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Dam Water Threatens Sudan's Historical Artifacts

Posted by TANN, 8:00 PM. Source: Hurriyet Daily News [July 12, 2012]

The Sudanese Antiquities Ministry is appealing to the international archaeological community to help salvage Sudan's rich archaeological heritage, which is at risk due to a series of dams, according to British-based The Art Newspaper.


The Art Newspaper reported, Sudanese Antiquities Ministry appeals to the international archaeological community to help salvage Sudan's rich archaeological heritage [Credit: Hurriyet]

"The proposed dams will flood various regions along the Nile within three to six years. International experts met representatives from the ministry and the Dams Implementation Unit at the British Museum in London in May to share information and lay the foundation for a large-scale rescue campaign reminiscent of the one mounted more than a decade ago when the Merowe Dam project [in northern Sudan] was under way," the newspaper reported.

One of the meeting's key outcomes was learning how much time archaeologists have to work before the flooding begins, said the Art Newspaper, adding that it appears scholars have around three years until flood waters from the Upper Atbara dam are released in the country's north, and around six years in the case of the Kajbar and Shereiq dams, also in the north.

"These proposed dams will severely damage our cultural heritage," said Abdelrahman Ali, the director-general of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) who opened the meeting with a plea for assistance in salvaging his country's heritage.

Muawia Mohammed Salih from the Dams Implementation Unit said the dams were part of the government's plans to "exploit its vast and diverse resources to achieve human welfare by sustainable development" and that it was necessary to "safeguard Sudan's remaining water share allotted in the 1959 Nile Water Agreement."

The vast number of archaeological sites within Sudan is a testament to the country's long and rich history. A survey of the Upper Atbara area by El-Hassan Ahmed Mohammed from the NCAM has recorded at least 40 sites, including prehistoric settlements and cemeteries, 30 of which are in the flood zone.

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