Definitions

Kerma

Kerma

Kerma (now known as Doukki Gel -- a Nubian term which can be roughly translated as "red mound") was the capital city of the Kingdom of Kerma, in present day Egypt and Sudan, an archaeological site as old as 5,000 years. It became a real Nubian state during the 3nd millennium BC. Kerma was about away from Aswan.

Human populations settled in the Kerma basin at a very early date, as witnessed by several Mesolithic and Neolithic sites. The earliest traces of a human presence in the region date back some eight hundred thousands years. From 7500 BC onward the remains become more significant: semi-buried dwellings, various objects and tools, and graves. The Neolithic phrase, from the late sixth to the fourth millennium BC, is much better known and allows us to follow the stages of the spread of agriculture and the domestication of cattle in this period. Around 3000 BC a town grew up not far from the Neolithic dwellings place.

The Nubian Town and Its Necropolis

In the past thirty years, archaeologist Charles Bonnet systematic excavation of Nubian Kerma has presented a picture of a capital city in the third and second millennia BCE. The evolution of the residential area is highly complex, yet it is possible to identify social differences and a marked hierarchy. Furthermore, we might speculate about the general nature of this town, which seems to correspond above all to a protected zone reserved for an elite population. Whereas elsewhere in the kingdom we find towns that centralized agricultural products and villages that we situated alongside fields of crops, here in the capital we find spacious homes inhabited by dignitaries who monitored the trade in merchandise arriving from far-off lands, and who supervised shipments dispatched from administrative buildings.

In the Old Kerma (2450-2050 BCE), religious buildings and special workshops for preparing offerings were built using trunks of acacia trees, and roofed with palm fibers. These plant-based materials, once encased in hardened clay, could be painted in lively colors. The round huts were usually made of wood and clay. This method of construction, inspired by traditions dating back to prehistory, is still being used today.

Around 2200-2000 BCE, the builders began using unfired mud-bricks. Later, the use of fired bricks constituted a significant change, because such material remained almost unknown elsewhere along the Nile Valley until the Late Period.

In 2003, a Swiss archaeological team working in northern Sudan uncovered one of the most remarkable Egyptological finds in recent years. At the site known as Kerma, near the third cataract of the Nile, archaeologist Charles Bonnet and his team discovered a ditch within a temple from the ancient city of Pnoubs, which contained seven monumental black granite statues. Magnificently sculpted, and in an excellent state of preservation, they portrayed five pharaonic rulers, including Taharqa and Tantamani, the last two pharaohs of the 'Nubian' Dynasty, when Egypt was ruled by kings from the lands of modern-day Sudan. For over half a century, the Nubian pharaohs governed a combined kingdom of Egypt and Nubia, with an empire stretching from the Delta to the upper reaches of the Nile.

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