The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective II


  • Concept of the medieval period in Sudan
  • Lack of information about the area
  • History of the studies’ use of stylistic analysis
  • Extraordinary variety
  • Then –           Necessity of new methodology
  • The problem, among others is that the area has not benefitted from much archaeological investigation in spite of associations that of important findings by earlier investigators. The reasons for this are to be found in the remoteness of the location and the difficulty of the terrain of the area. The works of the early scholars that investigated the sites hint on tombs that are believed to be of great antiquity because of the Islamic inscriptions on them especially in Khor Nubt, Arkaweet and its borders.
  • Besides, recent archaeological reconnaissance carried out by researchers evidenced long habitation of the region in the past even though some places are now arid, rocky, dry and inclement for easy human occupation.
  • The visit to the area, the scant extant literature on it, does not befit the importance of archaeology as a discipline and an occupation in the Sudan that is naturally blessed with potential sites.

Concept of Medieval:

The medieval periods play an important role in Sudan cultural and urban history. Nevertheless, what was written about them does not resemble its importance and does not contain all aspects of cultural, social, and political life. It seems that there is a gap between this period and the ones after, but there is a cultural, social, and religious relation among them .This proves the defect in all types of research. It was not easy to define the medieval periods because of sources scarcity and the events interconnectivity. Historians agree that the medieval period in Sudan represent the establishment, prosperity, and collapse of Christian Kingdoms in Nubia area. The post medieval period represented the period after the collapse of the Christian Kingdoms and the rise of the Islamic Kingdoms in Sudan since the beginning of the 16th century .This is followed by modern Sudan history, which started with the Turkish invasion to Sudan 1821.

The geographical dimension plays an important role in the rise of civilizations, but it was not sufficiently studied in Nubia and it was joined with the historical concept. Geographical aspects seem to be crucial. Geographically, Nubia and Egypt are similar in nature because of the River Nile, which includes all the Nubia extension and bordered by the dessert, while in Egypt.

This concept, internally end historically, focused only on Nobatia and Makuria neglecting Alawa Kingdom. Studies on Alawa stopped. Moreover, this concept seems to be unsuitable because it firmed the start and end of all kingdoms during the control of Fung, particularly Alawa large provinces that may have separated and established independent emirates as the sites of Al-Abwab. This division of the historical periods has resulted in many mistakes because of the deficiency in historians’ studies that included the historical information and isolated the periods regardless their historical and cultural continuity.

Some Christian preachers were found during the Meroitic period since the first century. One of them came to the kingdom during the rule of one its queens.

Medieval Age Study Methodology

The process of structuring the cultural and political history for a period in Sudanese archaeology is a complicated process because the archaeological evidence forms the base of study that relies on a variety of methods and interdisciplinary. Reformulation of Makuria Christian Kingdom history is the core of this study.

It depends on the size of the archaeological work in Nubia. This can be done through evaluating these studies and locating their shortages.

Two approaches were adopted to explain and interpret the medieval ages. The first was Egyptology, and the second was the developmental approach. These two approaches employ the historical and archaeological evidences in evaluating the Nubian history. The first approach tends to use the historical evidence whereas the second adopts the archaeological evidence. Nevertheless, both approaches study the full history of Nubia since pre-history to the end of the medieval age that extends for 5000 years. This is unrealistic because it is time to study culture in various periods as it appears that each period of Sudanese history has its special features in addition to the general ones that are common with other periods.

Cite this article as: ahmedadam, "The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective II," in Africana, 17/12/2017,

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