Sudan Field Research

A REQUEST FOR SUPPORT

TO: ASCAC-Western Region

FROM: Professor Manu Ampim

RE: Request for Support of My Field Research Project

Merowe42-300x200In June 2011, I conducted field research in the Sudan to investigate, record, and documented details of the proposed construction of four dams along the Nile River, from the 2nd cataract in the north to the Atbara River branch of the Nile in the central-eastern region(see Nile map ). The specific goal of my 10-day trip was to examine the potential impact of these dams on the ancient Nubian artifacts and archaeological sites. Also, while examining the archaeological impact of these dams, I learned about the social impact on the Nubian people themselves because of the flooding of their homeland. 

The importance and urgency of my 2011 fact-finding tour is that the Sudanese government has recently secured construction contracts for the dams, and the work on these hydroelectric projects will start soon without any announcement. Once these projects are completed they will immediate flood all nearby archaeological sites. The construction will begin without notification or announcement because of the major protests from local Nubians, who are disputing the benefits of the construction of the Dal Dam (2nd cataract) and Kajbar Dam (3rd cataract). 

The Sudanese government has indicated that the dams will create additional electricity for the benefit of the local citizens, and electricity is indeed an uncontested factor for a country to develop, but the means to acquire this electricity is often contested and controversial. The local Nubian citizens in the affected areas do not agree that these hydroelectric projects will benefit them, and this is based on their past experience with the construction of the Aswan High Dam (1970), which flooded an important Nubian region in northern Sudan and southern Egypt. The Aswan Dam created a 340-mile long lake which flooded 39 Nubian villages and submerged innumerable priceless artifacts. Thus, the Nubians are convinced that the current hydroelectric projects are simply part of an ongoing scheme to erase their culture. For example, the Nubian environmental scientist, Dr. Arif Gamal, notes that “By flooding the last of the remaining Nubian lands…the Nubians are reduced to a group of people with no sense of memory, no past and no future to look for.” 

The Nubian voices should be respected in this matter because they are the effected community, and the World Commission on Dams has clearly indicated in its November 2000 report that “no dam should be build without the demonstrable acceptance of the affected people.” In 2007, I conducted field work in the Merowe Dam - 4thcataract area in Sudan to record and document the artifacts in the region before the completion of the dam the following year. The Merowe Dam created an 108-mile long reservoir and flooded at least 2,500 newly discovered (unexcavated) archaeological sites of the ancient Kushite empire, including the et-Tereif pyramid site and the Hosh el-Geruf gold production site.

Kajbar Dam & the Flooding of Ancient Nubia

The loss of historical knowledge about ancient Kush is beyond comprehension.

[See my report, The Merowe Dam and the Flooding of Ancient Kush (2007)].

Soleb Temple8

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