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 NUBIA IS THE FIRST AFRICAN CIVILIZATION

The Nubians created the world's first civilization and that civilization was much older than Egypt.The History of Nubian civilization extends back to abouit 17,000 years and that history included a strong connection with a great civilization that existed in the Sahara In fact, in 2000, archeologists discovered many facinating artefacts, including glasswork of great beauty and excellent craftsmanship. These were found in Sudan and according to Time Magazine, some artefacts were dated to about 8000 years B.C. Astronomy was also well organized in Nubia during the period and an astronomical observatory dating back to about 7000 B.C. was found in Sudan as well. It is also in Sudan that a large number of ancient cities exist.  
Excavations in Sudan are revealing that this area, formerly called Nubia, could have been the cradle of African civilization.{ Scott macleod in New York Times Magazine }
Teams of archeologists from the US, Europe and Sudan are finding antiquities that show a sophisticated and original culture that could have influenced Egypt.
Archaeologist Timothy Kendall was leading an expedition in northern Sudan earlier this year when one of his diggers came across a slab of intricately carved stone hidden in rubble. Soon after, another slab turned up, and then another, until there were 25 in all, laid out in the sand like an archaeological jigsaw puzzle. Fitted together, the pieces formed a dazzling tableau: golden stars set against an azure sky, with crowned vultures flying off into the distance. Flying where, precisely? Kendall, an associate curator at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, thinks he knows. And if his hunch is correct, he may be a few tons of rubble away from a major archaeological find.
Kendall's breakthrough, when and if it comes, should be one of many arising from that corner of Africa. Long considered an archaeological after thought by scientists exploring the more famous temples and pyramids of Egypt, just to the north, Sudan is suddenly the hot place to be--and not just because of the equatorial temperatures that register as high as 100[degrees]F even during the prime winter digging season. At least 15 teams from the U.S., Europe and Sudan are sifting through the same sands for secrets of ancient Nubia, the world's first black civilization, which at its height stretched more than 1,000 miles along the Nile River, from what is today the central part of Sudan to the southern reaches of Egypt.
Everything uncovered thus far supports the conviction that has been building among scholars during the past 20 years that the Nubians were not just vassals and trading partners of the Egyptian Pharaohs but also the creators of an ancient and impressive civilization of their own, with a homegrown culture that may have been the most complex and cosmopolitan in all Africa.
That's why Kendall is particularly interested in the jigsaw tableau he has laid out on the sand. The newly discovered blocks, he believes, once made up the vaulted ceiling of a passageway that led to a temple dug into a 300-ft.-high hill known today as Jebel Barkal. It was there, Kendall thinks, that rulers in the ancient Nubian kingdom of Napata and Meroe, which dated from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, practiced their coronation rites, climaxing in a crowning by the god Amun.
The passage Kendall discovered was, he believes, closed by an earthquake and rockslide sometime between A.D. 100 and A.D. 200. That's the bad news--and the good news, for the same wall of rubble that separates Kendall from his temple probably kept out treasure hunters as well. Once he manages to bore through a few huge boulders and track the flight of those majestic vultures, he hopes to find that the temple's interior, and whatever treasure it holds, has been preserved intact for 18 centuries.
Such findings, according to Dietrich Wildung, curator of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, represent "nothing less than the discovery of a new dimension of the ancient world." The sense of breaking new ground, and of taking archaeology in a new direction, has contributed to what Wildung calls "the pioneer spirit in Sudan."
Archaeologists aren't the only ones who are rediscovering Sudan's ancient treasures. One of the greatest exhibitions of Nubian art ever assembled is currently touring France, Germany and the Netherlands. The show, which will continue into next year, features statues, pottery, jewelry and other artifacts that were recovered in excavations dating back to 1842, when Karl Lepsius, a Prussian archaeologist, first surveyed the region known in the Old Testament as Cush, in Greek literature as Aethiopia and by the Romans as Nubia (possibly a corruption of the Egyptian word for gold).
Although the early surveyors reported that Sudan contained more pyramids than did Egypt, the country remained what Wildung calls an archaeological "no-man's-land" until quite recently. The first excavators from Europe found Egypt to be less backward, less remote and less prone to yellow fever, and thus far more pleasant and accessible. Egypt's sites also proved to be so rich that there was little reason to search farther up the Nile.
Another problem, scholars now firmly believe, was racial prejudice, which turned many in the field away from cultures emanating from deeper in Africa. Prominent Egyptologists --including the noted American George Reisner, who worked in Sudan--thought they were excavating the remains of an offshoot of Egyptian culture. "They didn't believe black Africa was capable of producing high civilization," says Kendall.
The latest crop of discoveries is helping put such ideas to rest. French archaeologists, for example, have found exquisite ceramic figurines, bowls and funerary objects at sites that date from at least 8000 b.c. They are as old as any Neolithic sites in Africa and predate prehistoric finds in Egypt by a staggering 3,000 years. This strongly suggests to Hassan Hussein Idris, director of Sudan's National Board for Antiquities and Museums, that ancient Nubia might have been an important source of Egypt's civilization, as well as the other way around.
Not all archaeologists are prepared to go that far. But there is now enough evidence for a scientific consensus that ancient Nubia, beginning in the Stone Age, developed its own distinct civilization--or rather, a series of overlapping civilizations--influenced by Africa, Arabia and the Sahara as well as by Egypt. Moreover, many scholars believe these Nubian kingdoms hold even more clues to the origins of African culture than does Egypt, which, because of its unique position abutting Asia and the Mediterranean, is regarded by many archaeologists as having developed independently from the rest of the continent.
The new perspective owes much to the work of Swiss archaeologist Charles Bonnet, who has spent the past 24 years excavating Kerma, the seat of Africa's greatest empire (outside Egypt) between 2500 B.C. and 1500 B.C. Bonnet acknowledges that he went to Sudan initially to find Egyptian civilization. "But step by step," he confesses, "I came to understand that the Nubian civilizations are really extraordinary. There might be Egyptian influences, but there is a Nubian originality and a Nubian identity."
Two years ago, Bonnet excavated a funerary temple in Kerma that powerfully illustrates Nubia's synthesis of frontier influences. On one interior wall he found Egyptian motifs, including Nile fishing boats, bullfights and an enormous crocodile. Another wall was covered with rows of giraffes and hippopotamuses--African wildlife rarely seen in ancient Egypt.
At Jebel Barkal, Kendall hopes to shed new light on the symbiotic relationship of Nubian and Egyptian civilizations. The first temples there were constructed between 1460 B.C. and 1200 B.C., during the relatively brief period when Egypt ruled Nubia. Kendall believes the Egyptians chose this particular craggy hill for a royal sanctuary because, when seen from a distance, Jebel Barkal's silhouette resembles, even today, a crown adorned with a cobra, which is a symbol of royal power. The Egyptians believed Jebel Barkal to be a prime residence of the god Amun, the bestower of royal authority--a notion that was later taken up by the Nubians. About 730 B.C., when the Nubians rose up and conquered Egypt, establishing what became known as Egypt's 25th dynasty, they drew on the authority granted by Amun at Jebel Barkal to justify their rule over both lands.
Kendall doesn't know what secrets the temple will yield when he finally breaks through the pile of rubble separating him from the interior. Will he find cult goddesses? Jeweled crowns? Kingly scepters? Or perhaps the remains of a priest or two, trapped for 18 centuries by that earthquake? Alas, there will be no answers until the next digging season begins in January. It's still summer in Sudan, and much too hot for archaeology.
Nubian Monarchy Called Oldest 
Evidence of the oldest recognizable monarchy in human history, preceding the rise of the earliest Egyptian kings by several generations, has been discovered in artifacts from ancient Nubia in Africa { Boyce Renseberger in New York Times Magazine }
Until now it had been assumed that at that time the ancient Nubian culture, which existed in what is now northern Sudan and southern Egypt, had not advanced beyond a collection of scattered tribal clans and chiefdoms.
The existence of rule by kings indicates a more advanced form of political organization in which many chiefdoms are united under a more powerful and wealthier ruler
The discovery is expected to stimulate a new appraisal of the origins of civilization in Africa, raising the question of to what extent later Egyptian culture may have derived its advanced political structure from the Nubians. The various symbols of Nubian royalty that have been found are the same as those associated, in later times, with Egyptian kings.
The new findings suggest that the ancient Nubians may have reached this stage of political development as long ago as 3300 B.C., several generations before the earliest documented Egyptian king.
The discovery is based on study of artifacts from ancient tombs excavated 15 years ago in an international effort
  Clues to Oldest Monarchy Found in Nubia
To rescue archeological deposits before the rising waters of the Aswan Dam covered them.
The artifacts, including hundreds of fragments of pottery, jewelry, stone vessels, and ceremonial objects such as incense burners, were initially recovered from the Qustul cemetery by Keith C. Seele, a professor at the University of Chicago. The cemetery, which contained 33 tombs that were heavily plundered in ancient times, was on the Nile near the modern boundary between Egypt and the Sudan.
The significance of the artifacts, which had been in storage at the university's oriental Institute, was not fully appreciated until last year, when Bruce Williams, a research associate, began to study them.
"Keith Seele had suspected the tombs were special, perhaps even royal," Dr. Williams said in an interview. "It was obvious from the quantity and quality of the painted pottery and the jewelry that we were dealing with wealthy people. But it was the picture on a stone incense burner that indicated we really had the tomb of a king."
On the incense burner, which was broken and had to be pieced together, was a depiction of a palace fašade, a crowned king sitting on a throne in a boat, a royal standard before the king and, hovering above the king, the falcon god Horus. Most of the images are ones commonly associated with kingship in later Egyptian traditions.
The portion of the incense burner bearing the body of the king is missing but, Dr. Williams said, scholars are agreed that the presence of the crown in a form well known from dynastic Egypt and the god Horus are irrefutable evidence that the complete image was that of a king.
Clue on Incense Burner
The majestic figure on the incense burner, Dr. Williams said, is the earliest known representation of a king in the Nile Valley. His name is unknown, but he is believed to have lived approximately three generations before the time of Scorpion, the earliest-known Egyptian ruler. Scorpion was one of three kings said to have ruled Egypt before the start of what is called the first dynasty around 3050 B.C.
Dr. Williams said the dating is based on correlations of artistic styles in the Nubian pottery with similar styles in predynastic Egyptian pottery, which is relatively well dated.
He said some of the Nubian artifacts bore disconnected symbols resembling those of Egyptian hieroglyphics that were not readable.
"They were on their way to literacy," Dr. Williams said, "probably quite close to Egypt in this respect."
He said it was not known what the ancient Nubian civilization was called at the time but that he suspected it was Ta-Seti, a name known from Egyptian writings that means "Land of the Bow," referring to the weapon which, apparently, was deemed characteristic of peoples in that part of Africa.
Dr. Williams said there were accounts in later Egyptian writings of the Egyptians attacking Ta-Seti some time around 3000 B.C. This is just about the time, according to the archeological record, when a major cultural transformation began in that part of Nubia. Little is known of what was happening in this region between 3000 B.C. and 2300 B.C. when inhabitants were unquestionably governed by separate chiefdoms.
Their descendents, he suggested, may have developed the Sudanese Kingdom of Kush, based in Kurma, Egyptians for sovereignty and, in fact, prevailed over them for a while
A detailed monograph on the discoveries is in preparation, but there is no deadline and publication is expected to be a few years away.
Early Nubian Culture
Nubian civilization is one of the oldest in the world. Presently it is being extensively researched
Lying as it does in the western section of the east African valley often considered to be the cradle of civilization, the country of Nubia played a key part in human evolution. The earliest traces of human life go back to three hundred thousand years ago. The first people were hunters and fishers, who also gathered berries and fruit. In around 6000 B.C. there was a change in climate and the region became increasingly dryer. The population trekked out of the Sahara region towards the Nile valley where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. Animals were domesticated for the first time and hunting grew less important. Goats, sheep and cattle are descended from the wild creatures that used to populate the regions lying close to the Nile valley. People also started farming.
Soon came the development of pottery. The ceramics from this period, the oldest surviving in the world, are stunningly beautiful and refined. Ceramic objects were produced not only for domestic use but also for religions ceremonies.
In around 3500 B.C. a more developed culture can be round in the region between the first and second cataracte of the Nile. Archaeologists call it the A-Group culture. The Egyptians called this region Ta-Sety, 'The Land of the Bow', for the Nubians were famous archers.
The people of the A-Group were farmers, but they also maintained a lively trade with surrounding countries. In their kings' graves costly gifts have been round made in other countries such as Egypt or the Near East - objects such as gold jewellery, beautiful ceramics and fine sculpture.
The ceramic work of later people, known as the C-Group who lived in Lower Nubia (between 2300 and 1600 B.C.) is among the most beautiful produced in Nubia. Richly decorated, it has much exuberant ornamentation
 

 
 

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