17 October 2017
Lost Kingdoms of Africa: Nubia Film Review
Gus Casely-Hayford, an art historian, travels through Africa searching for the answer to the question, what happened to the ancient kingdom of Nubia. He begins his journey in the far north of Sudan. Nubia is the traditional name for the northern part of Sudan, near the Egyptian border. Nubia was not defeated by their enemies, but was, instead, by their own environment. Casely-Hayford takes a helicopter to some of the ancient ruins of Nubia with a guide, Mahmood, an archaeologist. They follow the Nile north and go out to the Desert where it’s more than 120°F, yet people still live and work there. There is 15,000 miles of sand, but there’s scarcely an oasis.
They drive across the sand to a place where “the story began”. Mahmood takes Casely-Hayford to a rock gong. The gong itself is no less 5,000 years BC. The sound that it makes is the natural result of the consistency of the rock. It has been worn smooth by people playing it thousands of years ago. This shows that Nubians have been around long before the ancient Egyptians and Romans. Throughout the last few years, archaeologists have found hundreds of these scattered throughout the Desert. They believe that the people used these as a way to communicate across the valley. That this is the beginning of the Nubian culture.
Close to the rock gongs are cave drawings of cattle that were drawn between 5,000 or 6,000 BC. That site was only discovered a few months back, Casely-Hayford is only the second after the mission who discovered it to see it. The rock art is the oldest form of pictorial representation known. Research shows that the drawings are most likely what life was like for them every day. Instead, these Nubian carvings focus mainly on a subject that was held greatly important to them, cattle.
The Nubian Desert was not a desert 6 or 7,000 BC. About 7,000 years ago, most of the Sahara was lush and green. Once, there were rivers that flowed into the Nile. Based on the rock drawings, there used to be lions, elephants and giraffes, the current wild-life of Sub-Saharan Africa. It took thousands of years for the Desert to dry up completely. After a while, they were believed to move to Kerma. Kerma sits on the Nile, less than 200 miles from the Egyptian border. It was once known to be the capital of the kingdom of Kush and the heart of the kingdom of Nubia. Over the last few decades, archaeologists have discovered the remains of the great city about 2,000 BC. In the heart of Kerma is a mud-bricked structure called a Deffufa. It is the oldest and biggest mud-bricked structure in Africa. There are no rooms inside. It’s just a solid block of masonry. It is believed to have something to do with rituals. The temple at the top of the Deffufa was considered to be the main focus. People would come from miles around to perform ceremonies and rituals. All of the economic resources helped support the...