Kerma Culture in Nubia
The Kerma culture evolved out of the Neolithic around 2400
BC. The Kerman Rulers of Kush profited from the trade in luxury
goods to Egyptian Pharaohs, including gold, ivory, ebony,
incense, and even live animals like the giraffe shown here.
By 1650 BC, the ancient site of Kerma had become a densely
occupied urban center overseeing an centralized state stretching
from at least the 1st to 4th Cataracts, rivaling ancient Egypt.
Kerma was sacked in c. 1500 BC, when the entire region was
incorporated into the Egyptian New Kingdom empire.
The New Kingdom Egyptians established colonial settlements
only at Tombos and the temple town of Kawa. Some sites in
our survey area had Egyptian pottery mixed with the Nubian,
as you see here. The lack of fully Egyptian sites suggests
that local elites were allowed a degree of cultural and political
autonomy so long as precious luxury goods flowed back to Pharaoh's
These struggles are reflected in the survey area by several
substantial Qasr (fortresses) and Diffi (fortified mansions).
Qasr Khandaq was the oldest, going back to Christian times.
Qasr Wad Nemeri was the largest, accompanied by over forty
Qubbas, domed funerary monuments to important individuals
and holy men or sheikhs. The fortress at el-Kab was perhaps
connected to the famous Darb al-Arba'in (Forty Days Road),
a key route funneling camels, slaves, and valuable trade goods