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Dive beneath the pyramids of Sudan's black pharaohs

The 2,300-year-old royal tomb of a Kushite king appears nearly untouched—and submerged in rising groundwater. What’s an archaeologist to do?

Somewhere below the surface of the kiddie-pool sized patch of brown water is the entrance to the 2,300-year-old tomb of a pharaoh named Nastasen. If I crane my neck back far enough, I can just make out the eastern flank of his pyramid rising nearly three stories above me.

It’s a sweltering morning in the desert of northern Sudan, the land of Nubia in the time of the pharaohs. Sweat drips into the dive mask hung around my neck as I negotiate my way down a narrow, ancient staircase cut deep into the bedrock. Waterproof flashlights clank from each wrist, and a 20-pound weight belt is slung commando-style across my chest. An emergency container of air, no bigger than a can of hairspray, is secured uncomfortably in the small of my back.

At the bottom of the stairs, archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Pearce Paul Creasman is standing chest-deep in the muddy water. “It’s really deep today,” he warns. “There’s not going to be any headroom in the first chamber.”

Exclusive: Dive inside the burial chambers of Sudan’s royal pyramids

Creasman and I both trained as underwater archaeologists, so when I heard that he had a grant to explore submerged ancient tombs, I gave him a call and asked to tag along. Just a few weeks before I arrived, he entered Nastasen’s tomb for the first time, swimming through the first chamber, then a second, then into a third and final room, where, beneath several feet of water, he saw what looked like a royal sarcophagus. The stone coffin appeared to be unopened and undisturbed.

For more on diving under a pyramid check out our podcast, “Overheard at National Geographic.” Listen here.

Now, Creasman disappears into the water and resurfaces with a steel grate used to seal the tomb entrance. It looks no bigger than a large television set.

“This is how big the chute is,” he announces. “That’s your only space to get in and out of the tomb.”

Back-mounted scuba tanks are too unwieldy in such tight confines, so we clip into 150-foot-long hoses that will supply us with air from a noisy, gasoline-fed pump.

“I’ll go first and pull my hose in,” Creasman says. “If I don’t see you in five minutes, I’ll come find you.”

I nod and turn back to look up the ancient staircase, where Fakhri Hassan Abdallah, an inspector with Sudan’s National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, stands silhouetted against the rising sun. He gives me a thumbs up and smiles. I shove the diving regulator into my mouth. It’s time to go pyramid diving.

The Lost History. Why was black history stolen?

Despite facts from the science of genetics about human origins, yet western movies, books, continue to present Adam and Eve as whites.

Despite facts from archeology and paleontology, yet Hollywood and cinemas continue casting bible characters as whites!

How could Adam and Eve be white when human life began in Africa?

How could Adam and Eve be white when the first humans lived in Africa? Just think about it.

Now, this article is not about religion, but about history. So, every historical source must be quoted, just as the science of genetics and archeology are being used. The bible and Torah were written over 3,000 years ago, and owing to their age, they've become historical documents whether myth or real. They need to be quoted as well because no matter what ancient source you check, the truth is always there. The truth is the truth. The truth never changes.

Both the Torah and Bible said Noah had 3 sons, namely Ham, Shem, Japheth. Genesis 9: 20-27.

Later, Ham grew up, married and had 4 sons, namely Cush, Mizraim, Phut, Canaan. Genesis 10: 6. Also referenced in 1 Chronicles 1:8.

See Mizraim

See Cush

The map below shows ancient names of northern Africa, Europe, and middle east region.

As you can see for yourself above, the three arrows correspond to journeys out of Africa to the Middle East. For example you can see the story of Moses dividing the red sea was a journey originating from either Sudan or Egypt across the red sea to Saudi Arabia.

It is clear that any journey to Israel or the Middle East would mean a Pharaoh and his army were dealing with Israelites in South East of Egypt or North East of Sudan, forcing them to cross the red sea and re-routing their way from Saudi Arabia. This clearly shows the original Israelites must have been migrating from the southern part of Egypt, to begin with- totally corresponding to the science of archaeology, paleontology, and genetics that proves Adam and Eve and their descendants first lived in the Southern part of Egypt . The southern part of Egypt is the true origin of the Israelites the bible talked about!. The southern part of Egypt includes but not limited to anywhere from Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, Central African Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, down to South Africa.

I' am not a bible quoter, but I must say here that indeed the bible said when the messiah returns he will go back to Southern Egypt and other locations to recover his people that remain there!. The book of Isaiah 11:11 reads " In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands".


If the original Jews were Black, where did these Caucasians who now call themselves Jews come from? There are two main types of white Jews, the Khazars and the Edomites who are the descendants of Esau.

Esau was the albino, fraternal twin brother of Jacob who was the father of the original Black Israelites. Genesis 25:25 "And the first came out red all over like an hairy garment and they called his name Esau".

The Edomites (Idumeans) were in constant battle with the Israelites, and they even fought against them during the Roman-Jewish War. The Khazars were a fierce, warlike, nomadic people of Turkish stock who originated in Central Asia, and are the descendants of Esau's grandson Amalek.

The Khazars invaded Europe and stretched their empire west into Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, south to the Caucasus Mountains, east to the Ural Mountains near Russia, and north close to Saint Petersburg.
Their thriving empire was however located between two major superpowers, the Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium (Christianity) and the followers of Islam. The Khazar Empire, now representing a third force, recognized that it could only maintain its political and ideological independence by not becoming subordinate to the authority of the Roman Emperor or to the Caliph of Baghdad, so it rejected both Christianity and Islam.

The Khazars, who were a Pagan civilization and spoke a Turkic language, initially believed in Tengri shamanism and brought their religious practices with them, which was an admixture of phallic and other forms of idolatrous worship that was practiced in Asia by other Pagan nations.

This form of worship triggered perversion and immorality which Khazarian King Bulan could no longer tolerate, so in the 7 th century he decided to put an end to this phallic practice and all other forms of idolatrous worship, and to make one of the three monotheistic religions the new Khazarian state religion.

After a historic meeting with representatives of the three monotheistic religions, King Bulan adopted and embraced "Talmudism" as it was known then, [Judaism now] as the new state religion thus becoming Jewish, but this group clearly did not originate from the house of Israel and were not the descendants of Abraham.

King Bulan and four thousand of his feudal nobles were soon reformed by these rabbis, and almost immediately afterwards phallic worship and all other forms of idolatry were prohibited.

The Khazarian King invited many Rabbis from Babylonia to come and open synagogues and schools to instruct the populace in the new state religion, then ordered his subjects to follow in his footsteps. This was how Judaism became the official state religion of the Khazars who currently make up 90% of the “so-called” Jews of today.

When King Bulan was converted in the 7 th century he ordered that the Hebrew characters which he saw in the Talmud and other Hebrew documents should become the alphabet of the Khazar language, and after converting to the laws and statutes of Judaism and learning Hebrew, the Khazars settled in regions throughout the north Caucasus and the Ukraine.

They studied the Torah and Talmud, learnt to speak and write in a form of Hebrew, observed Hanukkah, Pesach and the Sabbath, practiced circumcision, and adopted Jewish names.

The Khazars converted to Judaism as a political move, labelling themselves as Zionists and "Jews" to deceive the world while they advanced their plans for global and political dominion under the cover of this adopted state religion.

The Khazars quickly developed a desire to possess a national Jewish motherland, an idea which took the shape of a Messianic type movement in the form of a Jewish Crusade promoted first by Solomon Ben Duji, a Khazar Jew, who then proceeded to communicate with all Jews from neighbouring nations with the intention of forcibly suppressing the Palestinian people.

The Khazars convinced themselves that they were entitled to Palestinian land which their ancestors have never owned, possessed nor occupied previously. But with the help of a flawed decision by The United Nations in 1947 to divide up Palestine, the Khazars were able to proclaim themselves the State of Israel, and proceeded to randomly confiscate territory belonging to those who had legally owned and occupied that land for thousands of years. So the United Nations, through a violation of their own charter, were responsible for the dispossession of more than 4,000,000 Palestinians in order to create a new nation which did not have any ancestral or existing rights to that territory. From that point onwards there has been conflict in that region.

But according to Arthur Koestler a “Jew”, such a right “is not based on the hypothetical origins of the Jewish people, nor on the mythological covenant of Abraham with God it is based on international law.

There was not a single Khazar who had any ancestors who had ever set foot on that land either from the beginning of time or during Old Testament history, yet they sought and received support for their armed insurrections in Palestine against the Palestinian people.

According to Koestler, it was no "accident" or "coincidence" that the Khazars chose Talmudism from among the three prominent religions of the day: Islam, Christianity, and Talmudism which is simply another term for Pharisaism. Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees: "You are of your father, the Devil".

In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 , he said he knows the blasphemy of those calling themselves Jews and are not, recognizing that there will be other groups impersonating the true Jews.

Revelation 2:9 , "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan".

Revelation 3:9 , "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee".

Groups like the Khazars, Edomites and other racial groups make up modern Jewry today, although the Black Hebrew-Israelites are the true descendants of ancient Israel. But this is a well-kept secret.

The Hebrew-Israelites are not known to the world as true Israel because they were scattered throughout the four corners of the earth as a consequence of slavery, resulting from their refusal to keep God’s laws, statutes and commandments.

Information collected from Jewish documents on "The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews" by the Nation of Islam, reveals the massive Jewish involvement in the Atlantic slave trade.

These "Jewish" slave-traders are the counterfeit Jews or Khazars, the despised, white Khazars who usurped the real Jews after learning all they could from them before replacing them.

Some historians now recognize that the majority of eastern so-called Jews are really Khazars who have no Semitic roots at all. They are impostors however, previously suppressed information is fast emerging about this war-like tribe of whites that rose to power in Eastern Europe who were actually hated by the other whites they conquered because of their brutal, vicious treatment towards them.

These historical records make it clear that the majority of white European Jewry are not Hebrews in the biological or ancestral sense but are the descendants of those who converted to Judaism during the Greco-Roman and Mediaeval periods.

Professor Roland B. Dixon states emphatically that "The great majority of all Jews (Ashkenazi) to-day are 'Semites' only in speech, and their true ancestry goes back not so much to Palestine and Arabia as to the uplands of Anatolia, Armenia, the Caucasus, and the steppes of Central Asia, and their nearest relatives are still to be found in these parts to-day".

Caucasian Jews are not from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but are rather a religious fraternity that adheres to the ethnic tradition of a people whose origins are inextricably linked to Black Afrika.

The majority of the so called Jews in the world who are of Eastern European descent shows that their ancestors came from the Volga, from the Caucasus region once believed to be the cradle of the Aryan race but not from Canaan. They are therefore more closely related genetically to the Hun, Uigur, and Magyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

However, all Jews that lived in Europe were not Khazar coverts, although 90% of them were. There were still some original Afrikans who lived in the environs of the Caucasus besides others who had migrated to the Black Sea long before there was a Caucasian.

The Khazars who lived throughout Europe quickly became the new models for religious icons and images created during the middle ages. They had reasons to misrepresent the truth so as to develop white supremacy which they reinforced by inserting pictures of themselves throughout the Bible, on religious calendars, and by producing lily-white television programmes and religious movies. As a result, this present generation assumes without any facts whatsoever, that the ancient Hebrews were white, even though the original icons which portrayed the Hebrew Israelites, showed them to be Black.

These whitened false images of the Israelites may also have emerged because of the racial prejudices exhibited against the Moors and other Blacks who ruled Europe at various times. Septimius Severus, a Black descendant of the Phoenicians and a general in the Roman army, was assisted by Black fighters under his command in 193 A.D., who conquered Rome during the Dark or Middle Ages, taking control of Europe which was once held by whites, and placing that power into the hands of Black rulers who ruled in different areas of Europe at different times during the Middle-Ages. As a result, European hatred and resentment towards Black people started to grow because of this action as pointed out by David MacRitchie: "The Black giants of the Welsh, and other tales, are hateful and horrid. The Welsh Black Oppressor and the "Black Knight of Lancashire" are fierce tyrants, the cruel foes of all white people".

Because of this, anything that opposed European ideas or belief was now negatively linked to the colour Black, such as Blackmail, Black sheep, Black market, Blacklist, Black out, Black magic, Black Death, to mention a few. Even the idea that sin is Black implicitly leads to the misconception that God is white, therefore Satan must be Black.

Yet the Black people, who are now rejected because of their Black skin and Woolly hair, are the very people who gave the world its arts, sciences, language, and those civil and religious systems that still govern the world today.

It must therefore be made clear that any colonial education will attempt to completely destroy a people's belief in their heritage, language, unity, original names, and in themselves, because they will begin to distance themselves from their culture while determined to identify with all that is foreign or alien to them because of the foreign educational system.

By the way, the word "Semite" originates from the Latin prefix semi which means half Black and half white or mulatto, though Black is still dominant genetically speaking. The Semitic came into being as a result of crossbreeding between the Black inhabitants of the holy land and the white northern invaders. While many Semites like the Jews and gypsies have mixed so much with whites that they have now forgotten or simply deny their Afrikan roots, racism and white supremacy will not let them forget this no matter how light-skinned they become. This was evidenced when Hitler authorized their destruction because they were classified as a non-white people who originated in Afrika. Even the word gypsy means out of Egypt.

According to the scriptures, the Lord will call his people from the North, South, East and West to return them to Israel. Many in most of the political, Zionist and Christian circles believed this took place in 1947 when Israel, a land without a people, for a people without a land, became sovereign, but this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

The prophecy of Ezekiel: 37 talks about the spiritual resurrection of the people of Israel who will be perpetually betrothed to their God in truth and in righteousness.

© John Moore - Barbados, W.I. (March 2000) ©. All rights reserved.

2. Mary Jones (1784-1864)

One of the earliest recorded stories of a trans woman in America, Mary Jones was a black sex worker in New York. One night in 1836, Robert Haslem, a white mason worker, found her in an alley and decided to pay her for sex. But on his way back home, he discovered he was missing $99. Jones was brought to court for theft, and despite the constant jeers, she arrived in elegant women’s clothing each day. She testified that she always dressed that way in New Orleans and amongst other people of color. After days of insults and jokes at her expense, the court sentenced Jones to five years in prison. Adding insult to injury, Jones’ sentence was celebrated in a crude illustration that dubbed her “the man-monster.” Despite the discrimination she facedਊs a queer sex worker of color, though, Jones refused to give up her identity.

🔼 Etymology of the name Tirhakah

It's pretty safe to say that the literary character Tirhakah was based on the political and historical character Taharqa with the same wide literary freedom that allowed the literary character Tiglath-pileser to be derived from the historical Tukulti-apil-Esarra, the literary character Nebuchadnezzar to be derived from the historical character Nabu-kudurri-usur, and the literary Berodach-baladan from the historical Marduk-apal-iddina.

Critics may offer that Taharqa's reign began a good decade after the story of Tirhakah played, but this criticism fails to take into account that the evolution of information technology has its own axis of progression and discrepancies with the historical timeline are irrelevant. Jesus pointed out that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not the God of the dead but of the living, and this two thousand years after these men breathed their historical last (Matthew 22:32). In a similar matter may one state that the spread of the Greek language throughout the empire of Alexander the Great began with the ascension of Philip II, three years before Alexander's birth. Or that the modern world has embraced Jewish narrative because Hollywood could rise in the void and disillusion created by Nazi ideology (Zechariah 8:23).

The name Taharqa was spelled T-H-R-K in hieroglyphic phonetic letters, and it's apparently a mystery what that might have meant to anybody back then or now, and estimates range from Exalted (Alfred Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, Smith Bible Dictionary) to Inquirer, Examiner, Dull Observer (Hitchcock Bible Names Dictionary).

The problem with these guesses is that they are boring, and the books of Kings and Isaiah weren't preserved because they weren't saying anything. Much more attractive than any Egyptian meaning of our name is a possible link with the Greek language that would take the world by storm not long after our story plays.

Massive statue of Pharaoh Taharqa discovered deep in Sudan

When you think of statues of Pharaohs your mind goes directly to Egypt. However, a few hundred years before Christ, the Egyptian empire stretched to many other countries including Nubia, which is today located in Sudan, south of Egypt.

All known statues found of Pharaohs were restricted to the area of Egypt until now where a huge one tonne statue of Pharaoh Taharqa of the 25 th dynasty was found in Sudan.

Taharqa ruled in 690 BC, an era when most of the Pharaohs were Nubians, since Nubia conquered Egypt for about 150 years. As we have mentioned in a previous article , archaeologists suggest that Nubian kings tried to incorporate in their traditions the Egyptian culture and customs which included the building of Pyramids as tombs for the Royals.

During Taharqa’s reign, the Assyrians forced him to withdraw back into Nubia, losing Egypt (which was later retaken by his successors). The statue of Taharqa was found during a recent excavation at Dangeil in Sudan and it is the first time that a Pharaoh statue has been found so far south of Egypt, making it an important discovery. Moreover, it indicates that the city of Dangeil held some significance and was perhaps even a ‘Royal city’.

The statue was made of granite and it was about 2.6 meters high, but it was intentionally smashed into several pieces, for an unknown reason. Now the interesting thing is that the nearest granite quarry is hundreds of kilometres up the Nile making the trip to bring the statue to Dangeil a multi-day trip, further emphasising the importance and significance of Taharqa and Dangeil at the same time.

Further excavations in the area will throw more light into Nubia and its relationship to Egypt.

John Black

Dr John (Ioannis) Syrigos initially began writing on Ancient Origins under the pen name John Black. He is both a co-owner and co-founder of Ancient Origins.

John is a computer & electrical engineer with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, a. Read More

Related stories

Like the United States or the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the kingdom of Kush was a superpower. Yet, this ancient state has not been accorded the honour she deserves in history. Lewis Peake mentioned four major problems that hindered a full and accurate exposition of the Kushite civilization: “remoteness and inhospitable terrain of the study area a paucity of known material remains and textual references a legacy of overly racists’ theories and interpretations of the evidence and a historiographic persistence and inertia-the hegemony of the status quo.”

The Kingdom of Kush, now disintegrated as a result of an internal rebellion in the 4th century AD, was located on the Southern Nile Valley in modern-day Sudan and South Sudan. It was Egypt’s ferocious southern neighbour in those days and some have confused its location with the modern day country of Ethiopia. It is safe to say however that the Kushite Empire and Egypt had strong historical, political, religious and cultural linkage such that it would be difficult to discuss one without referring to the other.

Some of the iconic Nubian Pyramids, Begrawiya Pyramids — Photo:

In the ancient times, Kush was a major centre of power and as opined by researcher and photographer Malcolm Kwadwo Kwarte, “the Kushite deserts and armies formed the southern frontier of many classical civilizations.” Its gold and ivory were prized throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Kushites were many things: craftsmen, ironworkers, mercenaries, goldsmiths, warriors, bowmen, etc. But most importantly, they were excellent builders of pyramids. They built many iconic pyramids in Napata, Meroe, Nuri and several other places which were cynosure of eyes on those days.

The 25th Dynasty which ushered in the Kushite royal dynasty in Egypt was started by Alara who founded the Napatan dynasty and then his brother-Kashta continued from where he stopped. But the Kushite dynasty was more popular with Piye at the helm as he was the one who completed the Egyptian conquest by seizing control of Lower Egypt and creating the 25th Dynasty. Piye was a famous warrior whose words “I shall cause Egypt to taste the taste of my fingers” remain eternal.

Piye and his successors Shabaka, Shebitku, and later Taharqa were dubbed the Black Pharaohs who all ruled Egypt in succession. Piye and his successors literally paved the way for Taharqa. They ruled the largest empire the Nile Valley had ever seen.

A painting depicting Taharqa — Photo:

The ascendancy of the 25 th Dynasty reached the zenith under Taharqa who actually was the son of Piye. He became the most powerful of the Black Pharaohs. During his time, it was largely prosperous because the era ushered in the most peaceful moment witnessed during the 25th dynasty. There were enormous harvests and abundant rainfall.

He also built several exotic pyramids and temples and indeed constructed the largest pyramid in the Napatan region while he also restored several others. He erected monuments at Thebes, Tanis, Karnak among other glittering architectural projects. However, his reign was dotted by running battles with the Assyrians. He fought several wars such that some historians recorded that his armies advanced as far as Spain in Europe.

Although the kingdom was later conquered as a result of endless warfare, it managed to rule Egypt for about 75 years and survived for close to a millennium before her final disintegration.

Rise Of The Black Pharaohs

Above: Re-creation of one of Piankhy’s warriors fighting one-on-one with an adversary. The Egyptians called the Kush "bow people" because of their expertise in the field.

The Egypt of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings was an empire of indomitable might. Then, around 800 BC, the impossible happened. Kush, a subject kingdom from the south, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Hossam Aboulmagd statues in Kerma Museum in northern Sudan

Nubian Pharaohs pictured are reassembled statues of Pharaoh Taharqa (largest) and Pharaoh Aspelta (smallest). These statues were originally beheaded by Egyptian conquerors who tried to erase the Kush and the 25th Dynasty from history.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Hossam Aboulmagd

Archeologist Geoff Emberling takes a moment inside a previously undisturbed tomb of an unknown king at El Kurru.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Hossam Aboulmagd

Jebel Barkal (Pure Mountain) in the shadow of the Sudanese sun. The Kushites and Egyptians saw the pinnacle as a sacred rearing cobra.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Hossam Aboulmagd

Archeologist Tim Kendall walks through the sand dunes near Taharqa’s pyramid in Nuri.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Charles Bonnet

A close-up of the statue of Taharqa surrounded by sand.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Hossam Aboulmagd

Climber Madeleine Cope scales Jebel Barkal, the sacred Kush mountain in Sudan.

"Rise Of The Black Pharaohs," premiering Wednesday, October 1, 2014 on PBS, features exciting new archaeological finds in Sudan that are revealing the truth about the great Kush dynasty. Archeologists Geoff Emberling and Tim Kendall are at the heart of the Kushite revival. Emberling, a National Geographic grantee, is digging his way into a royal pyramid/tomb at a site called El Kurru. He hopes to find the bones of a Kushite king and the treasure he took with him into the afterlife. Emberling is following in the footsteps of famous archeologist George Reisner, who excavated most of the other major Kushite sites, but could never get past his racial myopia and accept that these dark-skinned African people had built such an advanced and powerful society.

Not far from El Kurru, archaeologist Tim Kendall has his sights set on a loftier prize. At a mountain called Jebel Barkal, he believes he’s found the key to the rise of the Kush—the underpinning for their belief that they were the true heirs to the spiritual traditions of the great pharaohs like Ramses II and Thutmose III. Both the Egyptians and the Kushites believed Jebel Barkal was home to Amun—Egypt’s supreme god-of-gods. So when the Kushites rose up, they believed they were doing so to put Egypt back on the right religious path—chosen as the true leaders born in the shadow of Amun’s mountain.

Shot in HD in Sudan and Egypt, "Rise Of The Black Pharaohs" uses drones to capture the archaeological sites from above and create important aerial perspective of the excavations. Professional climbers scale a dangerous, crumbling spire, searching for clues about the Kush empire, and agile, networked robots help the archaeologists explore parts of the tomb complex that are too dangerous to enter without scouting. Re-creations round out the film and bring the Kushite uprising to life.

"Rise Of The Black Pharaohs" tells the forgotten story of unexpected conquest and buried history. “The story is a perfect example of history being written by the victors,” says executive producer Jared Lipworth. “Here was this great civilization that rose up alongside the Egyptians, conquered them for a time, and then was relegated to the shadows when the Egyptians recorded their history. George Reisner, the archaeologist who discovered most of the Kush treasures, made matters worse. He unveiled the Kushite civilization, but his narrow-minded view of race meant that despite all the evidence he uncovered, he could not fathom the idea that dark-skinned Africans had built this great society.”

“I think the golden age of Egyptology was taking place just when people’s understanding of the concept of race was at its probably lowest form,” said archaeologist Tim Kendall. “So the idea of a dark-skinned Nubian people taking over Egypt somehow went in the face of their closely held beliefs. Namely, that white European civilization was superior to anything else and that other races were inferior.”

Fortunately, today’s archaeologists are a more enlightened lot. They’re separating fiction from fact and at last giving the Kushites the exposure and respect they deserve as one of the great civilizations of the ancient world. "Rise Of The Black Pharaohs" was produced by National Geographic Television for PBS.


Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high.


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Ongoing history

Nubia is not a "lost civilization," and today the Nubians live on in Egypt, Sudan and other countries. The total population is uncertain.

In recent times, the Nubians have had problems with development and discrimination. The construction of the Aswan High Dam (completed in 1970) led to the flooding of areas of southern Egypt that were part of the Nubians' ancient homeland. During construction of the dam, the Nubians were removed from their villages and they have been seeking compensation ever since. They have also been seeking the right to return to villages that have not been flooded.

In Sudan, a series of dams are being planned that, if built, would flood another part of the Nubians' ancient homeland, leading to more Nubians being displaced. In addition to these planned dams, the Merowe Dam is already in operation and has displaced more than 50,000 people.

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