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12/31/12: Archaeologists in Sudan

Just to give an idea of the kinds of people and projects in Sudan at the moment, I could mention:

  • Derek Welsby of the British Museum, who has made incredible contributions to archaeology in Sudan over the past 25 years or so, was in town giving a lecture before heading up to work on a salvage project to investigate sites that will be flooded by a new dam being built on the Nile.
  • Bogdan Zurawski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who has also done an incredible quantity of survey, excavation, and publication on Sudanese archaeology for at least 25 years, will be working mainly on a medieval Christian church at Banganarti (subject of a recent article in Archaeology), but will also do some scouting for salvage work.
  • Bruce Williams of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, who has published 9 huge volumes from the 1960s Aswan Dam campaign and is working on another volume, is photographing and drawing objects in the Khartoum museum. He’ll go to work at Tombos, a site founded during the Egyptian expansion into Nubia around 1500 BC where Egyptians and Nubians lived and worked together.
  • The Tombos project is being directed by Stuart Tyson Smith of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is arriving in a few days.
  • Simone Wolf from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, who is documenting the “royal baths” at Meroe, the capital of Nubia from about 300 BC to AD 300 (these dates, like many I may mention, are subject to disagreement among scholars!).
  • Matthieu Honegger from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland is working at prehistoric sites near the city of Kerma (and Charles Bonnet, who has worked at Kerma since the 1970s, had just passed through Khartoum).
  • Neal Spencer, the new head of the Egypt and Sudan department at the British Museum, who is headed up to excavate an ancient Egyptian town in Nubia called Amara West.
  • And Chris Grzymski, excavator of the city of Meroe (among others) from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, was visiting a range of sites.

I’m sure I didn’t meet everyone who was in town. But the list shows the diversity of people, places, and institutions working on archaeology in Sudan today, and also the range of subjects and concerns that are the focus of the field’s attention.