Friday, February 11, 2011

Local archaeologists unearth city in Sudan

The Prague Post

In the world of archaeology, Sudan is a goldmine. The country contains some of history's oldest archaeological sites and has been a prime target for archaeologists since the mid-19th century. Czech archaeologists have been the key players in a renewal of interest in Sudan in the past two decades, and a team of Czechs are currently engaged in the excavation and study of Wad Banaga, an ancient Sudanese city dating back more than 2,000 years. The city is on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and may hold the clue to the decipherment of the ancient Meroitic language, which became extinct around the year 400.

Pavel Onderka, curator of Egyptian and Nubian antiquities and head of the ancient Near East and African department of Prague's National Museum, has recently returned from Sudan, where he and his colleagues are engaged in Wad Banaga, which Onderka calls "one of the most important sites in Sudan."

This ancient city flourished at the dawn of the first millenium and was first explored by Europeans in 1821. Interest in Sudan lagged in the latter half of the 20th century, but archaeologists from the National Museum have been excavating the area for several years.


Kate Phizackerley said...
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Kate Phizackerley said...

I like this. Good find. I especially like the suggestion that they might find material which would enable Meroitic to be translated.

S.L. Stevens said...

This is so exciting. I love ancient Nubia and I hope they find the Meroitic equivalent of the Rosetta Stone, or some other clues that help them translate the language.