The Berber-Abidiya archaeological project
- Dr Salah eldin Mohamed Ahmed, Director of Field Work, National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudan
- Institute for Bioarchaeology
- Michela Schiff Giorgini Foundation of the
- National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudan
- Anonymous donor
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Column in the temple sanctuary
The Berber-Abidiya archaeological project is a joint mission with the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) focused on the Berber-Abidiya region situated just south of the 5th Nile cataract. At NCAM’s request, the mission has focused on the late Kushite city of Dangeil (third century BC – fouth century AD) and on the associated cemeteries in Dangeil and Berber.
These sites are threatened by modern development which includes expansion of the modern villages, construction of roads and industries, and new agricultural and irrigation projects. As part of the British Museum’s international training initiative, each season personnel from NCAM and various Sudanese universities receive training in archaeological methods and participate in all aspects of the project from onsite excavation and recording to object registration, and the drawing of ceramics.
Excavations at Dangeil have revealed a previously unknown temple of the first century AD which was dedicated to Amun, the Nubian Kushite god of kingship, and enclosed within a sacred temenos. A number of surprising revelations, including the discovery of fragments of several large royal statues on site, call for a substantial re-evaluation of the previously accepted history of the Kushite period and raise numerous historical questions.
The site itself provides a unique opportunity to examine the characteristics of a Kushite temple complex and to gain greater insight into the role of the temple, ritual and offerings within Nubian society. The remarkable standing preservation of structures at Dangeil make it unique in Sudan and thus of great importance for Sudan’s cultural history and national heritage. It is both the project’s aim and a request from the NCAM, that in conjunction with the ongoing excavations, structures on site be conserved and preserved and ultimately the site turned into a local museum and archaeological site park.