Director: Ibrahim Omer
Head statue of Kushite king Tanwetamani from
Kerma, Sudan. Uncovered by the Swiss archaeological expedition, 2003.
at Monterey Bay
Art History: Observations
on the Deffufas of Kerma , Remarks
on Kushite Temples Dated to the Napatan-Meroitic Period, Remarks
on Palace Architectures, and Drawing Reconstructions
This drawing is an attempt at reconstructing the face of Kushite
king Taharqa as derived from a wide variety of statues and ...
New article added to the Burials section:
New article added to the History section:
Questions from Readers
Ancient History of Western Sudan
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Where is the land of Kush?
Kush is located in Northeastern Africa, within the political boundaries of modern Sudan.
Alternative Names for Kush:
Three terms are used in literature to refer to the land of
Kush; these are ancient Nubia, Ethiopia, and recently Sudan. Click here for more
on each name.
Who are the Kushite?
The Kushites are the ancestors of the people of North Sudan today. The people of Kush practiced agriculture along the Nile Valley
building one of the very early world civilizations. According
to the Biblical Table of Nations, the Kushites are the
descendants of Ham, the son of Noah.
Although the terms Nubia and Kush are used interchangeably in contemporary literature, some historical sources indicate that the Nubians and the Kushites were two different populations. While the Kushites were the ancient people of North Sudan, the Nubians were a pastoral population who may not have settled Sudan's Nile Valley until the third century CE. This view is supported by some linguistic studies which suggest that the Nubian language is different from the ancient language of Kush.
According to the system of
linguistic classification, the modern Nubian language is identified
as part of the Eastern Sudanic language group. Although the classification of the Kushite language is still debated, some linguistis suggest that it is an Afro-Asiatic language.
Closely related to the Kushites, were a number of semi-nomadic populations who inhabited the arid regions east and west of the Nile Valley practicing pastoralism and subsistent agriculture. The nomads of eastern Sudan
were known to the riverine people of Kush as the Meded, to the Egyptians as the Medjay, to the
Romans as the Blemmies, and later to the Arabs as the Beja.
Since ancient times, nomads lived and herded in the western deserts of Sudan
side by side with the Libyans.
After the migration of Arab populations into
Sudan, starting from the fourteenth century CE,
many Arab tribes settled and intermarried with the local population. As
most of the immigrants were men, and since Arabs follow a patreliniar
tradition (i.e. the children take the identity of their fathers),
a majority of Sudanese today define themselves as Arabs.
Intermarriages with other
foreigners took place at different times and in other parts of Sudan,
which caused the Kushite identity to disappear and the Nubian identity to wither greatly. For example,
in Western Sudan, some of the indigenous nomads, who inhabited those
regions since ancient times, had intermixed with West- African immigrants, as well as with Arab settlers. A minority of Sudanese today along the Nile still identify as Nubians.
Today, the language and culture of the bulk of Sudanese people
is obviously an Arabic one. Yet, the physical features and genetics of today's
Sudanese population proved to be mainly native. The Anthropological
studies of mummies from ancient Sudan and the sharp and clear colored drawings
of people found inside Kushite burials that go back as far as 3000
years, prove that the ancient people of Kush looked typically like the
modern people of North Sudan with their dark-red complexion and
curly or wavy hair.