Feb13

Ancient Quarrying in Sudan

The Meroitic kingdom (300 B.C. – 350 A.D.) was situated to the south of Egypt and can be seen as a  link between the ancient Mediterranean World and Central Africa.

Meroitic art and architecture reflect the influence of both cultures. Applied construction techniques also show peculiarities which emphasise Meroe’s exceptional position. The Naga research project, conducted since 1995 by the Egyptian Museum in Berlin and its director Prof. Dr. D. Wildung, provides observations on a wide range of constructions and structural details. Today, due to extensive documentation work, we are in the fortunate position to be able to reproduce the construction process from the quarry to the finished stone building.

With their preserved trenches and quarry marks, the different quarries at the Jebel Naga mountain provide evidence how local sandstone blocks were prepared and extracted from the mountain face. Furthermore, the well-preserved stone temples of Naga demonstrate the methods and tools used in the construction process. On the one hand, a continuation of a long masonry tradition is evident and influences can be traced back to Egypt to the Pharaonic period as well as to the Ptolemaic and the Roman periods; on the other hand, exceptional and unusual construction methods show an individual Meroitic development. 

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Author:
Alexandra Riedel, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, Germany and Jan Hamann, Restaurierung am Oberbaum GmbH, Berlin, Germany
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