It might sound incredible but the fact remains that Sudan is home to more pyramids than the famed Egyptian pyramids we have come to get accustomed to around the world. While the Egyptian pyramids might have gained a lot of attention and prestige due to a number of historical factors, Sudan was home to more pyramids than anywhere else in the region.
The area of the Nile Valley known as Nubia, which is located in present-day Sudan, was the site of three Kushite kingdoms during prehistoric times. The first kingdom had its capital situated at Kerma (2600 – 1520 BC). Napata was the center of the second kingdom (1000 – 300 BC). The third and last kingdom was located around Meroe (300 BC-AD 300).
The pyramids located in Nubia were built much later, and this explains why those in Egypt gained more prominence over time. Another factor that inhibited their popularity was the fact that they were raided and damaged in modern times, leading to much of their depreciation.
By far, the most expansive and extensive Nubian site at Meroe, is located between the fifth and sixth cataracts of the River Nile, roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. It is believed that during the Meroitic dynasty, more than forty kings and queens were laid to rest there.
The physical proportions and build of Nubian pyramids differ strikingly from their Egyptian counterparts. For one, they are built of steep courses of straight horizontally positioned stone blocks, ranging from roughly 6 – 30 metres (20 – 98 ft.) in height, but rise from small foundation footprints that seldom exceed 8 metres (26 ft.) in width, making them to be tall marrow structures inclined at roughly 70 degree.
Most of the pyramids also were equipped with offering temple structures very close to their base with distinct Kushite characteristics. When compared, Egyptian pyramids of the same height usually had foundation footprints that were at least five times bigger and were inclined at angles between 40 to 50 degrees.
While there are about 200 Egyptian pyramids, there are over 2,000 Kushite pyramids located in upper Sudan today. The ones in Egypt were much older and bigger, with Kufu’s pyramid known as the biggest manmade edifice before The Cathedral of Cologne was built.
The pyramids in the Kushite kingdoms show the ancient relationship between Black-Egyptian civilization and other African civilizations, in terms of bilateral trade, movement of people and merchants, and the spread of knowledge back and forth. Many historical and archaeological accounts point to the fact that both Kingdoms and people overlapped and shared numerous things in common.
In time, Kushite kingdoms were laid ruin after being overrun by various wars and populated by new people. Because most of the ancient wealth was stored in catacombs buried underneath the pyramids, they were often the object of robberies and raids whenever instability occurred, just as modern banks would be subjected to plundering in times of war.
The pyramids in Egypt received much care and attention because of the conquest of Egypt by Greece, then Rome, and Britain. The Upper Nile, on the other hand, remained outside the direct contact with the Mediterranean Sea and was then completely cut off by the Islamic conquests of the 600s.
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