Interestingly, Sudan actually has more pyramids than Egypt. Except Sudan’s pyramids are steeper and smaller than those of Ancient Egypt.
Ever since we were young, all we have known are pyramids from Egypt.Well, Sudan actually has more pyramids than Egypt.
Except Sudan’s pyramids are steeper and smaller than those of Ancient Egypt. The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, which lies within present-day Sudan, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. The first had its capital at Kerma (2600–1520 BC). The second was centered on Napata (1000–300 BC). The last kingdom was based around Meroë (300 BC–AD 300). Kerma was Nubia’s first centralized state with its own indigenous forms of architecture and burial customs.
Pyramids in Nubia were built far later and that’s why the pyramids from ancient Egypt are far more prominent. The pyramids in Sudan were also raided in modern times, and hence the depreciation.
The most extensive Nubian pyramid site is at Meroë, which is located between the fifth and sixth cataracts of the Nile, approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Khartoum. During the Meroitic period, over forty queens and kings were buried there.
The physical proportions of Nubian pyramids differ markedly from the Egyptian edifices. They are built of stepped courses of horizontally positioned stone blocks and range from approximately 6–30 meters (20–98 ft) in height, but rise from fairly small foundation footprints that rarely exceed 8 meters (26 ft) in width, resulting in tall, narrow structures inclined at approximately 70°.
Most also have offering temple structures abutting their base with unique Kushite characteristics. By comparison, Egyptian pyramids of a similar height typically had foundation footprints that were at least five times larger and were inclined at angles between 40–50°.
There are about 200 Egyptian pyramids about 2000 Kushite (upper Sudan today). The Egyptian pyramids were much older, much bigger (Kufu’s was the biggest man made structure until the Cathedral of Cologne was built) and on a whole other scale.
The Kushite ones show the relationship between the Egyptians and African civilizations, bilateral trade, movement of people, movement of knowledge back and forth.
Kushite kingdoms were overrun by various wars with new peoples. Meroe, Nubia, and the pyramids would have been raided whenever instability happened (it tells everyone where the good stuff is buried. like robbing banks because that’s where the money is)
The Egyptian ones get more attention because of the conquest of Egypt by Greece, Rome and then Britain. whereas the upper Nile remained outside direct contact with the Med. Sea and then got cut off completely by the Islamic conquests of the 600s.
Header image credit - African Curators
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