African Archaeological Review

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 73–90 | Cite as

The Saharan divide in the Nile Valley: the evidence from Qasr Ibrim

  • John Alexander
Article

Abstract

Recent research at Qasr Ibrim in Egyptian Nubia shows that, during the last 3000 years, this hill-top site commanding a long stretch of the Nile in the First Cataract region was usually controlled by polities centered further to the south — Napatan, Meroitic and Christian. Even when controlled by northerners — Greek, Roman or Turkish — is was still a frontier post. It is suggested that this evidence, showing that the frontier between the states dominating the Lower and Middle Nile was located as far north as the First Cataract, helps explain the lack of Mediterranean influence in the Upper Nile basin and, beyond, in sub-Saharan Africa. The ‘Nubian Corridor’ was, in fact, blocked so far north that it is best described as a cul de sac.

Résumé

Les recherches menées à Qasr Ibrim dans la Nubie égyptienne ces dernières années montrent que ce site, qui domine du sommet d'une colline une partie assez grande du Nil dans la région de la première cataracte, a été controlé pendant les trois derniers millénaires par une série de royaumes dont les centres se situaient plus au sud — royaumes de Napata et Meröe, royaume chrétien. Qasr Ibrim restait un poste frontière même quand il passait sous contrôle des peuples du nord — grecques, romains ou turques. Ces données, qui montrent que la frontière entre les royaumes qui dominaient le bas Nil et ceux qui dominaient le moyen Nil se trouvaient très au nord jusqu'à la première cataracte, peuvent nous aider à comprendre l'absence d'influences méditerranéennes dans le bassin de l'haut Nil et au délà, dans l'Afrique au sud du Sahara. A vrai dire, le ‘coloir nubien’ était barré autant au nord qu'il mérite d'être considéré plutôt comme une impasse.

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Copyright information

© Cambridge University Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Alexander

There are no affiliations available

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