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Summary: Egypt isn't the country with the most pyramids -- Sudan has approximately 255 of them.

The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, which lies within present-day Sudan, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. The first had its capital at Kerma (2600--1520 BC). The second was centered on Napata (1000--300 BC). The last kingdom was based around MeroE1/2 (300 BC--AD 300).

Kerma was Nubia's first centralized state with its own indigenous forms of architecture and burial customs.

The last two kingdoms, Napata and MeroE1/2, were heavily influenced by Egypt culturally, economically, politically, and militarily. The Kushite kingdoms, in turn, competed strongly with Egypt in economic and military terms.

Around 255 pyramids were constructed at three sites in Nubia over a period of a few hundred years. They served as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and MeroE1/2.

This can be compared to approximately 120 much larger pyramids that were constructed in Ancient Egypt over a period of 3000 years.

The physical proportions of Nubian pyramids differ markedly from the Egyptian edifices. They are built of stepped courses of horizontally positioned stone blocks and range from approximately 6--30 metres in height, but rise from fairly small foundation footprints that rarely exceed 8 meters in width, resulting in tall, narrow structures inclined at approximately 70A.

Most also have offering temple structures abutting their base with unique Kushite characteristics. By comparison, Egyptian pyramids of a similar height typically had foundation footprints that were at least five times larger and were inclined at angles between 40--50A.

All of the pyramid tombs of Nubia were plundered in ancient times. Wall reliefs preserved in the tomb chapels reveal that their royal occupants were mummified, covered with jewelry and laid to rest in wooden mummy cases. At the time of their exploration by archaeologists in the 19th and 20th centuries, some pyramids were found to contain the remains of bows, quivers of arrows, archers' thumb rings, horse harnesses, wooden boxes, furniture, pottery, colored glass, metal vessels, and many other artifacts attesting to extensive Meroitic trade with Egypt and the Hellenistic world.

The pyramids were further damaged in the 1830s as the Italian doctor-turned- explorer and treasure hunter Giuseppe Ferlini blew the tops off about 40 tombs during his quest for treasure.

A pyramid excavated at MeroE1/2 included hundreds of heavy items such as large blocks decorated with rock art and 390 stones that comprised the pyramid. A cow buried complete with eye ointment was also unearthed in the area to be flooded by the MeroE1/2 Dam, as were ringing rocks that were tapped to create a melodic sound.


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Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Nov 30, 2017
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