Navigating Nubian prehistory at postgraduate conference

Posted by mjs76 at Sep 03, 2012 03:55 PM |
Exploring the rich archaeological heritage of an area often overlooked in favour of its neighbour.

Located across what is now Southern Egypt and northern Sudan, Ancient Nubia was situated between the 1st Nile cataract and the area now covered by the city of Khartoum. It is an area rich in history and archaeology, with occupation spanning from the Palaeolithic to modern times. And experts in Nubian history are converging on Leicester this week for a one-day conference.

‘Nubia before the New Kingdom: Current research into the pre and early history of northern Sudan’, being held this Thursday, 6 September 2012, has been organised by Ruth Humphreys, a PhD student in our School of Archaeology and Ancient History, and her supervisor Dr David Edwards.

Ancient Nubian history is a pretty specialist area with a small number of researchers rarely crossing paths so Thursday’s conference is an important event and has attracted delegates and speakers from Germany, Norway, France, Belgium and the USA as well as British institutions.

Historically, the level of consideration accorded to Nubian history and culture as a whole has been disproportionately low, when one considers its potential interest and significance to world archaeology. Often bundled together with its fashionable and glamorous neighbour of Egypt, Nubian studies was considered, for many years, simply a primitive extension of Egyptology, with the majority of archaeological research undertaken in the region electing to focus on later periods (Pharaonic/Napatan/Meroitic) where a seemingly strong Egyptian presence and influence was deemed visible.

The remains at Kerma (image: Wikipedia)

Happily, recent years have seen a growing interest in Sudanese archaeology as an independent entity, partially stimulated by the rescue campaigns associated with the Sudanese government’s destructive programme of dam construction, which threatens to destroy much of the historic occupation sites situated along the Nile valley.

This conference is focused on current research into any period of Nubian history prior to the Thutmosid invasions in the early 18th dynasty (c.1500-1450 BCE). Papers will be presented on the late Neolithic and A-Group populations of the 4th millennium BCE as well as the desert and riverine populations of the Nubian Bronze Age, which included the ‘kingdom’ of Kerma (c.2500-1500 BCE); the first documented state-level society in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information on the conference, which takes place in the Bennett Building, Lecture Theatre 8, please contact Ruth Humphreys,