The Contribution of Monument Rescue Projects to Archaeological

Sun, 22 Apr 2018

The Contribution of Monument Rescue Projects to Archaeological Excavations In Sudan during the Period 2001 – 2013

In’am Abdaurahman Mjzoob


This Paper will shed light on one of most important issues facing the scientific archaeological excavations, namely rescue archaeology as it became the general framework of the field-based archaeological work in Sudan and considered to be an important area in the field of scientific archeological research. The study mainly aims to illustrate notable contributions and inputs, in the history of Sudan, made by this science through national experience in executing projects of rescuing dams monuments during the period 2001 to 2013. The paper demonstrates a modern scientific conclusion which was the result of these projects, particularly in the regions that have not witnessed any previous archaeology research. Consequently, it highlights the positive role played by the development projects in revealing ancient cultures, which remained obscure for a long time, thus drawing a fuller picture of  the civilization of the country.



The Concept of Rescue Archaeological Work:

The concept of rescue archaeology science is multifarious, since it included many aspects that have the same implication, namely rescuing monuments against dangers that they are subjected to, whether natural or human-made. The first term of the sciences is Rescue Archaeology which is a British term, while the second one is Salvage Archaeology or Emergency Archaeology which is an American terminology. These terms are considered the most common and widely used among the scientific circles (1).

Rescue archaeology work is an act that conducted for the purpose of retrieving data and archaeology information that that is in danger of destruction. Initially, the concept was confined to water basin projects or reservoirs in the United States of America, but later expanded to include highways and gas pipeline projects, in addition to many other development projects, urban, industrial and so on supported by the government (2).

The Oxford British Dictionary for Archaeology identifies rescue archaeology work using the term “Salvage Archaeology” as: (North American term for the kind of systematic investigations, often partial, precipitated by development pressure or the need to rescue remains prior to their destruction).

This means that it is a term that known and widely used in North America as it considered a type of systematic exploration that is normally conducted within sites at risk of performing developmental projects, or the need to rescue any monuments remains before their destruction.

The comprehensive definition of this science is an attempt by archaeologists to prevent damage, and to save any kind of information in endangered and destroyed site, as a result of developmental projects that include construction of dams, highway, pipeline, residential, agricultural, and industrial and other development projects. Moreover, the work should be achieved quickly and accurately. The American archaeologist Wyndorf points out in his definition of salvage archeology that it is usually necessary when canals are dug, railroads are built, buildings and residential and administrative buildings are constructed, and this is always connected to urban redevelopment occurs in metropolitan areas (3).

When the conservation and protection of archaeological resources become impossible, and it is difficult to stop the destruction and demolition, then the rescue archaeological work aims to maintain most data and information on these archaeological sites, taking into account retrieving as much accurate data as possible (4).

Thus, all these designations concur that rescue archaeology science is a part of archaeology science and it is dedicated for rescuing and studying endangered monuments by natural and human factors. This procedures should resorted to only in case of rescuing work, thus it is not a favorite tool in the field of excavation archaeology.


The Origin of the Archaeological salvation in the World:

Archaeologist William Adams believes that if archeological excavations, which were accidentally conducted during the building and construction operations, were considered part of the rescue archeological system, we can say that the initial beginnings of rescue operations were known and continued for centuries, particularly in quarries within Europe (5).

Most of the archaeological discoveries that were made in the past, especially in Europe and America were usually made by chance, through the construction work and quarrying and construction of underground tunnels or through the practice of agricultural and industrial activity and other human activities (6).

Rescue archaeology science was not known in Europe before the Second World War. Before that, the archaeological finds that monuments discovered during construction operations were sent to museums and authorized universities. When the Second World War broke out, military camps were constructed widely which led to the emergence of first rescue projects after the government agreed to fund the first central rescue projects (7).

In the 1930s, both the United States and Europe witnessed the initial beginnings of rescue archeology. In the Netherlands, for example, large tracts of land were reclaimed for agriculture where the Dutch government claimed responsibility for this great salvage project by encouraging and organizing survey and salvage excavations which resulted in unveiling archaeological sites and human settlements that were previously unknown. The pre-World War II era witnessed a revolution in construction and building of dams throughout Europe, Siberia, Russia and America. The European archeological laws of the post-Second World War times included the necessity procedures to carry out projects for surveys and rescue excavations before starting the development project and work to detect any remnants of archaeological threatened by extinction (8).

The American archaeologist Brew noted that the changes in the 20th century caused by modern technology and technical developments as well as the large population explosion, posed a plausible threat to the historical and archaeological heritage in urban and rural areas. At the end of the Second World War, rescue archaeology appeared, adding a new branch of archaeology science, which has been of great interest to many researchers, for many scientists in America, and throughout the world (9).

Brew adds that archeology was undergoing an extraordinary statewhen rescue archeology has emerged as a new trend. It has had remarkable results among archaeologists and has become a recurrent concern among major contracting companies and in global legislatures, even in the resolutions of political circles. The destruction war has wreaked has brought great challenges to reconstruction and building around the world, thus economic recovery projects became conspicuous in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as the reconstruction and development movements in America. As a result, created a strong tendency for valuing   civilization heritage which threatened by the economic growth projects that invaded the world in that period (10).

In the period following the Second World War, most of the developed countries, especially in Europe, faced the problem of investors ignoring archaeological sources of many development projects, especially the planning and construction of main roads were not did not  take archaeologists into account. However, legislative policies led many economically developed countries to consider these cultural resources (11). During this period, there was an increase in the rate of destruction in large areas in Western Europe, and hence archaeological rescue work became a major aspect of heritage management. This state continued until emergence of the era of growth and economic prosperity in the years 1950-1960, which brought about a significant change in many economic aspects (12).

Both Brew and Adams agree that the actual and official start of salvage archeology was in 1907 when the Aswan Dam, built in the First Cataract in the Nile Valley, and it was decided to increase Aswan’ Dam height in 1902. This rescue project is one of the first rescue projects planned and organized before the work began, as it was known how much destruction would be inflicted on the archaeological sites (13). 1907 witnessed the growth of salvage archeology to the extent that this science represents today more than half of the world's excavations, and probably 80% to 90% of those in America and other developed countries (14).


Sudan's Early Experience in Saving the Monuments near Dams (20th century):

The twentieth century witnessed the actual beginning of the archaeological work of the salvage in the Lower Nubia region, and this was the first rescuing experience in the field of archeology witnessed by the world. This rescue experience was the ramification of the idea of ​​building the first Aswan reservoir and the heightening process that accompanied its construction. It formed the basis of the rescue archeology projects. The Nile Valley region, especially the area between the First Cataract in Egypt and the Second Cataract in Sudan, which is considered the first region in the world in organizing rescue archaeological work and construction of dam projects (15).

From 1907 to 1911, the first rescue archaeology expedition in history was arranged. The Mission was led by the American archaeologist George Andrew Reisner, of Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He began his work in the first season of the expedition (16), and was then succeeded by M.Firth and Blackman M. Blackman in the rest of the three seasons. The first survey of the Nubia is one of the foremost rescue works within the region, where the Reisner’ work in the area contributed to the discovery of the cultural groups and the chronological order of the area (17). It also paved the way for later archaeological works southwards in Kerema and Merowe. Between1929-1934, the second archaeological survey project was implemented in the Nubia area, as a result of the announcement of the second heightening project of the Aswan reservoir, which would submerge parts of the area on the Nile between Wadi al-Sabwa and Farase in the Sudanese border (see Map 1). The task of managing and implementing this second salvage archaeological project was entrusted to both Imre and Kirwan (18). One of its most important contributions to the history of Sudan was the implementation of an archaeological survey led by Monre de Villar between 1935 and 1957, which aimed to document and record all the Christian sites located between Philae Island and Khartoum (19).


Joint Experience in the Construction of the Aswan High Dam (Egypt and Sudan) 1959-1967:

Sudan was the first experiment in the field of saving the monuments of dams in the period following independence through the construction of the Aswan Dam Project, which was built since 1954, based on the desire of the Egyptian government to achieve some economic objectives and to support the development projects of increasing the agricultural area and generating power. This dam is only a few kilometers from the Low Aswan Dam.  The construction of this dam heightened the level of water to inundate about 180 miles of Egyptian lands and 180 miles in Sudanese territory. It will also led to an artificial lake stretching 300 miles along the Nile Valley from Aswan in Egypt to Dahl area in the Third Cataract in Sudan, and thus posed a direct threat to the monuments in the Egyptian and Sudanese Nubia area (20) and resulted in negative effects, the most important of which are:
Immersion of thousands of archaeological sites, dating to the Paleolithic era until the Christian period in Egypt and Sudan because of the artificial lake water. All the above consequences required the following procedures:

  1. Organization of comprehensive archaeological surveys within the threatened area.
  2. Organizing archaeological excavations for many archaeological sites.
  3. Dismantling and rebuilding of several important temples in Egypt and Sudan.
  4. Preserving the temples in Philae Island and Abu Simbel in its original location, in what is known as “Ien situ preservation”.


UNESCO began the preparation and organization of this gigantic rescue program, which had never been witnessed before, by launching the appeal on 8 March 1960 by its Director, who urged for technical and financial assistance in order to preserve the Nubian monuments against the inevitable destruction (21).

This appeal had a great impact and forty foreign Missions were quick to work in Sudan and Egypt to save the monuments. This global expedition is a major turning point and a milestone in the history of the archeological expedition in Sudan and the entire world.

 Map no (1) shows the areas of Nubia’ excavation during Aswan High Dam expedition 1960-1970

Translated from the original (Nubia: The Corridor to Africa page 153)


During this expedition an initial survey was conducted between 1955- 1957 on the Nile bank between Egyptian borders and the Second Cataract (from Fourse in the north till Jemi in the south) (see Map no 1). This survey was carried out by Prof. Gean Fairkotair, Director of the Archaeological Authority at the time and Mr. Hassan Thabit Chief inspector of Ancient Monuments, The results of the survey uncovered about 25 archaeological sites .Thus, an intensive exploration program was developed in the Nubia area, in addition to an aerial survey which was conducted between Kousha and the Egyptian border. As the geography of the area covered by the sand, it was difficult to explore and examine,. Accordingly, William Adams was sent by UNESCO to carry out this task. in addition to the excavation work at the sites of Fares, Debeira West, Surat Gharb, Aksha and the island of Debrosa in 1960 under the supervision of Adams (22).

The UNESCO was able, in collaboration with the work delegations, to direct the global and audiovisual media to address the project of this global expedition in order to gather material support for it. This expeditions is regarded as a significant contribution to the cultural history of northern Sudan by highlighting many of its mysteries as different sites of cemeteries, fortifications and human settlement were surveyed. Although, the construction of this Dam has caused the loss of an authentic part of the great heritage that cannot be compensated for after the water filled Lake Nasser, what was accomplished during this expedition is a turning point in the process of work in the Sudan salvage archaeology in that period as illustrated by the following points (23):

  • This Mission directly contributed to the understanding and comprehension of different periods of history in the region, especially the Nubian countries in the middle Ages.
  • The appeal launched by The UNISCO for the purpose of protecting and preserving the heritage of the region has had the greatest impact on the cooperation and participation of more than 40 archaeological Missions to work and engage in the rescue in Sudan. It played a prominent role in deepening the spirit of international solidarity in cultural affairs through the participation of various archaeological Missions leading to the discovery of thousands of artifacts.
  • This Mission has shed more light on prehistoric studies such as the contributions of Fred Wendorf in his 1968 book “The Prehistory of Nubia”.
  • Rescue archaeological research conducted in the Sudan was a rare opportunity for foreign archeologists to work in Sudan, which provided the opportunity for many of them in various disciplines to continue their scientific research in Sudan to this day. Moreover, it paved the way for researchers to study the effects of the Upper Nubia where many scientists and researchers turned their attention to the lands located south of the Second Cataract, which allowed many of them to be granted concession areas in this part after the completion of the Aswan Dam Mission and even today these Missions are still operating in these areas.
  • The Aswan Dam expedition provided some information that was unknown about the urban adaptation in the region, as it focused attention to prehistoric and medieval periods that were ignored in the first two surveys.
  •  Museums were established to deposit these archaeological artifacts such as the Sudan National Museum and the Nubia Museum in Aswan. This exemplifies the glory of the past and its long established history.
  • The most important achievement of this Mission was the first recommendation by UNESCO on 19 November 1968 for the protection of cultural property threatened by public or private works.
  • The most important outcome of the third Mission to save the monuments of Nubia, was the establishment of the World Assembly of Nubian Studies in 1972, followed by the emergence of the Nubian Studies Conference and the Conference of Meroitic Studies.
  • This global Mission has drawn the interest of most political leaders and decision-makers about the issues of cultural heritage and the need to preserve it. President Gamal Abdel Nasser stressed that development projects should not be an obstacle to the protection and preservation of the human heritage which is no less important (24). John Kennedy message had a great part in drawing the attention of the world to the need to protect and preserve the heritage of the Nubia region as a global heritage (25).
  • Although the division of the monument was unfair, since it allocated half of discovered archaeological monuments to the working Missions participating in the global expedition to rescue the Nubian monuments, there was a positive aspect in this regard, namely introducing of the civilization of Sudan to international museums.
  • The Third Nubia Rescue Mission has provided us with invaluable information that explored the past to understand the cultures of the target region.
  • Exhibition of material discovered in all external fairs.
  • A number of Sudanese temples have been studied and transferred and successfully reconstructed, such as the temples complex that was dismantled and re-installed in the courtyard of the Khartoum National Museum in the mid-1960s,and. These included the following:
  1. Temples dating to the period of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt in Semmna of East and West.
  2. Temple of Aksha that chronicles of Ramses II of the modern state.
  3. A rocky tomb of the Nubian prince Jahoutep chronicling the period of the modern Egyptian state.
  4. Buhen Temple that dates to the Modern State.
  5. Remains of granite columns dating back to the Christian period, from the cathedral Faras.

These temples were dismantled and reconstructed in the courtyard of the National Museum of Sudan by architect Henkel, to serve as an external display that forms a panorama of these temples.

Projects of Construction of Water Installations and Salvage of Monuments (Twentieth Century):

As noted previously, the works of the Razner in the border area was one of the first salvage works in the region and its results were great in the discovery of cultural groups and the development of the historical chronology of the region. During the Second World War, most of the archaeological activity was carried out by the Sudanese Monuments Authority, as it directed its efforts from archaeological preservation programs to scientific archeological research. During the 1940s, Arkell, who was the Commissioner of Archeology and Anthropology, with the support of the Sudan Monuments Authority was able to organize and lead the first rescue excavations organized during the period of Anglo-Egyptian rule. This was done at Khartoum Hospital, which represented Khartoum's early civilization. Since the Government of Sudan realized the danger facing the archaeological site at the time. In 1943, the General Governor's decision was to carry out excavations at the site, which exhibited richness in terms of the archaeological finds covering its surface. Thus, under the Monuments Law, an archaeological rescue work was required to detect and document these finds before their demise. Consequently, financial support was allocated for the implementation of this project by the Government of the Sudan, and this work was the first experience for the Sudan Monuments Authority in the field of rescue archeological research projects (26).

Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century and the implementation of the policy of the governing colonial system that established and constructed development projects across the country, the country has seen many developmental projects of the installment of railways, construction of water projects such as dams and reservoirs and irrigation channels in addition to major agricultural projects such as Aljazeera Scheme and other infrastructure projects. However, no rescue archaeology projects were organized to cope with these development projects during that time, such as Jabal Awlia Reservoir, which was built in 1937 and the Rusayrer Reservoir from 1950-1965 (27). This may be due to the fact that before that, the aim was rescue archaeology was to reveal, collect, document and repair the monuments, or maybe the experience of Sudan in the field of saving the monuments of dams has not yet fully crystallized.

Some of the dam projects executed during that time, have illustrate important periods in the history of the Sudan in areas that are rich in archaeological heritage, as follows:


The Sennar Reservoir Project:

This dam was built in 1919-1929, and its main purpose was to irrigate the agricultural land of AlJazeera Scheme. This area did not receive its due share of rescue archaeological research despite its wealth of archaeological heritage represented by the remnants of the Islamic State of Fung with Sennar as its Capital, in addition to the works of Sir Henry Wilkam in Sennar and Jabal Muwiya. The most important result of this work was the discovery of a Meroitic cemetery, during the construction of the railway associated with the construction of the reservoir, and this cemetery was the southern boundary of Meroe civilization.


Kashm Algerba Reservoir 1962-1965:

 This Dam was built on Atbara River in the period from 1962-1965, and its main purpose was to irrigate the agricultural land of the resettlement areas where the citizens affected by the construction of the Aswan Dam in Egypt were re-settled. As a result, a salvage work was organized in 1967 and carried out by the Joint Pre-History Research Mission led by archaeologist John Schener, which resulted in the discovery of many archaeological sites dating back to the Neolithic and Middle Stone Age.


National Endeavors to Save Dam Monuments 2001-2013:

 The Government of the Sudan has recently initiated the establishment of development projects through the construction of water facilities projects on the River Nile and its tributaries from 2001 to 2013, such as the Merowe Dam project, the Ruseires Reservoir and Atbara and Satet Dams. These economic projects have witnessed the conception of many archaeological research projects, arguably, such development enterprises construction threatens cultural heritage sites and contributes directly to the process of loss of many monuments that would be erased from the Sudanese cultural record. However, rescue excavation plays an indirect role in the detection of promising archaeological sites, particularly in areas where researchers cannot reach them because of their harsh nature conditions.

Meroe Dam Project (2001-2008):

Sudan witnessed the largest local rescue Mission, which took place at the beginning of the Third Millennium, namely the Meroe Dam Mission, which became the paradigm for the archeological work of the rescue in Sudan in terms of training national cadres and the scientific results obtained. The Mission was the first step in establishing and leading dam projects, through the archaeological activity that resulted from the work of surveys and archaeological excavations carried out during this Mission. It proved that the Fourth Cataract area is rich in archaeological heritage, which is represented by the huge amounts of archaeological finds, which date back to different historical periods, from the Stone Ages to the Islamic periods.

The Meroe Dam Project is one of the most important and large-scale economic projects implemented in Sudan’s recent history. The germ of the idea of building a Dam on the Fourth Cataract dated back to the period of Anglo-Egyptian Condominium since 1946, when the government of that period began in the work of water and geographical surveys and geological excavations, which reported that the most appropriate location along the course of the Nile to build this dam was Meroe Island at the Fourth Cataract (30).

The National Government has decided to renew the idea of building the Meroe dam project to cover the shortage in the production of electric power, which has become an impediment to development projects. Consequently, many feasibility studies were carried out in 1979, 1983 and 1986. In 1989. The Government of Sudan, represented by the Ministry of Irrigation and the National Electricity Authority, signed an agreement with the Canadian consulting company, Monenco, which submitted the latest feasibility study and was funded by the World Bank (31).The Dam is located on the main Nile River at Meroe Island at the Fourth Cataract, 350 km north of Khartoum (see Map 2). It is about 26 km from the royal cemetery in Nuri. The highest level of water during the flood season is about 300 m above sea level. This dam has created an artificial lake with a width of about 4 km, which will flood an area of ​​about 170 km. However, the process of building this dam in the fourth cataract will adversely affect the archaeological heritage in the region as there will be areas submerged or inundated by the lake and others will be destroyed through the construction of resettlement villages. Thus, the negative impact of Meroe Dam extends to archaeological sites through the construction and building of the main and ancillary stations to support the transMission line of electricity from the dam, where there will be a destruction of many archaeological sites in these areas concerned, besides the deserted areas will be affected by humidity caused by long-term environmental and climatic changes (32).


Map Number (3)

Shows Meroe Dam Project and associated projects (designed by the researcher)


Previous Archaeological Studies in the Fourth Cataract Area:

The previous studies conducted in the field of archaeological research were few and limited, but they were all published. For example, there was the work of Jackson Pasha, who was the governor of Berber in that period, in 1920 who visited the archaeological sites in the region from Berber to Abu Hammad and published his work in Sudan Notes & Records journal in 1926, entitled "Article on Abu. Hamed District". In addition, there was Croft's work "Field Archeology of the Middle Nile Region", published in the Jo urnal Kush in 1953, in addition to the contributions of Professor Abbas Sayed Ahmed in his article which was published in the Sudan Notes & Records journal in 1971 entitled "Antiquities on Mograt Isalnd", which He carefully described the archaeological sites on the island of Maqarat.
During the late 1980s, the Archeology Department, led by Professor Jean Llant, Jack Reynold and Usama Abdel Rahman Al-Nour, organized a reconnaissance Mission to assess the area in terms of archaeological heritage and to develop a vision of what to do to save that huge heritage and was later followed by the former Director of the National Authority of Antiquities and Museums In 1993. Moreover, in the beginning of the Nineties Archaeologist Christopher Garzemski presented a report to Monoco Canada, which presented the feasibility study to the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, a study of the impact of the dam on archaeological sites that can be affected directly or indirectly (33). In 1996, the Polish Mission (Kedansk Museum Mission) carried out archaeological work in the fourth cataract area on the right Nile bank and it is considered one of the first Missions to carry out archaeological excavations in this area.

In 1999, The Sudanese Archeology Research Society carried out an archaeological survey in the Meroe lake area on the left bank. These two Missions are considered to be foreign Missions that have a great role in contributing to the rescue operation due to their long experience in the region.

The construction of the Dam started in 2003. When the National Authority for Antiquities and Museums launched a global appeal in 1996 to attract archaeological Missions through which donor financial support was received. Under the patronage of the British Museum, a workshop was conducted including all monuments Missions where the target area was divided into sectors. In 2001, the National Authority for Antiquities and Museums launched another appeal aimed at attracting all national and foreign experts represented in scientific institutions specialized in the field of archeology, history, ethnography and related sciences, with the objective of saving the archaeological sites affected by Meroe Dam,.. In 2003, the National Antiquities and Museums Authority was granted the opportunity to issue the its last call from inside the British Museum Hall to participate in the rescue of the fourth cataract.

Foreign Missions Activities :

As a result of these appeals, many national and foreign archaeological Missions have responded to this Mission. This was the second international endeavor that Sudan has undertaken, after the first Mission of rescuing Nubia’ monuments, in the field of protecting and saving the endangered cultural heritage as a result of the construction of a Dam project. Thus, the Fourth Cataract area became the scene of the work of many foreign Missions that include institutes, universities and specialized scientific institutions (35).

The area of the Fourth Cataract targeted by the rescue work was divided into concession areas for foreign Missions, which initiated work in these areas, despite harsh conditions and relative inaccessibility as well as the objections of citizens and their protests against the construction project of the Merowe Dam. The Table below illustrates the work of foreign Missions and their concession areas:


Expedition Name

Work date

Concession Areas


The Sudan Archaeological Research Society Mission


(left bank) Dar- Alarab/ Karbakan/ Traif Burti/ Mies Island/ Aldoma


The Mission of the German University of Humboldt


Oas Islan, Sharari and Sor


Mission of German University of Cologne


Bunie Island


Joint Archeology Mission of the Hungarian Academy and the Center for Archeological Studies and Research, Wadi El Nil University


Wadi Kanesa till Wadi Saliem


Mission of the Biotechnology Research Center (Peru)


Toraif Burtie


Mission of the Museum of Gdansk


Alkasenger- Shnkok right bank


Mission of the Poznan Museum


Alshamekia Khor um Gozlan left bank


University of California Santa Barbara Mission


Ras Aljazera Maqrat – Alkab right bank


University of Chicago Mission


Shankok – Aldagfale, Share Islan right bank


University of Delaware Mission


Alkab Right bank and later Left bank in area between Nuri and Dam


Polish Academy of Sciences


Alsalamat And Khor Um Gizlan


Joint Archaeological Mission between the Museum of Kdansk and the University of Chicago


Hosh Aljroof Right bank


In addition to the participation of foreign Missions, there have been significant contributions and efforts by the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums of Sudan and many national Missions and scientific institutions working in the field of archeology. The Table below illustrates the work of national and joint Missions:


Mission Name

Concession Areas


Mission of the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums


In 1991 Surveys were conducted in the target area


Joint Mission between the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the University of Dongola


Between years 1996-1998 surveys were carried out on the Nile left bank (Kalgeli and Jabant Alharaz). Traning Mission for Students of Archaeology Demartment- Dongla University


Mission of the General Authority of Antiquities and MuseumsJoint Mission between the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the University of Dongola

In 2003 Rescue Excavation in the manin area of the dam and Jabant Alharaz


Dongola Mission of the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums

2000-2001 Rescue Excavation within Hoor area of dam (Kalgeli)


Museums Joint Mission between the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the University of Khartoum

In 2001 rescue work conducted in first and fourth resettlement areas (Almoltaqa- Almoqabrab)


Joint Mission between the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the French Archeology Unit



The Merowe Dam rescue Mission has bestowed great attention on the resettlement areas that have been allocated for the construction of resettlement villages to accommodate the citizens affected by the construction of the dam, which includes four geographical areas:

Initial Resettlement Area (Almoltaqa):

It is located 40 km south of the village of Hammadab where a program of surveys and rescue archaeology was carried out by the cadres of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums in cooperation with the French Archeology Department of the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums. This rescue work revealed about 147 archaeological sites, mostly dating to the era of the Neolithic and Christian period. Also, the discovery of settlement location was excavated and documented (36) (see Figure 1 below).

There were archaeological sites that were classified as non-specific as will be mentioned in the Tables below. This classification was based on the fact that their archaeological data does not correspond to the cultural features that distinguish the historical periods known to us. The complete absence of civilized periods in some areas does not signify that they do not exist at all, but rather the fact that dam projects do not always provide sufficient opportunity for discovery and examination,  as many archaeological sites in target area of study always are Limited and confined to a specific geographical area. Furthermore, the environmental factor may also have a role in this, which led to the absence of cultural features that characterized these periods, or perhaps there was a decline of settlement in these areas during this period of civilization.

 Figure 1: Second Resettlement Area Wadi Al-Qadam (Amra Al Jadida):

The area is located between the Ousli region in the northern state and Almogadm Valley, Covering an area of about 205 square kilometers. The project of surveying and salvage excavation was also carried out by the Mission of the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the French Archeology Unit in 2003 where about 189 archaeological sites were recorded. These sites include sites dating to the prehistoric period and others dating to the Christian period (38) (see Figure 2 below).


Figure 2

Third Resettlement Area Wadi Al – Mukabrab:

 It is located 12 kilometers south of the town of Damer in River Nile State, and 6 km north of the Wadi Al-Mukabrab. The site has an area of about 60,000 acres. The rescue archaeological surveys were carried out in 2005 to monitor, record and calculate the size of archaeological area in the region. The results of the surveys revealed the presence of 31 archaeological sites of various historical periods, from prehistoric to Islamic periods. Funerary sites recorded the highest incidence of archaeological phenomena (see Figure 3 below).

Figure 3, Archaeological sites discovered in the third resettlement area (Mukabrab) according to its historical periods
About: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2005


The Fourth Resettlement Area East Kahaila:

It is located in the area between Abu Hamad (railway station) and the village of Muhissa, covering an area of about 300 square kilometers. Archaeological conservation works in this area is also a joint effort between the General Authority of Antiquities and Museums and the French Archeology Unit. The excavation and monuments surveys revealed about 99 archaeological site, of varied historical periods, as shown in the Figure 4 below.

 Figure 4, Archaeological sites discovered in the fourth resettlement area (West Keheila) according to historical periods

About: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2005


Maintenance of Associated Projects:

The greatest advantage of the Meroe Dam salvage Mission is the interest in archaeological research and excavation in the areas of the resettlement villages and associated projects. Following the rescue of the four resettlement areas mentioned above, these projects, which included the construction of roads, bridges and agricultural projects, were executed. This has resulted in many important archaeological discoveries, as follows:

 The Electricity Carrier line Monument Salvage Project:

The project aims to save the area that would be affected by the transmission line of power from the Dam and to the substations that distribute electricity to the national networks. The Kabashi station represents one of these substations, which was established as an infrastructure to receive electricity generated from the Dam, known for its funerary and settlement remains. A total of 136 ancient sites were discovered and monitored, including remnants dating back to the 7th millennium BCE. This is in addition to the ubiquitous presence of post-Meroe and Christian ruins. This site is considered as a natural extension of the sites that embody the prehistoric ruins in both Jili and Al-Qadr (40).

Project to Save the Monuments of the Area Affected by the Construction of Karima- Nawa Road

It is one of the Highways projects constructed to connect the Meroe Dam to urban and rural areas, located on the right side of the Nile between Karima and Daba Bridge, with an estimated length of 180 kilometers. In 2008, rescue archaeological surveys were carried out in the target area, which resulted in the monitoring and recording of about 32 archaeological sites that included various historical periods.


Figure 5, Explains the archaeological sites discovered in Karima - Nawa road, according to historical periods
About: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2009

In the course of what was mentioned about the experience of Meroe Dam as the first national endeavor in the field of projects to save the monuments of dams, we can conclude that it was able to a large extent to achieve some of the goals and objectives that were desired. Among the most important additions made by this Mission in the history of Sudan are following:

  • The joint efforts between the General Authority of Antiquities and museums and foreign Missions that participated in saving the antiquities of the Meroe Dam have shed light and attempted to reconstruct the image of the past from the area of ​​the fourth cataract.
  • Areas of concession granted to foreign Missions have revealed many sites of human activities covering most of the historical periods (prehistoric and Islamic periods).
  • This large-scale salvage expedition resulted in an important conclusion that made by Mission of the museum of Gdańskof the discovery of the southern extension of the civilization of Kerma (2500-1500 BC) through the tombs and remains of settlements dating back to this period. This great discovery has delighted many researchers. Since that this civilization extended from The Second Cataract to the area of ​​Abu-hammad.
  • The Mission of the East Institute of the University of Chicago has discovered an important site of a gold extraction in the area of ​​Hush al-Jaruf, dating from 1700-1500 BC, in the period of the Kingdom of Kush, whose capital was Kerma (42).
  • The most substantial achievement of this expedition is the process of cutting and dismantling of the rock paintings from the area of ​​the Fourth Cataract (see picture below).

 The process of cutting and rescuing the rock drawings from the Fourth Cataract area
About: General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2008

- The Mission of the Sudanese Archeological Society in the Tarif-Berti region discovered a Nabataean pyramid built of sandstone,, which fact emphasizes the importance of the region politically during the period of Nabata civilization 800-400 BC (43). (See picture below).

 The remains and foundations of the Kush pyramid discovered by the Mission of the British Archeological Society in the area of ​​Tarif Berti in the fourth cataract area

About: (Welsby, 2003: 50 :)

  • Resettlement sites have been studied and their share of archaeological research has been assessed.
  • The ubiquitous presence of civilization after Meroe and exploration in the settlement sites that are related to this civilization.


There are also some contributions that were made by this Mission:

  • Training of national cadres to be fully qualified in the implementation and leadership of archaeological work.
  • The campaign was accompanied by some studies and ethnographic surveys in some of the targeted areas of the study.
  • A number of work results for national and foreign Missions have been published in scientific journals and periodicals such as: Sudan & Nubia and African Reports.
  • The results of this gigantic rescue work have been presented at many conferences, which were held in Gdańsk 2004 and 2009, Berlin 2005, Cologne 2006, Lille 2007, London 2010 and Switzerland 2014.
  • A local scientific exhibition was held in 2003 in the buildings of Sudan National Museum and another one abroad in the French city of Lille in 2007.


Project of Saving the Monuments in the Area Affected by the Project of Raising the Reservoir (2009-2012):

As part of the government's development programs aimed at implementing water projects on the Nile and its tributaries, the decision to increasing the height of the reservoir in 2008, was put into action. It was part of a proposed Dam project to enhance the productivity of electricity generation. Thus, it requires extensive archaeological work in the area threatened by the lake water, as the area did not receive archaeological detection before the construction of the initial dam body as mentioned earlier. The General Authority for Antiquities and Museums set up a plan for the implementation of an integrated rescue project in the targeted area in 2009, which included the work of the rescue surveys aimed at evaluating the archaeological heritage within the area, and then followed by the implementation phase of rescue excavations in areas that fall within the prospective lake’s water height.

The Blue Nile region is part of the rich Savannah belt characterized by heavy rainfall. The target area ​​ is located in dense vegetation covered by the trees of Vachellia, Acacia, Baobaband Soapberry. Accordingly, population activity prevailing within the region are economic, agricultural and pastoral activities. It is also characterized by clay soil and black gluten (44) (see Picture below).


Topography of the Blue Nile region characterized by the black glacial soil
From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2009


Since the studied area is characterized by dense vegetation, the survey method used was on foot, as cars could not be used. (See picture below)


Archaeologists' team during the survey work in Alrosairs- the right Bank of the Nile
from: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2009


Archaeological Work in the Area of ​​Rosieris:

Rescue archaeological surveys started in 2009 and aimed at recording and documenting the cultural heritage of the threatened area. The target area was about 110 km along the banks of the Nile (East and West Bank) (55 km on the right bank and 55 km in the left). The results were as follows:

The archeological team managed to monitor and record about 55 archaeological sites in the East Bank, which differed in terms of type and historical period, including funerary and settlement sites, while some 14 archaeological sites were documented and recorded in the West Bank (see Figure 6 below).


Figure 6, A table showing the types of archaeological sites in the East Bank - Al-Ruseiris
From: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2009



Figure7, Explains the archaeological sites in the East Bank - Al-Ruseiris, according to historical periods
From: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2009


figure8, Types of archaeological sites discovered in Ruseiris West Bank
from: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2009


Figure 9, shows the archaeological sites discovered according to their historical periods in the left bank of the Nile
about: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2009

When the archaeological surveys were completed in 2009, the salvage excavations began targeting the selected locations in both right and left banks of the Nile. The surveys contributed greatly to shedding light on a distinct local culture that exhibited cultural diversity in many aspects, related to the culture of customs and traditions of burial, as manifested by the following:

  1. There is no superstructure for most of the tombs excavated (see picture below):


A general view of a group of tombs with no superstructure from the site RosW 10 in Jabal Abla al-Ruseiris West Bank

About: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2009


  1. Contrast in the funerary situations and non-compliance with a unified situation through the set of structures found (see figure below).

Skeletons, illustrate variation of the deceased positions from the cemetery (No. Ros E 18) in the village of Karma Tomb T5 and T7 - ​​Al-Ruseiris, the right Bank of the Nile
About: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2012

  1. Most of the tombs excavated were rich in funerary furniture of complete pottery, which varied in terms of manufacturing and pattern of decoration. Most of them were hand-made and had decorative patterns that are interspersed with straight lines, while others have none. It is difficult to determine the historical period to which it belongs, as it has not been studied so far, but it seems to be a distinctive local pattern characterizing the culture of the region, in terms of shape, rather like the pottery of Kerma. Its texture can be studied in an attempt to find similarities with of pottery of other periods of civilization.
  2. Personal ornaments that adorned the deceased body were found, and were embodied in beads and seashells, which may give indications of the continuity of this culture compared with the current population and ethnic groups living in the region (see pictures below).


Complete pottery and a set of beads placed on the body of the deceased from the site Ros E 18 - Ambararo girls wearing beads ornaments
About: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2012


The Project of Rescue in the Area affected by the Upper Atbara and Stett Dams (2010-2013):

Atbara and Setitt are considered to be national projects within the framework of water projects, which were constructed to serve manifold development purposes. It is a complex of dams on the Atbara and Stett rivers. It aims to generate electric power and to irrigate agricultural projects in the state of Kassala. The dams located on the upper Atbara River with a distance more than 400 km southeast of Khartoum, and are about 20 km from the junction of the rivers and about 80 km south of the reservoir of Khashm al-Kirba and 30 km up the river from Shoak town. The dams, in total, affect about 197 kilometers on the banks of Atbara and Setitt rivers. These areas have no previous archaeological activity since it is a virgin land, although these areas are not far from the Khashm al-Qirba area, which witnessed archeological studies and research, during the 1960s, in the field of prehistoric studies by the archaeologist John Scheiner. He recorded several archaeological sites dating to the Holocene and Pleistocene periods, in addition to the work of Arkel in 1946, recording some of the sites based on the stone tools dating back to Paleolithic Age, along the Atbara River.

Topography of the Area:

The surface of this area is characterized by sandstone with a black clay layer or the so-called (Gedarif composition), and its vegetation consists of dense forests, made up of acacia mellifera and scanty thorn trees. The dominant feature of the surface is a phenomenon terned "Karb" which is a local synonym signifying those  places with steep valleys and wavy surfaces caused by erosion due to rainfalls running downstream (see picture below).


A plate showing the topography of the affected area of the dams of Atbara and Stitt rivers
From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2010


Archaeological Salvage Works in the Region:

The survey works were conducted between 2010-2013 in the target area, including rescue surveys and archaeological researches. In 20010 surveys work started in the dam lake (Atbara River and Stett), and it aimed to record and monitor all the archaeological phenomena on the surface and then evaluate the area in term of archaeology heritage in addition to adopting a rescue strategy.

Figures below illustrate the types of archaeological sites discovered and their historical periods according to their percentages.


Figure 11, A table showing the types of archaeological sites in the West Bank of the Atbara River
From: Reports of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2010




Figure 12, Table showing the types of archaeological sites on the Stitt River - the eastern bank
From: Report of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2010


Figure 13, Table showing the archaeological sites on Stitt River - the eastern bank according to historical periods
About: Report of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2010

The the rescue surveys in the affected area of ​​the Atbara River and Stett dams, included the area of ​​the agricultural project, which is one of the those projects associated with Atbara and Setitt dams. It was allocated to the people affected by the agricultural project. It extends from north till the south of Khash-Algirba Agricultural Project, covering 80*45 km2 . The project is also known as the Upper Atbara Project (47). The topography of the area is characterized by a flat land interspersed with different valleys covered with black clay soil that gradually descends towards the Atbara River. The most important characteristic of this area is the wavy surface, which called “Alkirab” phenomenon by local people. The vegetation covering the area includes: Acacia ehrenbergiana trees. Vachellia seyal and Ziziphus spina-christi are sometimes found in form of dense and small forest clusters (see pictures below).


A flat land interspersed with valleys; archaeologists carry out a survey between “Alkirab area” in the project area of the agricultural project in Ksala
From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2010

The results of the conservation surveys revealed the discovery of 137 archeological sites, most of which date to the prehistoric period (the Neolithic period), as indicated by the figures below:


Figure 14, Types of archaeological sites discovered in the agricultural project area - Kassala
From: Report of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2010



Figure 15, Explains the archaeological sites discovered according to historical periods in the area of the agricultural project - Kassala
From: Report of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums 2010


Results of Archaeological Salvage Works in the State and Atbara Area :

The salvage work carried out in these areas is one of the first archaeological salvage works executed in the region during the period 2010-2013. Moreover, it is considered to be an area of ​​interest to the archaeologists, probably mainly due to the absence of the distinctive architectural features or, equally, for its geological structure. The idea of​constructing a dam in this region has highlighted and revealed a culture of distinctive character, which is recognized by the people of this region. This enhanced the list of the Sudanese cultural record, and the most important results were the following:

The culture varied and diversified in terms of burial customs and traditions, especially with regard to the deceased's position with non-adherence to a specific situation (see the pictures below).


Laying position and variation in the positions of the deceased from the cemetery SA 1A Graveyard T 1 and T 2
From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2013


  • Most of the human skeletons found were adorned with ornaments made of iron. There were anklets and bracelets, in addition to quantities of beads found scattered around the deceased's neck (see the picture below).


A skeleton of a woman in a laying position, adorned with jewelry and bracelets made of iron and beads around the neck of the cemetery EB 12
About: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2013


  • Technical culture and manufacture of stone tools that showed a distinctive style of hand stone axes, which indicates the skill and abilities of that craftman.


Stone axes from the archaeological site SA 24 at the eastern bank of the Stitt river and Atbara
From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2013

  • The presence of dense settlement sites, particularly those dating back to the Neolithic Age.  If the identity of these sites is confirmed, it may indicate that this area has been habitable by humans la ong time ago.  Thus, it may indicate the vibrant human activity in the region during that time.
  • The manifestation of reusing cemeteries and the methods of successive burial through placing a side the initial skeleton in a way that does not respect the deceased. This indicated environmental and geological factors have a great effect, as the region has “Alkirab”  phenomenon and thus may have led to a limited size area for the deceased (see the picture below).



The phenomenon of re-interment within one cemetery, group of human skeletons buried in a single cemetery in EB 12
                                    From: General Authority of Antiquities and Museums 2013


  • Personal ornaments made from iron ore may give an indication of the extraction industry of this type of metal.
  • This distinctive culture may have a close relationship to other African cultures in neighboring countries (Ethiopian culture), hence future archaeological research and studies can shed more light on them.

Dams under Implementation:

After the completion of the construction phase of the Meroe Dam in 2008, the national government, represented by the Dam Implementation Unit, continued its efforts in the construction of a number of proposed dams on the Nile and its branches (see map no 3) in Dal, Kajabar, Dogsh, Maqrat and Alsabloga. The archaeology surveys were executed and suggested dam areas were recorded and monitored.


Map No. (3) showing dams implemented and others under implementation (Abdelrahman et al. 2014: 2)

Results of Archaeological Surveys of Dal and Kajbar’ Dams 2008:

The survey works carried out in Dal and Kajbar in 2008 were aimed at updating the information pertaining to the cultural heritage of the region, in addition to identifying and describing the sites and then setting budgets for the required rescue operations in case of implementation of these proposed dams (49).

The results of the surveys led to monitoring and registration of about 509 archaeological sites in the entire target area, which amounted to about 1500 square kilometers, and the survey work in this area mainly to monitor and record all the archaeological manifestations in the target areas and evaluate the area in terms of archaeological heritage and identify the type of work, according to variation in the environments and characteristics of the sites (50). In addition, there was a study of the environmental impact assessment in both Dal and Kajbar on cultural heritage sites that were conducted and prepared by experts from the British Museum in 2011.

Results of Rescue Archaeological Surveys of Dagash and Maqarat Dams 2011:

The results of the conservation surveys carried out in the affected areas of Dagash and Maqarat dams, resulted in the discovery of a number of archaeological sites, which varied in terms of type and historical period. The sites in each area affected by the Dagash dam (right and left of the Nile) in addition to the islands, about 313 archaeological sites,.This included sites of cemeteries and settlement sites, as well as the sites of human activities of the sites of drawings and rock drums and grinding sites carved on the rocks while archaeological sites in the affected area of ​​the Maqarat dam on both banks of the Nile , covering about 135 archaeological sites.

What has been uncovered from archaeological sites in this region in the two banks amounted to about 448 archaeological sites. They differed in the rescue process by their nature from sites that need the dismantling and re-installation of monuments or those historical monuments, that need full or partial exploration and surface studies.

Results of Surveys of Sites affected by the Sabaloga Dam:

The area targeted for the study, which will be affected directly by the dam lake in the left and right sides of the Nile, is about 40 square kilometers. The results of the rescue surveys of this rich area affected by the Sabaloga Dam in terms of archaeological heritage, as the archaeological sites of funerary sites and settlement sites varied in addition to the presence of sites of petroglyphs. The left bank of the Nile has reached about 56 archaeological sites, while the left bank of the Nile recorded about 58 sites, so that the total numbers of sites targeted by the rescue search total about 114 in all (53).

Future Prospects for the Development of Archaeological Work in Sudan:

The archeological work of the salvage undoubtedly generates the process of conflict between the sector of investors who tend to ignore the monuments and archaeologists and researchers who protect the archaeological sites, because archaeological sources have often been neglected when planning the construction of a development project. Indeed, the projects normally do not include preliminary studies to save monuments which will be directly or indirectly affected by its implementation. Most of the previous mega-development projects (the first quarter of the Twentieth Century) did not include plans in their implementation to protect and preserve the monuments. Moreover, the decision to implement these development projects was not subject to the process of consultation and direct communication with the competent authorities embodied in the archeology sector. This may be attributed to the weakness of public awareness of the monuments or because it was not a priority in that period. As a result, many archaeological sites were irretrievably lost to the civilization record, which could have added much to Sudan's ancient history.

Through what has been illustrated, the positive role of rescue archeology is undisputable, in the saving of the archaeological heritage. it has, to some extent, fulfilled some of the [ledges that were made to rescue the monuments affected by dam construction projects in Sudan; and since the monuments do not hinder the process of development and progress, a modification to the plan or a development project as an alternative to the construction of a dam will only protect the sources of the archaeological heritage and thus will not cause undue damage to the development project. One of the most important contributions of the rescue archeology projects is to enrich the scientific research movement and provide all that is new about cultures that have remained undisclosed and did not have the fortune to discover it without these rescue projects. The scientific results of these projects are much larger than those of other rescue research projects (road rescue projects, oil pipeline projects, etc.), because they cover vast areas such as the body area of dams and associated project areas, including resettlement areas, road projects and power transmission lines.

It is well known that the monuments do not impede development, and that archaeologist have no objection to development projects, especially those related to dam construction projects’; but their role is to merely save as much as possible before these projects are implemented, which are considered necessary for the requirements of growth and economic recovery. In order to carry out archeological research projects for the conservation of antiquates resources under the pressure of these development projects, it is necessary to draw a road map by developing a model for an future strategies to implement these projects in a solid and sound manner. It is possible to identify the means available in the current situation by the speedy implementing of the following:

  • For development projects related to the construction of dams, if the purpose of construction is to generate hydroelectric power, the State must find other alternatives to power generation, such as the use of natural hydropower produced by waterfalls (by turbines) or wind energy use and solar power.
  • In order to minimize the risk of damage caused by development projects, especially in relation to construction work, an ideal model should be created through proper coordination and communication between business owners, government institutions, organizations concerned with development issues and archaeologists through the formation of a team of archaeologists, which is responsible for supervising the impacts of infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges and others. The plan of these projects can be tracked by sending a permanent representative or expert to these agencies and then to know their future investment plans.
  • The means and the modern information network and computers should be utilized to provide the most accurate information and details about the archaeological sites. The state agencies, which are involved in the land investments, can have an electronic database through which the archaeological sites can be discovered so as not to be overlooked.
  • To conduct enlightenment workshops aimed at raising awareness about the importance of archival archaeological research projects and how to implement them before starting the rescue project so that the public, especially the citizens of the targeted area, can be prepared by studying the importance of the rescue project so as not to be subjected to unprovoked citizens' protests. Thus, it guarantees the smooth of work of rescue archaeological projects.
  • The process of environmental impact assessment studies of dam projects and their impact on archeological heritage sites should be taken into account, especially the eminent historical monuments. The study should include the possibility of transfer, dismantling and re-installation. Detailed budgets should be developed at the cost of this process (Dal and Kajbar studies) .
  • The need to carry out protection work that includes the concept of maintenance and repairing of archaeological sites discovered, which will be affected in the long term by the humidity factors or climatic changes caused by dam projects, because the process of conservation and restoration of archaeological antiquates is necessary as part of the cultural heritage through which rebuilding the past.
  • It is preferable to accompany the rescue survey by, test drilling work, to verify the identity of some sites and whether some their characteristics and cultural characteristics are. missing. In addition, an effort must be exerted to determine whether the sites danger of disappearance because of the natural and human factors.
  • Providing safe means of storing the discovered archaeological materials, so that all the conditions suitable for the safety and preservation of the artifacts are available under the supervision of the restoration experts. Furthermore, there is a needto oblige the foreign Missions to participate in rescue archaeological research projects by providing financial support for the safe storage of the archaeological remains discovered.
  • Working on studying archaeological materials that are the product of rescue excavations, and directing scientific research towards it as it is suitable scientific ground for scientific research or worksheets, and thus can contribute to the process of study and publication indirectly.
  • In the process of disassembly and re-installation of monuments and historical monuments that will forever be lost  away from its original location in the affected area. An important aspect of the selection and identification of new locations must be taken into account, so that there are some elements and characteristics similar to the original location and resembling their context and original locations.
  • The need to establish a special museum to become part of the investment program, which can house and display archaeological holdings obtained from rescue archaeological research projects.
  • A sufficient period of time should be given to archaeologists to carry out archaeological research projects in order to save the largest possible sample of the endangered monuments, because the loss of human heritage cannot be restored.
    - In areas that have received a small share of salvage excavations and have not been completely inundated by the waters of the reservoir lake, it is preferred to give the archaeological team another opportunity to study and explore, as they are promising archaeological areas and deserve attention and in-depth archaeological research in depth, especially those areas that are rich in monuments dating back to prehistoric times.
  • To provide the trained scientific staff to carry out archaeological research projects to meet the acute shortage of archaeologists in front of the pressure of increasing development projects, either by resorting to the method of contracting with local experts of archeology with long experience in the field of scientific archaeological research, or through forming  joint Missions of the relevant scientific institutions. This can be done through committing and involving the universities to form a full team to participate in the rescue work, preferably a formal agreement to benefit from the specialized cadres in the departments of archeology in the various national universities (Khartoum - El Nilein - Dongola - Shendi, Al Jazeera and the Red Sea).
  • The establishment of a rescue archeology unit attached to the Archaeological Section, consisting of archaeologists, surveyors and restorer, whose mission is to carry out archaeological works for sites requiring urgent rescue search.
  • The possibility of drafting laws and legislations that guarantee and regulating the relationship between investors and specialists in a manner that guarantees most of the archaeological sites achieve sustainability against the demolition and destruction of the sites, as well as activating the laws related to the establishment of development projects and protection of monuments, such as the laws of donors of land investments such as Urban Planning and Land Department.
  • Implementing regulations and laws related to mining activities and work to include an article into these laws related concerning certificates of Discharge from the Antiquities Authority, or work to amend the law of protection of antiquities by adding some clear and effective provisions that support the rescue of the monuments when constructing a developmental project, and through which to set terms and commitments of the investment body towards the archaeological research project. This can be achieved through the process of financial and logistical support as well as the sufficient time to complete the project.
  • To compel investors to finance the process of scientific publishing of the scientific results which are the outcome of the salvage archaeological work, and to include clear and explicit provisions within the terms of the agreements between the competent authorities of the monuments and the executing agency of the development project.
  • Cooperation with archaeological agencies and organizations concerned with the protection of the archaeological heritage, for crafting and publishing brochures in order to publicize and raise public awareness about the project of saving the monuments affected by dams, and highlighting the importance of cultural heritage and the need to save it.
  • Training the technical staff of archaeologists, surveyors, restorers, and others who carry out archeological research projects, on the use of modern equipment and scientific and technical means in the field of archaeological research, in order to obtain the most speedy and cost-effective information.
  • Coordinating with the relevant State bodies in supporting foreign Missions involved in rescue projects, by facilitating entry-visa procedures to Sudan and exemption from customs duties, particularly when bringing in equipment and fieldwork tools.
  • The need to hold a local scientific conference, in which to exhibit the scientific results obtained from rescue archaeological research projects, so that they can be viewed by the members of the community can in all their categories.
  • Organizing exhibitions to display the archaeological artifacts that are the outcome of rescue projects in the various regions of Sudan, so as to enlighten the largest segment of society to their cultural heritage.
  • Studies should be directed at identifying the historical and cultural shortcomings, especially in the method of selection of samples, where the researcher should take into account, in choosing the drill method, the general interest and then their own interest, implying that their questions should not be limited to their own interests on what they would like to know. Rather, they have to be comprehensive and inclusive by taking into account the interests of others, because their work plan is more thorough. Such requirement stands in stark contrast to archaeologists who are engaged in the field of systematic scientific research, where future generations can rectify their mistakes and address the issues  they have missed.
  • The need to include archaeological heritage sites in the World Heritage List, to ensure their inviolability, and the necessity to preserve it so much so that they are considered as  UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Publishing the results of the works of conservation projects in volumes and booklets written in both, Arabic and English, given the fact that the information obtained from the dam projects far surpasses that procured from other salvage projects.
  • Work on completion of the archaeological map’ projector the whole of Sudan, and to broadcast it via the internet to avoid encroachment on archaeological sites by investors.
  • Further work should be undertaken on the registration of archaeological sites in the register of government land, to be allocated for the benefit of the Government of Sudan. To activate the Presidential decree to exempt the registration of archaeological sites from fees.
  • The creation of an electronic archive or register and to catalog artifacts discovered, which can be disseminated over the Internet for the global audience.
  • Emphasizing the need to implement the projects regarding the rescue of submerged archaeological artifacts.



1 Brew, J.O. 1962: Introduction in: Fred Wendorf, A guide for Salvage Archaeology. edited by Richard Wormser.(pp.1-33). Museum of New Mexico Press, p.1-10.

2 Thomas, T. D. 1999: Emergency Archeology in the Missouri River Basin: The Role of the Missouri River Basin Project and the Midwest Archeological Center in the Interagency Archeological Salvation Program, 1946-1975, Special Report No. 2, United States Department of the Interior, Lincoln, Nebrask.(pp.29).

[1]Wendorf ,F, 1962: A Guide for Salvage Archaeology, Museum of New Mexico. p.7.

[1]King, T. F, Schenk. R. E. & Wildesen. L. E.1970: “Audio-Visual Techniques in Emergency Salvage Archaeology”.In: American Antiquity, Vol. 35, No. 2, Society for American Archaeology. P, 220

[1]Adams, W.Y. 2007: A century of archaeological salvage, 1907–2007. Sudan & Nubia. Bulletin No 11.London. (pp.48-56).

[1]Drewett,P. L.1999:Field Archaeology: An Introduction. The Taylor & Francis e-Library.

[1]Everill,P.2007: British commercial archaeology: antiquarians and labourers; developers and diggers. In Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics. One World Archaeology, Vol. 54. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. (P .159-161).

[1]Adams, W.Y. 1968: Organizational problems in international salvage archaeology. Anthropological Quarterly. No 41.(p.121).

[1]Brew, 1962.Op.cit.p.10.


[1]McManamon, F & Hatton, A.2000: Cultural Resource Management in Contemporary Society, Perspectives on managing and presenting the past. Taylor & Francis e-Library.p.10.

[1]Willems, J.H. 2000:The management of the archaeological heritage in the Netherland, In: Archaeologa Polana No.38. Netherland. (pp153-168).

[1]Adams, W.Y. 2007: A century of archaeological salvage, 1907–2007. Sudan & Nubia. Bulletin No 11.London. (p.50), and Brew, J.O. 1962: Introduction in: Fred Wendorf, A guide for Salvage Archaeology. edited by Richard Wormser.(pp.1-33). Museum of New Mexico Press.p.12.

[1] Adams, 2007. op.cit:52


[1]Resinar, A.G.1910: The Archaeological Survey of Nubia Report for 1907-1908.Cairo.National Printing Department.

[1]Adams, W.Y.1977:Nubian Corridor to Africa. Princeton University Press.p.67.

[1]Emery,W.B& Kirwan, L. P.1935: The Excavations and Survey between Wadi es-Sebua and Adindan, Cairo, p.12.

[1]Adams, 1968.op.cit:51.

[1]Brew, 1962.Op.cit:23-26.

[1] Wendorf,1962.Op.cit:21.

[1] Säve-Söderberg,1971.Op.cit:82.

[1]Adams, 1968.Op.cit:51.

[1]Hassan, F.A. 2007: The Aswan High Dam and the International Rescue Nubian Campaign. African Archaeological Review.24 Springer & Business Media. (pp.73-94).


[1]Arkell, A.J.1949: Early Khartoum, An Account of the Excavation of an Occupation site carried out by the Sudan Government Antiquities Service in 1944 – 1945. London Oxford University press.p. 6-9.

[1]Al-Hakem, A.M.A. 1993: Merowe (Hamadab) High Dam and its impacts, In: Kush Vol. 16.(P.1).Khartoum.

[1]Dixon, D.M. 1963: A Meroitic Cemetery at Sennar (Makwar) In: Kush vol.11. (p. 227).Khartoum.

[1]Shiner, L& Chmielewski, W.1971: The Khashm el Girba area.In:Shiner,L.(ed) The prehistory and geology of Northern Sudan.Parts 1and 11.Report to the National Science Foundation Grant. (P. 293).

[1]Hakem, 1993. Op.cit:2.

[1] Hakem, ibid,2.

[1]Ahmed, S M. 2003: Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (MDASP). Sudan & Nubia .Bulletin No 7.London.(PP.11-13).

[1] ibid, 11.

[1]Welsby, DA. 2003: The Amri to Kirbekan Survey: The 2002–2003 Season.IN: Sudan & Nubia, Bulletin No.7, London. (P. 26).

[1]Ahmed, S M. 2004: The Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage project, In: Welsby, D & Anderson, J . Sudan – Ancient Treasures .London: British Museum Press. ( P.312).

[1]Geus, F. & Y, Lecointe. 2003: Survey and Excavation at el-Multga, a Resettlement Area related to the Construction of the Meroe Dam: preliminary result. In: Sudan and Nubia, vol.7. (pp. 33- 39).

[1]Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (MDASP):2003: Wadi Muqaddam, New Amri Project, second Interim Report.(pp.1-35).

[1]Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (MDASP):2004: Wadi Muqaddam, New Amri Project, Final Report. (pp.1-20).

[1]Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (MDASP):2005: Wadi Mukabrab Archaeological salvage project, preliminary report.(1-3).

[1]2005: Wadi Mukabrab Archaeological salvage project, Final report (pp 1-12).

[1] Panner, 2003 Kerma culture, rock art, dome graves and other discoveries in the Fourth Nile cataract region. In: African Reports. Bulletin No. 2. Gdansk Archaeological Museum, p173.

[1]Emberling & William ,2007: Nubian expedition. In: The Oriental Institute 2006–2007.Annual Report. P.83.

[1]Welsby, DA. 2003: The Amri to Kirbekan Survey: The 2002–2003 Season.IN: Sudan & Nubia, Bulletin No.7, London., p.26.

[1]صلاح الدين علي الشامي ،1972،السودان دراسة جغرافية، الاسكندرية، دار النشر البيضاء للمعارف، ص 203 -206).

[1]Rosieres Dam Heightening Archaeological Salvage Project (RDASP):

2009: The Archaeological Salvage Survey, preliminary report, Decemberp.2.

[1]Marks, A. E. Peters, J. & Van Neer, W. 2009: Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Occupation in the Upper Atbara River Valley, Sudan". In A.E close (ed), Prehistory of Arid North Africa, Essays in Honor of Fred Wendorf. Dallas. http:/www.epub.ub.uni.muenchen, p.138.

[1]Sitite And Atbarawy Rivers Dam And Upper Atbara Irrigation Scheme Archaeological Salvage Project (SADASP): 2010: Reconnaissance Survey, preliminary report, 2010: Reconnaissance Survey, preliminary report, June, p. 1.

2010: Reconnaissance Survey, preliminary report, June, p. 1.

[1] Sitite, Opcit.1-20.

[1]Dal and Kajbar Dams Archareological Reconnaissance Survey: 2008, final report, June –July. p.2.

[1] Sitite, Ibid,3.

[1]Welsby, D.Al Hassan, A & Mahmoud, S. 2011: Assessment of the impact of the Dal and Kajbar dams on the Archaeological heritage of Northern Sudan, Report submitted to the Dams Implementation Unit. p.1.

[1] Welsby, Opcit.13.

[1]Welsby, Ibid, 1-26.


Add Comment