Category Archives: SUDAN

Ancient wall painting in the Nubian pyramids depicting a Giant carrying two elephants

Ancient wall painting in the Nubian pyramids depicting a Giant carrying two elephants

If you drive north from Khartoum along a narrow desert road toward the ancient city of Meros, a breathtaking view emerges beyond the mirage: dozens of steep pyramids piercing the horizon. No matter how many times you visit, there is an amazing sense of discovery.

The Pyramids of Mero in Bazarwia, Sudan

In Meros itself, once the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, the road divides the city. To the east is the royal cemetery, filled with about 50 sandstone and red brick pyramids of varying heights; The legacy of the European robbers of the 19th century has been broken by many. To the west is the royal city, which includes the ruins of a palace, a temple and a royal bath. 

Each structure has a distinctive architecture that draws on evidence of global ties to the local, Egyptian and Greco-Roman decorative tastes—Mero.

A Brief History of the “Land of Kush”

Aerial view of the Pyramids of Mero

The first settlers in North Sudan date back to 300,000 years ago. It is home to the oldest sub-Saharan African state, the Kingdom of Kush (around 2500–1500 BC). This culture produced some of the most beautiful pottery in the Nile Valley, including the Karma Beaker.

Sudan was reputed for its rich natural resources especially gold, ebony and ivory. Many items in the British Museum collection are made of these materials. 

Ancient Egyptians were drawn south in search of these resources during the Old Kingdom (about 2686–2181 BC), which often led to conflict as Egyptian and Sudanese rulers sought to control trade.

Kush was the most powerful kingdom in the Nile Valley around 1700 BC. The conflict between Egypt and Kush culminated in the conquest of Kush by Thutmose I (1504–1492 BC). In the west and south, Neolithic cultures persisted as both regions were out of reach of the Egyptian rulers.

Peculiar murals of the city of Meros and the giant carrying elephants

The city of Meros is marked by over two hundred pyramids, many of which are in ruins. They have the typical shape and proportions of the Nubian pyramids.

The site of Meros was brought to the knowledge of Europeans in 1821 by the French mineralogist Frédéric Callioud (1787–1869). The most interesting objects were the reliefs and paintings on the walls of the chambers of the tombs. One of the pictures depicts a giant proportion carrying two elephants.

Ancient wall painting in the Nubian pyramids depicting a Giant carrying two elephants
Sudan Meroitic illustration of a Nubian carrying two elephants

His features are not Nubian but Caucasian and his hair is light-coloured. Will this mural be evidence of the existence of a race of red-haired six-fingered demons in ancient times?

In the distant past, did demons really roam the Nile Valley?

In 79 AD, the Roman historian Josephus Flavius ​​wrote that the last race of Egyptian giants lived during the reign of King Joshua in the 79th century BC. He further wrote that they had huge bodies, and their faces were so different from those of ordinary humans that it was wonderful to see them, and it was scary to hear their loud voice which was like the roar of a lion.

In addition, many wall paintings from ancient Egypt depict the builders of the pyramids as “giant people” ranging in size from 5 to 6 meters tall. According to experts, these giants were capable of lifting 4 to 5 tons of blocks separately. 

Some of those ancient murals showed giant kings ruling ancient Egypt, while some depicted comparatively small-sized servants under giants.

In 1988, Gregor Spori, a Swiss entrepreneur and a passionate admirer of ancient Egyptian history, met a gang of robbers of ancient burials through one of the private suppliers in Egypt. 

The meeting took place in a small house in Bir Hooker, a hundred kilometres northeast of Cairo, where Spori saw a giant mummified finger wrapped in rags.

The mummified Egyptian giant finger

The finger was very dry and light. According to Spori, the incredible creature to which he belonged must have been at least 5 meters (about 16.48 feet) in height. To prove authenticity, a Tomb Raider showed a photo of an X-ray of a mummified finger taken in the 1960s.

First Human Traces Buried in an Ancient Gold Mine in Eastern Sahara

First Human Traces Buried in an Ancient Gold Mine in Eastern Sahara

In an ancient gold mine in the Eastern Sahara, some of the earliest evidence of human existence going back 1.8 million years have been unearthed. Archaeologists from the University of Wroclaw discovered a cache of artefacts from the African variety of Homo erectus, the ancestor of humans (Homo sapiens), around 70 kilometres east of Atbara.

Included among the hundreds of artefacts were massive, almond-shaped cleavers resembling fists, weighing several kilograms, and with chipped edges on both sides forming a pointed tip at the junction.

“In the eastern part of Sudan, in the Eastern Desert, like in many places in the Sahara, a gold rush broke out. People were looking for this valuable ore in makeshift, open-cast mines. While exposing subsequent layers, miners came across several-hundred-thousand-year-old tools.”

By examining layers of soil and sand above the objects using the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) method the archaeologists were able to determine the age of the tools. 

Research project leader Professor Mirosław Masojć from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław said: “It turned out that they were about 390,000 years old.

Archaeologists excavated several undisturbed areas within the abandoned gold mine in Sahara and found hundreds of ancient tools.

This means that the layers below are certainly older. Based on the workmanship, I believe that the tools may be over 700,000 years old, perhaps even a million years old, like their counterparts discovered further in the south of Africa.”

Previously, Professor Masojć’s team previously had discovered hand axes and other tools, but never ones that were technologically so close to those from equatorial Africa, or that old. 

It is now thought that in the place where the artefacts were discovered, there used to be a workshop where tools were made because both finished ‘products, as well as flakes formed during their production, have been preserved.

Masojć added that these are the oldest known human creations with such a well-confirmed chronology from Egypt and Sudan. He said: “Ancient tools are found in deserts, but never before have they come from layers that would allow to safely determine their age.”

So far, researchers have found nearly 200 sites where Palaeolithic stone products have been preserved. Some of them are in mines (these are located about 350 km north of Khartoum).

Quartzite unidirectional cores from the mine. Credit: Mirosław Masojć

They find all sorts of tools used by both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. The age of the tools varies greatly, from over half a million to 60,000 years.

Masojć said it cannot be ruled out that there are even older artefacts in the deeper parts of the mines, but added that accessing them is currently difficult.

He said: “The last research season took place at the end of 2019 when the political situation was very tense, and ultimately there was a coup in Sudan and the long-standing regime was overthrown.

The work was very difficult in terms of logistics: there were fuel shortages, we had to avoid protests, people were dying.”

Researchers from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Germany and the US were involved in the project financed by the National Science Centre. The research results have just been published in the prestigious journal Plos One

Dozens of ancient pyramids found at a single site in Sudan

Dozens of ancient pyramids found at a single site in Sudan

Among the discoveries are pyramids with a circle built inside them, cross-braces connecting the circle to the corners of the pyramid. Outside of Sedeinga only one pyramid is known to have been built in this way.

At least 35 small pyramids, along with graves, have been discovered clustered closely together at a site called Sedeinga in Sudan. Discovered between 2009 and 2012, researchers are surprised at how densely the pyramids are concentrated.

In one field season alone, in 2011, the research team discovered 13 pyramids packed into roughly 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), or slightly larger than an NBA basketball court. They date back around 2,000 years to a time when a kingdom named Kush flourished in Sudan. Kush shared a border with Egypt and, later on, the Roman Empire.

The desire of the kingdom’s people to build pyramids was apparently influenced by Egyptian funerary architecture.

At Sedeinga, researchers say, pyramid building continued for centuries. “The density of the pyramids is huge,” said researcher Vincent Francigny, a research associate with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, in an interview with LiveScience.

“Because it lasted for hundreds of years they built more, more, more pyramids and after centuries they started to fill all the spaces that were still available in the necropolis.”

This aerial photo shows a series of pyramids and graves that a team of archaeologists has been exploring at Sedeinga in Sudan. Since 2009 they have discovered at least 35 small pyramids at the site, the largest being 22 feet (7 meters) in width.

The biggest pyramids they discovered are about 22 feet (7 meters) wide at their base with the smallest example, likely constructed for the burial of a child, being only 30 inches (750 millimetres) long.

The tops of the pyramids are not attached, as the passage of time and the presence of a camel caravan route resulted in damage to the monuments. Francigny said that the tops would have been decorated with a capstone depicting either a bird or a lotus flower on top of a solar orb.

The building continued until, eventually, they ran out of room to build pyramids. “They reached a point where it was so filled with people and graves that they had to reuse the oldest one,” Francigny said.

Francigny is excavation director of the French Archaeological Mission to Sedeinga, the team that made the discoveries. He and team leader Claude Rilly published an article detailing the results of their 2011 field season in the most recent edition of the journal Sudan and Nubia.

The inner-circle

Among the discoveries were several pyramids designed with an inner cupola (circular structure) connected to the pyramid corners through cross-braces. Rilly and Francigny noted in their paper that the pyramid design resembles a “French Formal Garden.”

Only one pyramid, outside of Sedeinga, is known to have been constructed this way, and it’s a mystery why the people of Sedeinga were fond of the design. It “did not add either to the solidity or to the external aspect [appearance] of the monument,” Rilly and Francigny write.

A discovery made in 2012 may provide a clue, Francigny said in the interview. “What we found this year is very intriguing,” he said.

“A grave of a child and it was covered by only a kind of circle, almost complete, of brick.” It’s possible, he said, that when pyramid building came into fashion at Sedeinga it was combined with a local circle-building tradition called tumulus construction, resulting in pyramids with circles within them.

People were buried beside the pyramids in tomb chambers that often held more than one individual. This image shows a child who was buried with necklaces.

An offering for grandma?

The graves beside the pyramids had largely been plundered, possibly in antiquity, by the time archaeologists excavated them. Researchers did find skeletal remains and, in some cases, artefacts. 

One of the most interesting new finds was an offering table found by the remains of a pyramid. . It appears to depict the goddess Isis and the jackal-headed god Anubis and includes an inscription, written in Meroitic language, dedicated to a woman named “Aba-la,” which may be a nickname for “grandmother,” Rilly writes.

It reads in translation:

Oh, Isis! Oh Osiris!

It is Aba-la.

Make her drink plentiful water;

Make her eat plentiful bread;

Make her be served a good meal.

The offering table with the inscription was a final send-off for a woman, possibly a grandmother, given a pyramid burial nearly 2,000 years ago.

Medieval Church Excavated in Sudan’s Northern State

Medieval Church Excavated in Sudan’s Northern State

Science in Poland reports that researchers led by Artur Obłuski of the University of Warsaw have found the remains of a large medieval church in the centre of Old Dongola, Northern State, Sudan.

According to, Assist. Prof. Artur Obłuski, the head of the Dongola expedition and the director of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW), this discovery changes not only our knowledge about the city itself but also the way we reconstruct the history of the Nubian church.

Dongola was the capital of Makuria, one of the three Christian Nubian kingdoms. Archaeologists from PCMA UW have been working there since 1964, continuing the research initiated by Prof. K. Michałowski after the success of his work in another Nubian centre – Faras, the capital of Nobadia.

Since 2018, work in Dongola has been carried out under the European Research Council (ERC) grant “UMMA – Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city”, headed by Assist. Prof. Obłuski.

In 2021, archaeologists cleaned the wall of the church’s apse, together with an adjacent wall and the nearby dome of a large tomb. The structures are located in the very centre of the city.

The walls of the apse, which was the most sacred place in the church, are decorated with paintings depicting two rows of monumental figures. It is the largest apse so far discovered in Nubia: it has a diameter of 6 m, and the width of the church to which it belonged is approx. 26 m.

“If our estimates based on the known dimensions are confirmed, it is the largest church discovered so far in Nubia,” – says Obłuski, adding – “Its size is important, but so is the location of the building – in the heart of the 200-hectare city, the capital of the combined kingdoms of Nobadia and Makuria. Just to the east of the apse, a large domed building was added.

We have a great analogy for such an architectural complex: Faras. There too, the cathedral stood in the centre of the citadel, and to the east of it was the domed tomb of Joannes, the bishop of Faras. However, there is a major difference in the scale of the buildings. The dome over Joannes’ tomb is 1.5 m in diameter, while the dome over the Dongolese building is 7.5 m.”

Archaeologists assume that, just like in Faras, the large church in Dongola served as a cathedral, next to which a tomb of dignitaries, probably bishops, was erected. The confirmation of this hypothesis will have significant consequences for Nubiology.

Until now, another church located outside the citadel was considered to be Dongola’s cathedral, a building whose features would influence the religious architecture of Nubia over the centuries. “If we are right, it was a completely different building that set the trends,” – says Obłuski.

The newly discovered building stands in the middle of the citadel that is surrounded by a wall about 10 m high and 5 m thick.

The excavations have shown that this was the heart of the entire kingdom in the Makurian period as all structures uncovered there were of a monumental character: churches, a palace, and large villas belonging to a church and state elites. Test trenches dug in the building have yielded promising results.

“The sounding in the apse is approx. 9 m deep. This means that the eastern part of the building is preserved to the impressive height of a modern three-storey block of flats. And this means there may be more paintings and inscriptions under our feet, just like in Faras,” – says the archaeologist.

Therefore, among the team members are conservators from the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, working under the supervision of Prof. Krzysztof Chmielewski. Their immediate task is to secure the discovered paintings on an ongoing basis, and in the long term, to prepare them for display. Unlike at Faras, they can be left on the church walls.

“In order to continue the excavations, the weakened and peeling wall plaster covered with painting decoration must be strengthened, and then carefully cleaned of layers of earth, dirt and salt deposits that are particularly harmful to the wall paintings.

See Also: MORE ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

When a suitable roof is erected over this valuable find, it will be possible to start the final aesthetic conservation of the paintings,” – explains Prof. Chmielewski, adding that this type of rescue conservation requires the involvement of considerable resources, time, and skilled specialists.

The next excavation seasons in Dongola are planned for the fall of this year and the winter of 2022.

Divers Exploring A 2,300-Year-Old Pyramid Have Found The Underwater Tomb Of A Powerful Pharaoh

Divers Exploring A 2,300-Year-Old Pyramid Have Found The Underwater Tomb Of A Powerful Pharaoh

Have you ever heard of having to use scuba gear to explore an ancient pyramid? we didn’t either until we came across the story of an archaeologist Pearce Paul Creasman. His story involves the study of an ancient race just as advanced as the Egyptians, who shared the same continent with history and culture just as rich and shrouded in mystery.

Get ready as the richest go underwater to explore the tomb of a pharaoh that once ruled the “kingdom of kush“. Before we dive right into our pyramid diving story, let’s back it up a bit and learn a little bit about pyramids first. Enormous architectural wonders were built all over the world, centuries before modern technology.

Pyramids were used by ancient peoples as both places of worship and as monuments and tombs of the dead. It’s estimated that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 pyramids still standing in the world today, they can be found on every continent on earth except for icy Antarctica. The most famous of course is the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt. The largest stands at 455 feet. The ancient Egyptians built these amazing structures as tombs and monuments for their pharaohs.

Nuri pyramids.

Over in the Americas, many ancient tribes built step pyramids as temples for worshipping their gods. The famous El Castillo pyramid of Chichen Itza for example was built by the Mayans over eleven hundred years ago in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It was built as a temple to the serpent God Kukulkan.

In ancient Greece the Pyramid of hellinikon was built some 100 years earlier than the Great Pyramids of Egypt, its purpose remains unknown. In China there stands the great white pyramid of XI’AN, we know very little about it as the Chinese government has banned access to the structure but rumor has it that it could be twice the height of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

On the Australian continent there are two possible yet unconfirmed pyramid sites, the Gympie pyramid and Walsh’s pyramid, and as previously mentioned exactly zero on Antarctica, despite a recent debunked story about one the images turned out to be snow-covered pyramidal-shaped mountaintops.

A shabti found in the submerged chamber of a Kushite pyramid.

The country that holds the title for the most pyramids still intact is surprisingly not Egypt but its neighbor to the south on the African continent Sudan. Sudan is home to some two hundred and forty pyramids built by the ancient Cushite people. Sudan and the cushites also happen to be at the center of our archaeological story.

The kingdom of kush also referred to as Nubia was located in northeast Africa just south of ancient Egypt in modern-day Sudan and it had close ties to ancient Egypt. Its main cities were situated along the Nile River and two of its main tributaries the White Nile and the Blue Nile. If not for the formation of these waterways and their proximity to gold and iron ore deposits it’s likely humans would not have settled in this dry desert region.

The kingdom of kush lasted for over 1,400 years. First established circa 1070 BCE when it gained its independence from Egypt. In 727 BCE kush took control of ancient Egypt, ruling it until the Assyrians arrived in the next century. 

Once the Roman Empire conquered Egypt, the kingdom of kush began to weaken and eventually collapsed sometime in the 4th century CE. The Cushite was very similar to the ancient Egyptians in many ways, sharing a religion, a form of government, and many aspects of culture.

They worshiped Egyptian gods and mummified their dead and entombed them in pyramids. Aside from the Pharaoh and other rulers the highest class in kush were the religious leaders the priests. Much like their Egyptian neighbor’s religion and a strong belief in the afterlife played an important role in the life of the Cushite people.

The pyramids that the Cushite people built to entomb their pharaohs and other important figures looked very similar to the ancient Egyptian structures. They did have a few key differences though for one they differed in size with the average cushite pyramid standing roughly 6 to 30 meters or 20 to 98 feet high while the average Egyptian pyramid was much taller at roughly 138 meters or 453 feet. There was also one other major difference while the Egyptians burial chambers were located inside the pyramidal structure itself the kush burial chambers were located underneath the pyramids buried below the structure.

One such leader buried in this matter was the Pharaoh Nastasen. He ruled the kingdom of kush from 335 to 310 BCE. The little that we do know about this Nubian King is from writings on stone tablets and a more few artifacts. The writings tell us that the highlight of his reign came when the Pharaoh Nastasen defeated an invasion from Upper Egypt and gained many spoils in his victory. 

Once Nastasen crossed into the afterlife he became the last cushites, King, to be buried in the royal cemetery and necropolis at nepata. A glorious graveyard spanning more than seven and a half million square feet.

The site of the royal cemetery in the ancient city of nepata is now Karima, Sudan, located about one mile west of the Nile river bank. Seen from the sky one of its most commanding features is an arc of some twenty pyramids built between 650 BCE and 300 BCE. National Geographics Kristin Romy describes this arc of pyramids as a quote “strung together like gems on a delicate necklace”.

There are more than twenty pyramids at the site overall though. At least 60 Nubian kings and queens are buried there among hundreds of other individuals. The most famous resident is Pharaoh taharqa who ruled all of Egypt during the seventh century BCE. The Pharaoh Nastasen’s twenty-three hundred-year-old pyramid tomb the last of its kind stands at roughly thirty feet or 9.1 meters and was erected at one of the lowest points of elevation at the royal necropolis.

This is one of the reasons why Nastasen’s burial chambers are completely underwater. Why exactly? the pyramid’s proximity to the Nile River combined with both natural and man-made climate change has caused the groundwater levels to rise over the centuries. Submerging the tombs that are cut into the bedrock underneath the pyramids. Due to its low elevation nastasen’s tomb is among the most submerged. 

Gold leaf found in the tomb.

Enter archaeologists Pearce Paul Creaseman. Creaseman holds the dual-title of both Egyptologist and underwater archaeologist yes indeed that is a thing, when Creasman first visited the royal cemetery back in 2018 he saw his unique skill set as an opportunity to explore the watery tombs and discover more than what was ever uncovered when the site was first explored nearly a century ago. Back then the water was only knee-deep now the water reached the ceiling of the tomb chambers.

After Creaseman and his team spent the better part of a year digging the staircases leading to nestasen’s tomb out from under sand they put on their scuba gear and headed into the murky waters. Creaseman had to make his way through a series of three chambers. While navigating in water thick with muddy sediment and making vision close to impossible.

When they reached the third and final chamber they discovered a treasure trove of artifacts including gold foil, shabti dolls, funerary figures whom the ancient Nubians believed would accompany the deceased into the afterlife. Also in the chamber the sarcophagus of the pharaoh Nastasen himself. The only problem that ceiling-high muddy water makes excavation and study of these artifacts highly problematic. Creaseman is optimistic though and now packed with experiences and knowing what to expect.

Their aim is to return to the site later in 2020 an attempt to excavate the burial chamber in what they themselves argue is an audacious and logistical challenge. Only then will we know the extent and value of the treasures inside this pyramid and perhaps eventually the dozens of others. Says Christman ” I think we finally have the technology to be able to tell the story of Nuri, to fill in the blanks of what happened here. it’s a remarkable point in history that’s so few know about it. it’s a story that deserves to be told.” So how about you would you take the plunge into those muddy waters to uncover ancient treasures?

The lost city in the sands: Inside the ancient citadel of the Black Pharaoh’s which has pyramids to rival Egypt

The lost city in the sands: Inside the ancient citadel of the Black Pharaoh’s which has pyramids to rival Egypt.

This is the lost city of Meroë in Sudan, with beautifully maintained pyramids as impressive as their more famous counterparts in Egypt.  However, unlike the famed pyramids of Giza, the Sudanese site is largely deserted.

The pyramids at Meroë, some 125 miles north of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, are rarely visited despite being a Unesco World Heritage site.

Sanctions against the government of longtime President Omar al-Bashir over Sudan’s long-running internal conflicts limit its access to foreign aid and donations, while also hampering tourism.

The site, known as the Island of Meroë because an ancient, long-dried river ran around it, once served as the principal residence of the rulers of the Kush kingdom – one of the earliest civilizations in the Nile region – and known as the Black Pharaohs.

Their pyramids, ranging from 20 feet to 100 feet tall, were built between 720 and 300 B.C. The entrances usually face east to greet the rising sun.

‘Egypt doesn’t have the monopoly on pyramids,’ said Eric Lafforgue, a photographer who travels the world documenting tribes. 

‘Sudan has many of them and discovers new ones regularly. The most beautiful and impressive pyramids form the Meroë Necropolis.’

The Unesco World Heritage website describes the site as: ‘The heartland of the Kingdom of Kush, a major power from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D.’

It explains that the property consists of the royal city of the Kushite kings at Meroe and the nearby religious site of Naqa and Musawwarat es Sufra.  

Meroë and others bear the marks of more recent history, with many marked out by their flat tops – the result of being dynamited by Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini, who is 1834, came and pillaged the site. 

The pyramids bear decorative elements inspired by Pharaonic Egypt, Greece, and Rome, according to Unesco, making them priceless relics. 

However, overeager archaeologists in the 19th century tore off the golden tips of some pyramids and reduced some to rubble, according to Abdel-Rahman Omar, the head of the National Museum of Sudan in Khartoum.

The ruins of a kiosk discovered in Naga, a religious site near to the ancient Kush city of Meroe, where the rulers were one of the earliest civilisations in the Nile region
Naga, where this sculpture of a ram was one of many discovered dating back to the first century B.C., forms part of the Unesco world heritage site with Meroe and religious site Musawwarat es Sufra

On a recent day, locals reported just a few tourists and white camels roaming the site, watched by a handful of security guards. 

Sudan’s tourism industry has been devastated by economic sanctions imposed over the conflicts in Darfur and other regions. 

Al-Bashir’s government, which came to power following a bloodless Islamist coup in 1989, has struggled to care for its antiquities.

Qatar has pledged $135 million to renovate and support Sudan’s antiquities in the last few years. But Mr Omar said Sudan still receives just 15,000 tourists per year. 

Carving on 5,000-year-old Sudan rock shows world oldest Place name

Carving on 5,000-year-old Sudan rock shows world oldest Place name

Wadi Al-Malik is the bed of an extinct river in Sudan that is rarely explored by archaeologists, but a recent dig has uncovered an incredible discovery – the world’s oldest ‘place-name sign.’

A team with the University of Bonn deciphered four hieroglyphs carved more than 5,000 years ago on a large stone that read ‘Domain of the Horus King Scorpion.’

What makes this inscription unique is the circular symbol toward the top right that indicates the rock was a marking of a ruler’s territory.

Archaeologists note that such writings in a remote area were unusual for those living in the fourth millennium BC, but it highlights the process of internal colonization in the Nile River

Egyptologist Prof. Dr Ludwig D. Morenz from the University of Bonn, said: ‘This ruler called ‘Scorpion’ was a prominent figure in the phase of the emergence of the first territorial state in world history.’

Carving on 5,000-year-old Sudan rock shows world oldest Place name
A team with the University of Bonn deciphered four hieroglyphs carved more than 5,000 years ago on a large stone that read ‘Domain of the Horus King Scorpion, making it the world’s oldest place name same

Morenz continued to explain that Scorpion lived around 3070BC, but the team has yet to determine the dates and length of his reign.

He told DailyMail.com in an email: ‘Around 3100 there started something completely new in the Nile Valley: the first territorial state (one political power reigning of a territory of more than 800km north-south).’ 

‘The ‘Scorpion’ I am talking about played an important role in this process (as the first territorial state in world history I think it is of high importance even for our understanding of ‘global history’).’

‘Furthermore, I think that with our findings in Wadi el-Malik we can get a better understanding of the internal socio-economic development of Egypt a bit more than 5000 years ago.’

The name ‘Scorpion’ is written together with three other hieroglyphs on a rock inscription discovered more than two years ago in Wadi Abu Subeira to the east of Aswan.

The team from the University of Boon collaborated with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities when the stone was discovered two years ago, with the hopes of deciphering the ancient drawings.

The name ‘Scorpion’ is written by what looks like the predatory arachnids, along with two other images. But in the top right corner is a circular design that reveals that stone is a place name sign

The name ‘Scorpion’ is written by what looks like the predatory arachnids, along with two other images. But in the top right corner is a circular design that reveals that stone is a place name sign.

‘This is precisely why the new discovery of the rock inscription is so valuable,’ Morenz said.

‘Despite its brevity, the inscription opens a window into the world of the emergence of the Egyptian state and the culture associated with it.’

The researchers explain that Egypt was the first territorial state worldwide. There were already ruling systems elsewhere before, but these were much smaller,’ said Morenz.

The name ‘Scorpion’ is written together with three other hieroglyphs on a rock inscription discovered more than two years ago in Wadi Abu Subeira to the east of Aswan

However, during this time it was popularly known that the north-south extension of Egypt was already nearly 500 miles.

In fact, several rival population centres merged into the new central state,’ says Morenz. Royal estates, known as domains, were founded on the periphery of the empire in order to consolidate the pharaonic empire.’ 

In addition to various rock carvings, other early rock inscriptions were discovered here and found together with pottery from this period. 

‘This area is still in the early stages of archaeological investigation,’ says Morenz.  The researchers see this as an opportunity to take a closer look at the momentous process of the world’s first state emergence.  

Archaeologists discover 35 burial chambers in the Sudan desert with fascinating links to Ancient Egypt

Archaeologists discover 35 burial chambers in the Sudan desert with fascinating links to Ancient Egypt

Archaeologists excavating a site in Sudan have discovered 35 pyramids revealing fascinating links between the bygone Kingdom of Kush that once existed there and ancient Egypt.

The pyramids, which date back around 2,000 years, are smaller than most Egyptian examples with the largest being 22 feet in width and the smallest, likely constructed for the burial of a child, being just 30 inches.

The site in Sedeinga, northern Sudan, was part of the ancient kingdom of Kush which shared a border with Egypt and, later on, the Roman Empire.

Archaeologists discover 35 burial chambers in the Sudan desert with fascinating links to Ancient Egypt
Discovery: The skeleton of a child buried with necklaces around its neck was unearthed amid a complex of 35 pyramids discovered in Sudan
Find: Some of the pyramids discovered in the dig in Sedeinga in northern Sudan. Unusually some had a circle built inside them with cross-braces connecting the circle to the corners of the pyramid

One factor that has surprised the team was how densely concentrated the pyramids were. In a single area of 5,381 square feet, roughly the size of a basketball court, they found 13 pyramids.

Sadly the condition of the pyramids has suffered from the presence of a camel caravan route and the long passage of time and none of the top sections remains intact.

Capstones, depicting either a bird or a lotus flower on top of a solar orb, who have originally been placed at the top of the pyramids. Graves were discovered beside the pyramids in tomb chambers which were often found to have held more than one body.

Packed: One feature that surprised the team was how densely concentrated the pyramids were. In a single area of 5,381 square feet, roughly the size of a basketball court, they found 13 pyramids

Sadly these graves had all been plundered, possibly many hundreds of years ago, however, the archaeologists did find skeletal remains and some artefacts.

The archaeological team believes building of pyramids at Sedeinga continued for centuries and was strongly influenced by Egyptian funerary architecture.

Vincent Francigny, a research associate with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, told LiveScience: ‘The density of the pyramids is huge.

‘Because it lasted for hundreds of years they built more, more, more pyramids and after centuries they started to fill all the spaces that were still available in the necropolis.

‘They reached a point where it was so filled with people and graves that they had to reuse the oldest one.’

Some of the pyramids were found to have been built with cross-braces connecting the corners to an inner circle. Interestingly only one pyramid outside of Sedeinga is known to have been built in this way.

Mr Francigny believes that when pyramid building came into fashion at Sedeinga it could have been combined with a local circle-building tradition called tumulus construction, resulting in pyramids with circles within them.

He added: ‘What we found this year is very intriguing. A grave of a child and it was covered by only a kind of circle, almost complete, of brick.’

Among the artefacts discovered were depictions of Egyptian gods including Bes who is associated with children and pregnant mothers. One of the most interesting finds was an offering table depicting the jackal-headed god Anubis and a goddess believed to be Isis.

A dedication to a woman named ‘Aba-la,’ which researchers believe may be a nickname for ‘grandmother,’ was inscribed with ancient Meroitic writing – a script derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs.