A city that resurrects from underneath the sands to show landmarks of an oldest Nubian Civilization in North Sudan

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)


KHARTOUM, Sudan (Sudanow)- The city of Karma, of the Sudan’s Northern State, which lies about 550 km north of the capital Khartoum has risen up from under the sands to reveal features of one of the oldest Nubian civilizations in north Sudan. It is the Karma, the archeological city and capital of the firs kingdom in the Sudan.

Archeological operations by a Swiss mission led by Professor Charles Ponniere in Karma region resulted in repairs of the landmarks of the city that was the capital of Karma Kingdom for more than 1000 years since 24000 BC.

Most of the archeological sites the Swiss archeologist has been working on for 43 years are situated in this region. Western Daifufah, Easstern Daifufah and Dekky Gil are the most important of these sites

Karma city which is 600X700 meters in area was covered by sands except the top of what is today known as the Daifufah which is a building that is 18 meters high

The successive archeological operations conducted by the Swiss mission over 43 years discovered landmarks of a city, which, according to Shahinda Omar Ahmed, a member of the Swiss mission, “was designed in an urban shape, not a city of peasants or pastoralists, but as an administrative center for running the affairs of a vast Kingdom and contained residences of the kings and dignitaries. In the center of the city there is a religious square known as the Daifufah which in the Nubian language means the man-made 18-meter high building that was built in successive periods. In the beginning it was a group of cottages that later on developed into a huge temple.




Visitors could climb the religious square by an outside staircase, rather than an internal staircase as the case with the Egyptian temples. Researchers regard this as a specialty of the Nubian architecture at that time.

The staircase leads to a main room with white marble columns. This room is the peak of the building from which one could have a full vision of the area. “This roof included another temple where a mass, likely for worshiping the sun, was conducted,” Shahinda said


Opposite the religious square was the royal palace which was not only a residence for the King but contained numerous workshops of pottery, chiseling stones, canning and placing tags before exportation. The royal palace also contains a circular reception hall that resembled what was customary in the south African regions but had no resemblance in the continent’s northern regions.

The region of Dokey Gil, or the red plateau in the Nubian language, is of the second importance in Karma region. The name derived from the remains of the red pottery which was used for baking loaves served during the religious mass. After the baking process, the pottery was broken an piled to form a red plateau


According to Shahinda, the Dokey Gil site was of specific importance to the Egyptian civilization because all pharaohs of the 18th dynasty during the period 1480-1200 BC, like Tutmozid, Aminogis, Ikhnaton and Queen Hatshepsut , were represented in this site.

It is certain that the discovered urban landmarks in Karma city and the conclusions reached by the Swiss mission would offer solutions to scientific questions which were existing until recently about the region’s civilization which was connected with the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization, on the one hand, and the southern civilizations in central Africa, on the other


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