in the 1st… Read More

Qasr Ibrim

Ibrim, lay on the east bank of the Nile in Lower Nubia at a distance, by river, of approximately 238 Km or 148 miles north of Wadi Halfa… The Pharaonic monuments at Ibrim come to be entirely and perennially submerged in mid-July 1966… … With so much cliff space available it is remarkable and, as we shall point out, probably not fortuitous that all the rock-cut shrines of the sites should be clustered together in one spot only, namely the… Read More

The Nubian salvage campaigns

The Nubian salvage campaigns In 1898, work started on the construction of the Aswan Dam which was to revolutionise traditional irrigation methods in Egypt. The dam reduced the annual Nile flooding and improved irrigation. However, it also changed the traditional way of life of the Nubian people and heralded the beginning of the end of the ancient monuments that abounded there. “I visited the temples at Nubia, to check on their state of repair and to decide what to do… Read More

The C-Group culture and the Pan Grave culture

The C-Group culture King Snofru (c. 2617–2593 BC) made a raid into Nubia, bringing back 7000 prisoners of war and 200 000 big and small flock. Most probably this was intended as a pre-emptive strike against the immigration of the so-called C-Group People (an abstract terminology introduced by the American archaeologist George A. Reisner at the beginning of the 20th century during the first Archaeological Survey of Nubia). Snofru, however, was unable to stop the C-Group immigrating into the nearly… Read More

Kerma culture

When George Andrew Reisner carried out, in 1907, the first campaign of rescue of the Antiquities of Lower Nubia and that he establishes the classification of the cultures which he met there (Group A, Group C …), he ignored the vestiges Kerma. Because these remain rare in Lower Nubia; it was only between 1913 and 1916 that he was commissioned to carry out salvage excavations in the Kerma region of Sudan and was confronted with exceptional and totally new material. He interpreted the… Read More

The Egyptian Domination

The Egyptian Domination In the mid – sixteenth century BC Egypt recovered from the weakness of the second intermediate period, during the reigns of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I. After the end of the Middle Kingdom and the time when foreigners, the so-called Hyksos ruled Egypt, the military control of Lower Nubia passed into Egyptian hands. Three archaeological groups probably corresponding to different groups dominate the picture of lower Nubia during the time of the Hyksos and the early… Read More

The 25th dynasty

The Nubian Conquest of Egypt: 1080-650 BC Egyptian control over Nubia lapsed after the death of Ramesses II (ca. 1224 BC), just as the pharaoh’s control over Egypt itself began to wane. In the early eleventh century BC Egypt split into two semi-autonomous domains: Lower Egypt was governed by the pharaoh, and the much larger tract of Upper Egypt was governed in the name of the god Amun by his high priest at Thebes. Nubia’s last imperial viceroy, Panehesy (“The… Read More

The Meroitic State: Nubia as a Hellenistic African State. 300 B.C.-350 AD

The Napatan Phase of the Nubian culture ended when the royal cemetery was transferred from Napata to Meroe in the early third century BC. This inaugurated the phase called the “Meroitic,” in which the culture seemed to free itself from the strict adherance to Egyptian norms and developed many original traits. The dramatic shift in the Kushite culture almost certainly had to do with an event recorded by the Greek historican Diodorus. He stated that prior to the reign of… Read More

Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

The story of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt should be projected on a broad background. Starting from 1580 a. C. Nubia was ruled by the Pharaohs as viceroyal and cultured. The Egyptians had learned the language and writing, the arts and religion of the Egyptians. This is a wise transplant of the Egyptian deities, all of which were “towns” of one or another place, similarly “towns” in Nubia; in addition, Nubian deities were configured alongside the Egyptian. For one and for the other they built temples,… Read More

The X Group or Ballana Culture

…”Archaeologically, the post-Meroitic dark age in Lower Nubia is filled by the cultural remains which Reisner designated sixty years ago as the “X Group”. … …”As always, Reisner interpreted the unfamiliar “X Group” grave type as evidence of the coming of a new people… The cultural theories of Reisner found instant confirmation in the anatomical evidence of the X-Group skeletons as adduced by Elliot Smith: “The X Group people were strongly Negroid aliens who had suddenly made their way north… Read More

Christian Nubia and its churches

During the late antique and medieval period Nubia was divided into three kingdoms, from North to South: Nobadia, which largely corresponds with the modern Lower Nubia, Makouria in the middle, and Alwa in the south. The most powerful state was Makouria with its capital in Old-Dongola. Since the 6/7th century the kings from Dongola predominated also the state of Nobadia. It was governed by an eparch from Makouria with the authority of a viceroy who resided in Faras (ancient Pachoras),… Read More

Islam in Nubia

In the middle of the seventh century there were two fully established kingdoms existing in the Nile Valley south of Aswan: Makuria in the north and Alodia to the south. The former occupied the territory from the First Cataract to the tributary called Atbara in the south, the latter stretched south of the Fifth Cataract all the way to the Ethiopian uplands. The actual border between the two has yet to be determined. Most likely in the late twenties of… Read More

Nubia today

Background  Nubian family in front of their house, Sudan “Unlike their ancient history, which has been thoroughly studied, little has been recorded in English about the social and economic aspects of the existing Nubian tribes. This, perhaps, is partly because the countless ancient Egyptian remains in the locality are more attractive to the visitors than the cultural life of the inhabitants. The famous travellers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries mentioned only random details which they came across in passing… Read More

The Nubian A-Group

The A-Group, an indigenous Nubian culture, emerged in Lower Nubia c. 3500 BC, during the Predynastic period in Egypt, and it reached its climax about the time of the Egyptian unification, c.3000 BC. George A. Reisner introduced the term “A-Group” in his chronological model of the Nubian cultures (1910). A-Group remains, mainly cemeteries, have been found between Kubaniya, 10 km (6 miles) to the north of Aswan, and Saras East in Bam el-Hagar, 30 km (20 miles) to the south… Read More

Prehistoric Sites in Egypt and in Sudan

It is entirely appropriate to note that when the international salvage efforts began, there was virtually no information available on the prehistoric development anywhere in Nubia, and even in Egypt little was known concerning prehistoric materials beyond a few scattered and rolled pieces found in ancient deposits along the Nile. From this limited evidence, archaeologists had concluded that the Nile Valley, both Nubia and Egypt, has been a culturally conservative cul-de-sac where the technological and typological attributes of the Middle… Read More

History of Nubia

The area now called Nubia extends along the Nile from the South of Aswan to the town of Dabba, near the Fourth cataract, linking Egypt – i.e. the northern part of the Nile valley – to the Sudan in the South. The name Nubia is first mentioned in Strabo’s Geographica; the Greek author is believed to have visited Egypt c. 29 BC. The etymology of the name Nubia is uncertain, but some researchers believe it is derived from the Ancient Egyptian nbu, meaning… Read More