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The necropolis of Sedeinga stretches across more than twenty-five hectares and is home to the vestiges of at least eighty brick pyramids and over a hundred tombs, dating from the kingdoms of Napata and Meroe seventh century BCE—fourth century CE.

The Names of Nubia

The researchers have shown that most of the pyramids and tombs are buildings dating from the era of the Napata kingdom that were later adjusted by the Meroitics. These adjustments were thus made five centuries after the initial building on the site, which the Meroitics supplemented with new chapels built out of brick and sandstone blocks on the western side of the pyramids, and which were intended for the worship of the deceased.

This practice was particular to the Napatans and Meroitics, who veritably revered the monuments of the past, unlike their Egyptian neighbors. Pieces of decorated sandstone, such as steles as well as lintels and door surrounds, have been discovered at the surface, providing magnificent examples of Meroitic funerary art.

Ancient Nubia (ca. 5000 BC – 500 AD)

For example, pigments—mainly blue in color—have been preserved on a stele found lying on its side. This is rare for objects of this kind, which typically are subjected to the vagaries of time.

African Kingdoms on the Nile

Another exceptional find: a chapel lintel representing Maat, the Egyptian goddess of order, equity, and peace. This is the first extant representation of this goddess depicting her with African characteristics. During the last excavation campaign in late , the researchers discovered a stele in the name of a Lady Maliwarase.


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Most information about ancient Nubia comes from archaeological excavation and from the study of monuments and rock art found there. But the art and writing of Nubians and of peoples contemporary with them also give important evidence.

Nubia and Egypt

Records of ancient Egypt tell much about the history of Nubia, documenting a long and complex relationship between the two lands. Nubians developed alphabetic writing systems around BC during the Meroitic period.

The Meroitic language is still not understood well enough to read more than words and phrases, but much documentation on Meroitic Nubia can be found in the art and literature of Greece and Rome, whose empires touched on the borders of Nubia after BC. The origin of the name Nubia is obscure. Some have linked it to nwb, the ancient Egyptian word for gold. Others connect it with the term Noubades, the Greek name for people who moved into northern Nubia sometime in the 4th century AD.

Old Nubian and Language Uses in Nubia

For much of antiquity, the region south of the 1st cataract of the Nile was called Kush. Prices do not include postage and handling if applicable.

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Print Flyer Recommend to Librarian. Book Book Series. Overview Aims and Scope Numerous research projects have studied the Nubian cultures of Sudan and Egypt over the last thirty years, leading to significant new insights.

Nubia, the Forgotten Kingdom (Rare Discovery Channel Documentary)