The Elusive Kingdom of Kush

Michigan archaeologist Geoff Emberling explores the Nubian capital in Sudan

Archaeologists know little about the Nubian Kingdom of Kush, focusing archaeological activity on temples and tombs, such as this one at El-Kurru.

In the 8th century B.C.E., the Nubian Kingdom of Kush took over its politically fragmented northern neighbor, forming Egypt’s twenty-fifth dynasty, known as the Nubian dynasty or the Kushite Empire. While the Kushites ushered in an era of prosperity while creating the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom, archaeologists know little about the origins of the Kushite kings.

Michigan archaeologist Geoff Emberling is on an archaeological expedition to Sudan to find out more about the Nubian homeland. While violence and instability in Sudan have kept many archaeologists away, Emberling stated in a University of Michigan news release that “I’ve loved working with the Sudanese … We’re able to just be archaeologists and focus on our work, without worrying about how it will affect claims of different ethnic groups or territorial boundaries.” Geoff Emberling notes that previous archaeological activity has focused on the Nubian tombs and temples at El-Kurru, but “there has been a real lack of excavation of settlements, where you find out where people actually lived on a daily basis … I’m hoping to come away with a good idea about where the city’s remains are and be able to map them as extensively as I can.” He is working with a Danish and Sudanese team using advanced survey technologies to create a new understanding of the Kingdom of Kush, and is due to return to the United States in February.

Read more from the University of Michigan News Service.

The British Museum’s Derek A. Welsby led Kushite excavations in Sudan for many years. Check out his book The Kingdom of Kush: The Napatan and Meroitic Empires on Amazon.

Posted in The Ancient Near Eastern World.

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  • makur says

    The land of cush was belong to tallest people and black and the land was divided by many rivers which is sudan. But those who said that cushites are ethiopian. How is th shape of ethiopian? Are they tall and black? So i want to understand these people whose their is the garden of eden . And also those who said that makuria kingdom is belong to nubian are wrong. That kingdom was belong dinka tribe in south sudan, this tribe is the tribe in africa and these were realy owners of cush land as you have readed it isaiah 18. Garden of Eden is in south Sudan right now if not, just go to south Sudan. Even word cush is dinka word and also they used sometime for naming the first child because cush is grant father

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