Bloomsbury Summer School (text)

Bloomsbury Summer School

Ibis (mobile-only branding graphic)

Fascinated by ancient civilisations?

We offer anyone with any level of knowledge, inspiring short courses on ancient Egypt and other areas of the ancient world.

BSS in Egypt 2011

29th December 2011

Abu: Gateway to Nubia

Course Director: Dr Robert Morkot

11 – 18 December 2011

An exciting and innovative course taught in Egypt with daily visits to fascinating ancient sites This course is directed by Robert Morkot, expert on Nubia and author of The Black Pharaohs, Egypt's Nubian Rulers. This will be a unique opportunity to hear this distinguished Egyptologist give a week of lectures in Aswan. The Course Coordinator, accompanying the group throughout, will be Lucia Gahlin, BSS Deputy Director and Egyptologist.


Course Description

This course examined the complex interactions between Egypt and Nubia. From the prehistoric period onwards there was trade between the two regions, centred upon Abu (Elephantine); but there was also rivalry and conflict. By the Egyptian 12th Dynasty a new power was appearing south of the Third Cataract, the powerful Kingdom of Kerma. The rise of the Theban kingdom in the 17th Dynasty and its wars with the Hyksos rulers of the Nile Delta saw the expansion of Theban power into Nubia and the end of Kerma. During the following four-hundred years of the New Kingdom the Egyptian rulers built splendid temples such as Soleb and Abu Simbel, a legacy for future Nubian kings. After the end of the New Kingdom, Nubia again became a dominant power and this time conquered Egypt, ruling as the 25th Dynasty. Contemporary with the Ptolemaic and Roman periods was the Kingdom of Meroe, supplier of African luxuries to the Mediterranean world. Meroe gained control of Lower Nubia, and built many temples, also sending its envoys to the pilgrimage shrine of Isis at Philae. We considered the importance of Nubia to Egypt, and the influence of Egypt on Nubia, and the role of the border towns of Abu and Aswan to that relationship.



About the Course Director

Robert Morkot studied Ancient History and Egyptology at UCL and Meroitic at the Humboldt-University Berlin. He is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology in the University of Exeter. He has written extensively on Egypt and Nubia and is particularly well known for his work on the Kushite 25th Dynasty. Recent research has focussed on the artistic styles of the Libyan period. Amongst his books are: The Black Pharaohs, Egypt's Nubian Rulers (Rubicon Press, 2000), The Egyptians, an Introduction (Routledge, 2005) and The Penguin Atlas of Ancient Greece (1996).


Suggested Reading

Morkot, R.G. (2000) The Black Pharaohs, Egypt's Nubian Rulers. Rubicon Press.
O'Connor, D. (1993) Ancient Nubia, Egypt's Rival in Africa. Philadelphia
Welsby, D.A. (1996) The Kingdom of Kush: the Napatan and Meroitic Empires. British Museum Press.


Course programme

Day 1
Afternoon EgyptAir flight (14:00) from Heathrow to Aswan via Cairo. Arriving in Aswan at 23:10.
Check in to a 5* Pyramisa Isis Island Hotel for 7 nights.

Day 2
Visit Qubbet el-Hawa, Elephantine & Kitchener’s Island (lunch box in botanical gardens).
One lecture: Nubia: the land and its cultures
Welcome Dinner

Day 3
Visit Granite Quarries (unfinished obelisk & southern quarries), High Dam & Philae. Group lunch.
Two lectures: ‘There are no elephants in Dongola’: environment and economy
Messing up history: Archaeologists in Nubia

Day 4
Visit Sehel Island & St.Simeon’s Monastery. Group lunch.
Two lectures: Abu: centre and periphery
Harkhuf and the Land of Yam

Day 5
Visit New Kalabsha Island.
Two lectures: Egypt and Kush: from Egyptian expansion to the Kingdom of Kerma
Extending the Borders of Egypt: New Kingdom Nubia

Day 6
Visit Nubian Museum. Group lunch.
Two lectures: End of Empire and the Rise of Kush
‘The Ivory River’

Day 7
Abu Simbel by air.
One lecture: Meroe and Rome
Farewell dinner

Day 8
Morning EgyptAir flight (08:55) from Aswan to Heathrow via Cairo. Arriving into Heathrow at 16:50.


Back to BSS in Egypt archive