Nubia and the West

From a Conference taking place these days, we pass to some comments about an all-day Symposium held at the Royal Ontario Museum on September 25. The opportunity was given by a post from yesterday at LiveScience. But let’s take things with the right order.

During our trips along the Middle Nile Valley, we have often visited our Polish colleagues working at the various sites of medieval interest in Nubia. A special place among them is held by Dr. Bogdan Zurawski of the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences who has worked in some of the most important sites of the Makuritan world and contributed to the Fourth Cataract Archaeological Salvage Project before returning to his own fieldwork at Selib and Banganarti. The latter site has appeared in our Medieval Sai Project blog in the context of a survey of Athanassian testimonies from Nubia (,

while references to Bogdan’s researches have been made in two occasions, thanks to his interesting work on the links between Nubia and Ethiopia:

Yesterday, the interest for the Medieval cultures of the West in the discoveries from his excavation at both Selib and Banganarti (mainly the latter where a graffito of a Catalan man named Benesec has been identified by Tomek Plociennik) have offered Bogdan an appearance in Live Science under the attractive title “Long Pilgrimages Revealed in Ancient Sudanese Art”.

Of course this art is of the Medieval centuries, but this is not what is of importance here. The importance concerns the groundbreaking discoveries in both the epigraphic and iconographic record made by Bogdan and his colleagues working at this important site of the Christian Nubian past: the inscriptions read by Łajtar and Plociennik, the murals studied by Łaptas, and so on… We are looking forward to both further updates, and especially to the publication of the excavations’ final report – that we heard is under preparation.

Special mention should be made here to Bogdan’s great efforts to create at Banganarti a site of significance for the local population, at the same time a museum and an archaeological monument, a center of culture and history. Mashallah!

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