Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sudan is Archaeologically Rich

“Sudan is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that has real archaeology and local teams working,” said Claude Rilly, the director of the French Archaeological Unit in Sudan.

Though its historical importance has long been overshadowed by Egypt, its neighbor to the north, Sudan’s archaeological record is pivotal to understanding the history of Africa itself, experts say, and a wave of new discoveries may be adding crucial new information.

“The history of Sudan can play a role for Africa that Greece played for the history of Europe,” Mr. Rilly said enthusiastically. “People have been living here for 5,000 years” along the Nile, he added. “It is difficult not to find something.”

One overlooked fact is that Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt, in places like Nuri and Bijrawiyah, though they are smaller and not as old. In the town of Sedeinga in northern Sudan, for instance, Mr. Rilly and others excavated 35 small pyramids in the past few years, a discovery that points to what he called an ancient “democratization of pyramids.”

Read it all here.

Important Archaeological Discoveries of Sudan

Alice C. Linsley

We must look to the ancient Nilo-Saharans for antecedents of the Biblical worldview as this is the region from which Abraham's ancestors came. At Nekhen the following discoveries have been made:

The oldest known Horite shrine. Votive offerings at Nekhen were ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine. Horite priests placed invocations to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose.

A pillared hall complex spreading out to the south. Pillars are a typical architectural feature of royal palaces, tombs and temples among Horite Hebrew Abraham's ancestors. Pillars were often inscribed with the names of righteous ancestors.

The oldest known painted tomb (Tomb 100) with plaster walls. It dates to between 3500 and 3200 BC. Pillared chapels also have been discovered.

The oldest known menagerie that dates to ca. 3500 BC. The royal collection included leopards, hippos, hartebeest, elephants, baboons and crocodiles. As this is Noah's homeland, there appears to be historical basis to the story of his preserving a collection of animals.

The largest flint knives, dating to ca. 3200 BC. These were for ritual use, including circumcision.

Found at Tel Gezer (dated 12th to mid-11th century BC)
The Egyptian word for phallus was khenen (hnn
It is related to khenty, meaning "before" or "in front."
Both males and females were circumcised, as is still the custom in Sudan.  This reflects the binary framework of Nilo-Saharan thought. Male circumcision was seen as enhancement of maleness by the removal of the flabby foreskin. Female circumcision was seen enhancement of femaleness by the removal of the penis-like clitoris.

The binary view pertains to other living organisms such as trees. In Genesis 12:6 we read that Abraham sought guidance from the “moreh” or prophet when he pitched his tent at the Moreh’s Oak. Male prophets sat under firm upright trees such as oaks. These represent the masculine principle. Female prophets sat under soft trees with more fluid motion such as date nut palms. These trees are called "tamars" and they represent the feminine principle. Judges 4:4-6 says, “Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment."

Genesis 12 places the Moreh’s Oak at the sacred center between Ai and Bethel, on an east-west axis. Deborah's Palm was between Bethel and Ramah, on a north-south axis. Note the reversal of cardinal points and gender associations. This is typical of the binary system of the ancient Nilo-Saharans.

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