Nubia, not Egypt, may have been the first true African Civilization

In the article, Nubia, not Egypt, may have been the first true African Civilization, Scott Macleod discusses a recent discovery that may change what we believe about African civilization. He also explores a growing persuasion among many archeologists: Nubia was not just a land of vassals and traders, but rather a distinct civilization of its own and may have been the origin of African civilization.

Macleod begins by explaining how archeologist Timothy Kendall recently lead a expedition in northern Sudan and discovered twenty five stone slabs. Pieced together, these twenty-five stones depict golden stars set in a bright blue sky with crowned vultures flying away. Kendall, an associate curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, believes the picture to be symbolic. He speculates that these slabs were once on a vaulted ceiling of a passageway. This passageway, he believes, led directly to a temple, carved into a 300 foot high hill known as Jebal Berkal. In the temple, he imagines the rulers of ancient Nubian kingdom Napata and Meroe practiced coronation rites. But the passageway to the temple, he believes, was collapsed by an earthquake or rockslide at roughly A.D.100-A.D.200. Therefore, Kendall can only speculate until he bores through the rubble. Dietrich Wildung, curator of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, said that such preserved findings would be "nothing less than the discovery of a new dimension of the ancient world." Despite the possible magnitude of this unearthing, the author points out that Kendall's discovery is one of many in Northern Sudan. Indeed, Archeologists have recently flooded Northern Sudan because of the wealth of artifacts being excavated there.

Scholars are coming to increasingly accept that Nubia was not just a land of traders along the nile, but rather a civilization of people with distinct features and kingdoms of their own. The author notes that there is now enough evidence for a scientific consensus that ancient Nubia, although influenced by Africa, Arabia, Egypt, and the Sahara, was its own individual civilization.

Charles Bonnet, an experienced archeologist, has worked to give us this new position. Bonnet, who originally went to Sudan to find Egyptian civilization, has spent the last twenty-four years excavating Kerma. Bonnet is responsible for excavating a funerary temple in Kerma two years ago. In this temple, he found inscribed images on walls depicting objects and animals neither completely Egyptian nor African. "But step by step," Bonnet acknowledges, "I came to understand that the Nubian civilizations are really extraordinary. Although there have been Egyptian influences, there is Nubian originality and Nubian Identity."

Macleod concludes by affirming that Kendall hopes to show a new dimension of the relationship between Nubian and Egyptian civilizations at Jebal Berkal. Today, although Kendall hopes to find an intact, preserved temple that existed eighteen centuries ago, we are left to mere conjecture until he burrows through the passage to the temple. Nevertheless, while some archeologists formerly believed that Africa was not capable of producing such elevated civilization during that time period, recent discoveries in Northern Sudan are proving such suppositions to be unfounded.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License