2,000-year cemetery yields surprises in Sudan

An ancient cemetery that is calculated to be at least 2,000 years old and that contains hundreds of underground tombs has been discovered in Sudan, close to the Nile River.

First discovered by natives in Dangeil village in 2002, continued archaeological excavations undertaken by the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) of Sudan in collaboration with the British Museum has yielded a buried treasure that comprised a silver ring with the encryption of a god, a faience box with large decorated eyes, and other artifacts.

The discovery of the buried artifacts in the ancient cemetery was published jointly by the archeological teams working on the site, in a book titled “Excavations in the Meroitic Cemetery of Dangeil, Sudan”. This book contains archeological findings of the NCAM and the British Museum, and it also details the history of the Kush people who inhabited the region in ancient times.


The discovery of the artifacts has sparked growing interests in the ways the ancient Kush kingdom was organized, and in the cultures of the ancient tribe.


According to Mahmoud Suliman Bashir of NCAM and Julie Anderson, authors of the above noted book, “the funeral tradition of the Kushites demonstrates a widespread belief in life afte death. This is why goods and foods usually accompanied the corpse…these items were needed to sustain and provide for the individual in the afterlife.” They made these assertions after studying an excavated earthenware tray that has six meal bowls attached to it. They also studied other excavated items like arrowheads which played a part in the archery of the Kushite people, and a faience box decorated with eyes which is said to protect the ancient people from the evil eye.