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Meroe, Republic of the Sudan – Preparatory Assistance for the nomination of ‘The Island of Meroe’

The sites of Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat es-Sufra, located in the Nile province of Sudan were the heartland of the Kush Kingdom from the 8th Century B.C to the 4th Century AD. Otherwise known as ‘The Island of Meroe’ because of its position at the confluence of Blue Nile, the White Nile and the Atbara River, Meroe, the principle Urban Centre of the rulers of the Meroitic civilization provides stunning examples of urban ruins, burial chambers and pyramids. The pyramidal field is also known as the most extensive in the world.

There are many unsolved and unexplored aspects to the site including hieroglyphics which are as yet indecipherable, ancient water management systems and reservoirs (hafirs) and extensive evidence of early industrial activity such as iron working. In addition, there is evidence of the fusion of artistic and architectural influences from Greco-roman as well as Egyptian and African styles.

The potential serial nomination has been proposed through Sudan’s tentative list. The Spanish Funds-in-trust have contributed funding in the form of Preparatory Assistance for the realization of a Management Plan and nomination dossier for the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List. The Sudanese ‘National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums’ (NCAM) is piloting the project in collaboration with an expert of the British Museum, a team of experts of Tyne and Wear Museums Archaeology Department and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.