|19° 38′ 28″ north, 30° 25′ 02″ east
Geolocation on the map: Sudan
Doukki Gel , which means in a Nubian dialect the “red hill”, is an important archaeological site in Sudan which shelters the ruins of two ancient cities of ancient Nubia : An Egyptian city founded by the pharaohs of the XVIIIth dynasty which covers a contemporary city of that of Kerma , neighbor, just 700 meters away.
- The Egyptian city of Pnubs, founded by the pharaohs of the 18th dynasty , was occupied from 1450 BCE to 400 BCE. The Egyptian city that rose near ancient Kerma from the New Kingdom with an enormous fortress whose presence here reflects the imperative need for Egyptian power to impose itself and drain all the wealth that he demanded. Seat of a cult to the god Amon , it remained an important city throughout the history of the Kingdom of Kush , which regained its independence following the fall of the XXth Dynasty .. This city covers, probably voluntarily, another, erased, that archaeologists have brought back to life.
- This city which was covered by the Egyptian city was contemporary with ancient Kerma. It turns out to have a singular architecture, whose circular pattern is declined in multiple variants. This city is contemporary with the city of Kerma, capital of the eponymous kingdom, which develops and controls from the third millennium BC all of Lower Nubia to the south of Egypt and will long represent a threat to the pharaonic power, due to in particular the proximity of the gold deposits of the eastern desert (or Arabian desert). The Kerma site turned out to be close to another site to which the toponym “Doukki Gel” was attributed by archaeologists. This last site preserves the trace of buildings of circular aspect which intrigue the discoverers considerably.
Doukki Gel: an exceptional siteEdit
Seven hundred meters from the Kerma site, archaeologists, led by Sudanese specialist archaeologist Charles Bonnet , discovered the Doukki Gel site. These excavations have revealed the presence of palatial buildings and sanctuaries which have oval or circular plans. This seems to indicate that the primitive site displayed all its grandeur, its richness and its sacred character. This set is protected by a very powerful system of fortifications [ 1 ] . These buildings are dated around 1800 BCE [ 2 ] , that is to say well before the Egyptian occupation of the kingdom of Kerma. They could therefore have been built immediately after the first war waged against the Nubians by Sesostris I, of the XIIth Dynasty . This pharaoh had conquered as far as the area of the second cataract. Under Amenemhat II the Kushites came to pay tribute to this sovereign, but this probably did not last long. New preparations for a military campaign were undoubtedly initiated by Sesostris III ‘s father , Sesostris II . This installation would perhaps be contemporary with a league that rose up against the pharaohs at that time, just before the expeditions of Sesostris III (r. 1872-1854). His army descended to Semna, well beyond the second cataract, which will mark the border by the construction of 7 fortresses [ 3 ].
As this type of circular shape has no relation to either Egyptian architecture or Nubian architecture of Kerma, it could be one of those peoples who coalesced with Kerma to fight for Egyptian hegemony. , and come from elsewhere, from neighboring Africa [ 4 ] .
Kerma royal capital of KushEdit
Pnubs holy city of AmunEdit
The city that extends all around then lives to the rhythm of the Egyptian reigns of the XVIII th dynasty . The temple itself thus suffered the vagaries of Egyptian history, enlarged and embellished by the Thutmosids, reworked and transformed into a temple of the disc by Akhenaten , then again consecrated to the god Amun under the Ramessides.
With the end of the New Empire, the region freed itself from Pharaonic tutelage. First ruled by the royal son of Kush , it finds itself at the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period under the control of several local, strongly Egyptianized principalities.
The revival comes, this time, from Napata where a powerful monarchy has been established. Claiming to be the great god Amon , it absorbs into its orbit all the principalities which divide the territory. The XXV th dynasty will come out of it and Doukki Gel will become an important worship center of this new kingdom, which reigns for half a century over the entire Sudanese and Egyptian Nile valley.
Pnoubs is then part of a set of holy cities that the monarchs of Kush visit on the occasion of their coronation. The temple, enlarged and embellished, is adorned with colossi bearing the effigy of the various sovereigns who covet the throne of Horus .
This empire will end in the second half of the 7th century with the conquest of Egypt by the Assyrians . The kingdom which retains Napata as its capital then regains its original borders and, around -591, the Saite Pharaoh Psammetichus II SENDS a military expedition, reducing their ambitions in Egypt to nothing . The meeting of the two armies takes place near Pnoubs and the Nubian troops suffer a crushing defeat [ 5 ] .
On this occasion, Pnubs is taken and the royal statues are stripped of their ornaments, beheaded and then overthrown and broken.
Egyptian troops withdraw, leaving behind a devastated country. The kings of Napata then take back the land conquered shortly after and restore the sacked cities. Pnoubs regains its role as a holy city throughout the Meroitic period that will follow and its rebuilt temple is, once again, enlarged.
An Ankh in raw gold was stolen by looters during the 1910 American mission on this site, it is an incomparable treasure of which no one has any representations, but which we know is no longer circulating on the illegal gold or antiquities market since at least 1914. [ref. necessary]
See as wellEdit
Notes and referencesEdit
- Charles Bonnet and Dominique Valbelle , The Egyptian temples of Panébès: “the jujube tree” at Doukki Gel-Soudan , Paris: Editions Khéops,, 328 p. , 30cm ( ISBN 978-2-916142-12-8 )
- Archaeology: the astonishing discoveries of Charles Bonnet in Sudan [ archive ]
, in Guest: Africa evening (, 5 minutes) Radio France Internationale. Consulted the.
- Pierre Tallet et al., “ Sesostris III: Legendary Pharaoh ”, File of archeology – special issue , no 27 “Sesostris III”,, p. 1-84 ( ISSN ).
- UMR 8167, “ Field mission: Kerma and Doukki-Gel ” [ archive ] , on Orient & Méditerranée UMR 8167 (consulted on) . Note. Many links: videos, audio interviews and mentions in the press., undated update (v. 2017)
- Dominique Valbelle, “ The Thutmosid temples of Pnoubs (Doukki Gel). The Contribution of Epigraphy and Iconography ” [ archive ] , at Research Gate , (consulted the) .
- Pascale Zimmermann, “ An ancient city tracked down in Nubia ”, la Tribune de Genève , ( read online [ archive ] , accessed).