Sudan archaeology projects get $135m Qatari boost

A boy plays near the site of 44 Nubian pyramids of kings and queens in the ruins of the ancient city of Meroe at Begrawiya. (File photo: Reuters)

Sudan's rich but under-developed archaeological heritage has received an unprecedented $135 million in funding from the Gulf state of Qatar, Sudanese officials said on Sunday.

The money will support 29 projects including the rehabilitation of ancient relics, construction of museums and study of the Meroitic language, said Salahaddin Mohammed Ahmed, the project coordinator.

He said the funds will support archaeological work by several Western nations as well as Sudan over five years.

"This is the biggest amount of money for Sudanese antiquities in their entire history," Abdurrahman Ali, head of the country's museums, told reporters, adding that the project will lay the foundation for "archaeological tourism".

Sudan's remote and relatively undiscovered pyramids, north of Khartoum, contrast with their grander and better-known cousins in Egypt, which occupied northern Sudan for about 500 years until roughly 1,000 BC.

Two Sudanese sites are on UNESCO's World Heritage list. These are Gebel Barkal and surrounding tombs, temples and other relics from the Napatan and Meroitic periods that followed Egyptian rule.

Also listed are the pyramids of Meroe and nearby sites including Naqa and Musawwarat es Sufra.

The first archaeological digs in Sudan took place only about 100 years ago, much later than in Egypt or Greece.

French, Polish, German and other foreign teams are working on various sites in northern Sudan and will benefit from the Qatari funding.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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