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1/5/13: A Nubian house

Here are some photos of the house we are renting in Karima. It has red brick walls and floors, cement plaster on the walls, and it’s painted mostly in a nice mustard color. The outer door preserves a faint memory of older traditions in Nubia, when the outer door and wall would be painted in elaborate designs.

The truth is that even though archaeologists sometimes use the term “Nubia” to describe this region, it’s really a misnomer for several reasons. First, Nubian wasn’t a spoken language (or at least a dominant one) until maybe AD 300. So the culture I’m working on didn’t speak Nubian. Second, the people in this area mostly belong to the Shaigiyya tribe, and they speak Arabic rather than Nubian. Centuries ago their ancestors spoke Nubian, but now they are distinct from Nubians, who live further north along the Nile.

But anyway, the house has two courtyards, the inner one being quite pleasant with a couple of trees, a “salon” (reception room) with beds in it to receive guests in Sudanese style (sitting or reclining on beds), a separate kitchen, and hammams (combination toilet and shower) in the back that have a single convenient drain in the floor.