Excavation at Amara West

With one of the world’s most significant and comprehensive collections of objects from ancient Nubia and Sudan, the British Museum has an active programme of research seeking to shed light on the cultures that produced these objects, from exploring the development of early states, to understanding the impact of climate change, and the history of health, diet and disease.

Excavation at Amara WestFieldwork at Kawa

Research at the British Museum

Sudan lies at the interface between sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Mediterranean and has been the site of many critical developments in human history.

Some of the earliest-recorded organised settlements and burial grounds are found in northern Sudan; later, the great urban civilisations of ancient Kush, and three Medieval kingdoms, arose there.

Sudan has always been an area of intense cultural interactions, trading networks and exchange of ideas, and has experienced periods of both imperial expansion and colonisation by other polities.

The British Museum houses important archaeological and ethnographic collections from Sudan, with a permanent display in Room 65: Sudan, Egypt and Nubia. The enormous breadth of the collection illustrates every aspect of culture from the ancient Nile Valley from the Prehistoric era down to the Christian and Islamic periods.

An active programme of research around these collections seeks to shed light on the cultures that produced these objects. This includes study and analyses of objects in the collection, but also a wide-ranging programme of fieldwork in collaboration with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (Sudan), notably at Amara West, Kawa, Kurgus and Dangeil. Key research themes include the development of early states and urbanism, the impact of climate change on human settlement patterns, the ancient and modern experience of colonialism and international trade, and the history of health, diet and disease.

Kerma ware pottery beaker

Kerma ware pottery beaker, from Kerma, Sudan, about 1750-1550 BC



Amara West

Amara West

An interdisciplinary research project to investigate urban experience, cultural interaction, climate change and health at a pharaonic town in Nubia.

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Excavations at Kawa

Kawa was occupied for nearly two millennia from the fourteenth century BC and is now one of the best preserved archaeological sites in Sudan.

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Excavation and conservation of a Meroitic temple, and research in the associated town and cemeteries.

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The British Museum houses one of the world’s most significant and comprehensive ancient Nubian and Sudanese collections.

Today it numbers more than 20,000 artefacts and illustrates every aspect of culture in the ancient Nile Valley from the Prehistoric era down to the Medieval period and later.

All objects from Sudan 
More about the history of the collection 

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Founded in 1991 the Sudan Archaeological Research Society provides a focus for anyone interested in the archaeology of the Sudan and of Egypt south of the First Nile Cataract.

More about the Sudan Archaeological Research Society  


The British Museum and the Anthropologists’ Fund for Urgent Anthropological Research offer a Research Fellowship in Urgent Anthropology. Closing date: 10 January 2014.

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The Museum’s work in Sudan is made possible through the generous support of a number of sponsors.

  • The Institute for Bioarchaeology
  • The Leverhulme Trust
  • Archaeology4All
  • The British Academy
  • The Fondation Michela Schiff-Giorgini
  • Sudan Archaeological Research Society