A Great Loss for Sudan and its Archaeology

We received today from our friend and colleague Pawel Wolf the deeply sad news of the death of professor Khidir Abdelkarim Ahmed, Head of the Department of Archaeology at El Nilein University, Khartoum.

“Dr. Khidir” was the way we called him, all of us who had the chance to work with him. And working with Dr. Khidir was a constant source of inspiration in so many different ways, concerning Sudan, the history, and the archaeology of his homeland.

Passionate for the historical truth and the honesty with which it should be serviced, disappointed by the way most of the academic venues produced no real discussion and debate, active himself in debating all topics linked with culture in the capital city of Sudan where he spent the last years of his life.

He was from Kosti, a town in Central Sudan named after a Greek resident there, and he liked the idea that a Greek was active in Sudan Archaeology while resident in Khartoum. We met often at the Sudan Library where he seemed to spend most of his free time. No surprise, if one thinks how deep his knowledge was of all things concerning Sudan, its past, and the history of the archaeological research.

I glean from all I profited from acquainting him the following: “I found a colleague of yours” he said once, and he named a Greek civil servant of  the Condominium era, George Yanni Karkanis. Karkanis had worked for the Geological Survey and thus his name could be found in the registers of the Sudan National Museum, as I discovered some days later. In total, 51 entries between 1928 and 1954, mainly concerning stone artifacts collected during Karkanis’ surveys. We had contemplated with Dr. Khidir the idea of composing the story of Karkanis together, in the frame of a larger publication. Proudly, I informed him a year later that I had discovered the entries relating to his family in the Church registers of the Greek Community in Khartoum, and that I would gladly visit back in Greece the members of the Karkanis family that I think I may have possibly traced.

It would be the least of a contribution to Dr. Khidir if one day I manage to produce a narrative on Karkanis presence in Sudan…

…in the meantime, may the memory of his smiling face look upon us with care and guidance from wherever he found his rest.

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11 Responses to A Great Loss for Sudan and its Archaeology

  1. azharisadig says:

    You shall live in the hearts of those who loved you and will thus never die or be forgotten

  2. ergamenis says:

    So true Dr. Azhari, so true…
    Should we consider a commemorative volume with contributions from all his friends and colleagues?

    • azharisadig says:

      I agree dr. Alex. He tought me in the dept of Archaeology and i have alot to say about him. Alot of people will cintribute in such project…

      • ergamenis says:

        Until now, the ones who have expressed the wish to participate in such an exploit is Mohamed Faroug and yourself. This makes three of us.
        But it is not necessary that all possible contributors follow Medieval Sai Project or have accounts at facebook.
        Therefore, someone from Sudan should dress a list of people to be invited, in collaboration with the colleagues and friends of the late professor from Berlin.
        What do you think?

      • azharisadig says:

        Think we can start with his direct colleques. Prof Ali Osman, Prof Mohammed-Ali, and Prof ElAmin, Yousif Mukhtar. Dr. Intisar, Dean of Faculty of Arts will help in pushing the event. Contact me via my email to arrange with Mohammed Faroug to start this and to discuss who can help in Khartoum to distribute the idea. Unfortunately, iam not work now in Khartoum.

    • Mahran Khidir says:

      Thank you all for your warm thoughts about my father… He was a great man, a wonderful father, and an outstanding academic.. please feel free to share your memories with me on mahran_165@hotmail.com.

      Mahran khidir Abdelkarim Ahmed

  3. اللهم اغفر له وارحمه واجعل البركة في ابنائه هذا الاب الذي لم يستمر معنا طويلاً لكي نستفيد منه ووالعزاء موصول الي الدفعة الثالثة كلية الاداب جامعة النيلين وكل اسرة الاساتذة بجامعة النيلين ان لله وان له راجعون

  4. Ali Dinar says:

    It’s really a great loss for those who knew him or taught by him. I have the great honor that he taught me at Khartoum University. I salute his dedication and commitment to his profession against all the odds. RIP diktor Khidir. Ali Dinar

  5. It’s really a great loss. I hope his colleagues and students may continue his researches & studies.

  6. Kyriakos Vergos says:

    In the above blog entry of the Medieval SAI Project a reference is made to the Sudanese town of Kosti being named after a Greek resident. I have always been told by various family members that this Greek resident was my great uncle Kostis Mitilias, the brother of my paternal grandmother. I have always taken these claims with a ‘pinch of salt’, however the aforementioned blog seems to offer some corroboration of these tales. My great uncle was apparently quite a character and apparently much loved by the locals. It is a pity that more is not known about this man and his contribution to the Sudan and its people.

    • ergamenis says:

      What a happy chance to meet you through our blog!!
      Thank you for the comment and input.
      I am very interested in the history of the Greeks in Sudan and would be honored if we could continue the discussion through emails.
      Mine is: atsakos@gmail.com

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