Powerful Sudanese civilization dominated ancient Egypt from 720BC to 660BCOctober 17th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by ANI
London, Oct 17 (ANI): A British museum expedition has uncovered new evidence about the power of a Sudanese civilization that dominated ancient Egypt from 720BC to 660BC.
According to a report in the Telegraph, archaeologists have discovered that a region of northern Sudan that was considered a forgotten backwater was once actually a real power-base.
They discovered a ruined pyramid containing fine gold jewellery dating from about 700BC on a remote un-navigable 100-mile stretch of the Nile known as the Fourth Cataract, plus pottery from as far away as Turkey.
Other finds included numerous examples of ancient rock art and musical rocks that were tapped to create a melodic sound.
They only made the discoveries after being invited by the Sudanese authorities to help excavate part of the Merowe region, which is soon to be flooded by a large hydro-electric dam.
Historians had previously written off the area as being of little archaeological interest.
We had no idea how rich the area was, said Dr Derek Welsby, of the British Museum.
Remarkably well-preserved bodies, naturally mummified in the desert air, and a cow buried complete with eye ointment were also unearthed.
Dr Welsby said that the finds revolutionized the history and geography of the Kushite kingdoms.
The First Kushite Kingdom rivalled Egypt for power between 2500BC and 1500BC, when many of Egypts largest pyramids were built.
All our preconceptions about this being a relatively poor, inhospitable area were completely wrong, said Dr Welsby. We thought the first kingdom gradually grew over 1,000 years; now we know it happened right at the beginning, very rapidly, he added.
According to Dr Welsby, During the second kingdom, we thought it was an area everybody bypassed. But finding the pyramid meant it was a real power-base. This was not a backwater, it was partaking in the major trade routes in the world.
The team was able to excavate hundreds of heavy items, including large blocks adorned with rock art and 390 stones that comprised the pyramid.
The Sudanese authorities gave 20 such blocks and musical rock gongs, plus pottery and jewellery to the British Museum.
A selection will be put on display early next year. (ANI)
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Tags: ancient egypt, ancient rock art, archaeological interest, archaeologists, british museum, desert air, dr derek, eye ointment, fine gold, forgotten backwater, fourth cataract, gold jewellery, hydro electric, melodic sound, mile stretch, musical rocks, northern sudan, preconceptions, sudanese authorities, trade routes