Tuesday, May 25, 2004

ORIENTAL INSTITUTE MUSEUM VANISHED KINGDOMS OF THE NILE: The Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia

ORIENTAL INSTITUTE MUSEUM VANISHED KINGDOMS OF THE NILE: The Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia Images from an exhibit at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago.

From the site:

The earliest of the Nubian cultures (the A-Group and C-Group) were located in northern Nubia. Until recently it was thought that A-Group people were semi-nomadic herdsmen. However, new research suggests that a line of kings 1ived in Qustul in northern Nubia as early as, or perhaps even earlier than, the first pharaohs of Egypt. The people of these early cultures buried their dead in stone-lined pit graves, accompanied by pottery and cosmetic articles. At this time, Nubia was known to the Egyptians as "Ta Sety," the "Land of the Bow," because of the fame of Nubian archers.
By 1550 B.C. kings at Kerma were ruling Nubia. They were buried in huge round tombs, accompanied by hundreds of sacrificed retainers. People of the Kerma culture were accomplished metal workers, and they also made thin-walled pottery on a wheel. This was a time of increased contact between Egypt and "Kush," as Nubia was then called.

Egypt dominated parts of Nubia from about 1950 to 1000 B.C. Forts, trading posts and Egyptianstyle temples were built in Kush, and the Nubian elite adopted the worship of Egyptian gods and even the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system. The gold, ebony and ivory of Nubia contributed to the material wealth of Egypt, and many of the famed treasures of the Egyptian kings were made of products from Nubia.

By 800 B.C., Egypt had fragmented into rival states. In 747 B.C., the city of Thebes in southern Egypt was threatened by northerners, and the Egyptians called upon the Nubian king for protection. The Kushite king, Piye, marched north from hiscapitalatNapata,rescuedThebesandreunified Egypt. For the next 100 years, Kushite kings ruled both Nubia and Egypt. This era was brought to a close by the invasion of Assyrian armies in 663 B.C., and the Nubian king fled south to his capital at Napata.

By 200 B.C., the capital had shifted yet farther south to Meroe, where the kings continued to be buried in pyramid tombs and to build temples to Nubian and Egyptian gods in a hybrid EgyptianRoman-African style. Roman historians record the skirmishes and treaties which marked the relation ship of Roman Egypt and Nubia.

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