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Sudan: Amara West

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Amara West | Sudan | Africa

[Visited: March 2014]

We had not heard about it before we arrived in Abri, but as soon as the owner of the new guesthouse on the banks of the River Nile mentions Amara West, we are attracted to the idea of visiting it. For years, archeologists and others have been working to uncover the historic site of Amara on the west bank of the Nile, and work is still in progress. What is more, the team is still there, taking advantage of the relatively low temperatures. They have set up camp on the island between Abri and the west side, so we do not meet them before we set foot on the other side of the mighty river.

Picture of Amara West (Sudan): The outlines of houses can clearly be seen in the sand of Amara West

Wind is blowing sand in our face when we reach the ruins, where we see small teams of people working the ancient settlement and temple of Amara. Some are carrying buckets with recent finds uphill, where others pour the contents into a sieve. Sand and dust is blowing away from it. We clearly stand out in the crowd, and are soon approached by the supervisor, who offers us an impromptu tour of the site. He explains the history of Amara, he tells us we are walking mostly on top of what was once the settlement, and he tells us about the work in progress. Part of the work is to learn more about the life of the Nubians more than 3000 years ago, which is why sand is being searched for even the smallest piece of evidence

Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Hieroglyphs carved in a slab of stone in a building of Amara West

After the tour, we are free to walk around the site. Most of Amara West is still hidden in the sand, we can see the outline of the buildings, and thanks to the explanation we just had, we know we are walking on top of the buildings that are several metres below us. The entrance gate with the hieroglyphs on its white blocks of stone is impressive, perhaps especially because we need to kneel down to see the top of the gate which is still mostly covered by sand. Now that we have more time, we discover details of the ruins. Hieroglyphs on a slab of stone, small items that have been labelled to be researched later on, archeologists working with a brush to remove sand and have a better view of the ancient walls. We have an interesting talk with a guy from the UK who is looking forward to returning home in a few weeks, when the site will be abandoned again for most of the year, and the sand will have a chance to regain terrain on the ruins. Then, suddenly, the westerners and the Sudanese come together to have lunch, and the latter invite us over for a tasty meal mixed with sand.

Picture of Amara West (Sudan): View of the top of the gate to Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Worker walking an ancient wall of Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Distant view of the ancient settlement
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Searching for items that can tell us more about the civilization and settlement of Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Houses of Amara West which have been excavated
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Working on the ruins of Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Outlines of houses can be seen among the sand of the desert
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Walls of houses in the ancient settlement of Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): There are many small finds around the settlement of Amara West which will be examined elsewhere
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): The desert of Amara West is littered with remains of the old settlement
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): The outlines of buildings of Amara West can clearly be seen
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): One of the people at work at the excavations of Amara West
Picture of Amara West (Sudan): Time for a break: the Sudanese working at the site having lunch

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