Further on the pioneers of Sudan and Nubian Studies

Sir Flinders Petrie might have been called “The man who discovered Egypt”, but it seems that he may also be granted the honor of having unearthed the first Middle Nubian (ca. 2500-1500 BCE) remains, namely the burials of the Pan-Grave people, as Henriette has already noted in her master thesis published as a book that you can purchase HERE.

As for the man who discovered the first grave of the Kerma culture in 1898, Henriette informs us that it was Arthur C. Mace, who worked with Petrie at Abadiya. However, that grave was classified back then together with the Pan-Grave remains. It was only fifteen years later that George Reisner would excavate – among a large number of sites along the Nile – the large Kerma cemetry at Kerma in Upper Nubia. By then, he had already described the chronological sequence of the ancient Nubian cultures in Lower Nubia. If there is indeed a “man who discovered Sudan”, then Reisner can lay claims to this title.

But there are others who may claim a share in the honor of discovering the antiquities that put Sudan on the map of the richest countries – also – from an archaeological point of view. Names like Lepsius, Cailliaud, and Garstang are emblematic for the progress of Sudan Studies and interestingly enough represent three of the European nations that have a leading role in Nubian Studies, namely Germany, France, and England.

We have written in May 2011 about the Lepsius project organized by the Humboldt University of Berlin in cooperation with the Sudan Archaeological Society of Germany (SAG), also based in Berlin. The focus in Berlin seems to be turned particularly to the very important Musawwarat Project, one of the most interesting sites of the Meroitic civilization, which also can boast one of the souhternmost churches of the Christian Nubian world, while among its graffiti several were made during the medieval centuries.

The two figures that were the inspiration for today’s entry are also very much linked with the Meroitic civilization: Cailliaud was the one who first correctly re-identified the site of ancient Meroe and Garstang was the first who conducted systematic excavations in that site.

Interestingly enough, two new projects, a publication and an exhibition, dedicated to the works of these two pioneering figures were recently announced on the Net.

The first one is a republication of the manuscript of Cailliaud’s main work after his two journeys along the Nile, titled “Research on the Arts and Crafts of the Ancient Egyptians, Nubians, and Ethiopians“. You can read more HERE.

And the other is an exhibition at Rossendale Museum in Lancashire (18 August – 28 October), which “highlights the work of Blackburn-born Egyptologist John Garstang and, importantly, emphasises the unusually rich collections of Egyptian and Sudanese antiquities in the North West of England“. The exhibition is titled “From Egypt’s sands to the Northern Hills” and for more details see HERE. About the Garstang Museum in Liverpool HERE.

But there are other nations too that have contributed with leading figures and even University schools to the promotion of Sudan and Nubian Studies. We have written in various occasions about Bergen and the other Scandinavian countries. We have also referred times and again to the leading school of studies in topics of Medieval Nubia, namely Poland. In future entries, we should turn a bit closer our look to contributions from two more Central European countries (Austria and Hungary), two Southern European ones (Italy and Spain) and one from Eastern Europe (Russia).

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