Friday, August 27, 2010

Sudan gold miners vie with archaeologists

The Daily News, Egypt (Guillaume Lavallee)

Dust-covered miners criss-cross Sudan's Nubian desert, absorbed by the drone of the pan-shaped metal detectors with which they scour the ground in search of gold.

The desert, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of Khartoum, draws thousands of fortune seekers, some of whom have arrived in their 4X4 vehicles and set up tents equipped with water barrels and enough food for weeks.

But it is also home to ancient relics from the Nubian kingdom, one of the earliest civilizations in the Nile valley, and archaeologists and officials fear that a crucial part of Sudan's heritage is being effaced as the miners pillage or accidentally damage the sites.

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