Collaborative Archaeology of Kush in Northern Sudan: Recent Work around Jebel Barkal

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 12:00 PM

Geoff Emberling, Associate Research Scientist,

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan


Kush was the dominant political power in the Middle Nile region of northern Sudan for over 2000 years (ca. 2000 BCE – 300 CE). Our understanding of this extensive ancient empire has long been constrained by Egyptocentrism and by more overt racism, as well as by the continuing colonial environment for research in the area. Among the implications for contemporary archaeology are the long legacy of focus on monumental remains (palaces, temples, pyramids) at the expense of investigation of settlements that would broaden our understanding of Kushite economy and social identities. 


As a contribution to confronting these legacies, a joint project of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan and the University of Michigan has begun work on an area of settlement at Jebel Barkal (ancient Napata), one of the major cities of Kush (and a UNESCO World Heritage site). Our project has also initiated the first conversations with community members around the site after 200 years of documentation and research. This talk will present the results of our first seasons of work on Meroitic levels of settlement at the site, contemporary with the Roman occupation of Egypt (1st century BCE – 1st century CE).

Meeting with the speaker: