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Only a small portion of the structure, possibly an ancient palace, has been excavated so far (part of it can be seen in the photo's bottom foreground) in central Sudan beneath another ancient palace. The structure is the oldest building ever found in the ancient city of Meroë.
Hidden beneath an ancient palace in what is now central Sudan, archaeologists have discovered the oldest building in the city of Meroë, a structure that also may have housed royalty. The capital of a vast empire that flourished around 2,000 years ago, Meroë was centered on the Nile River.
The Prehistory of Egypt spans the period of earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in ca. 3100 BC, starting with King Menes/Narmer The Predynastic Period is traditionally equivalent to the Neolithic period, beginning ca. 6000 BC and including the Protodynastic Period (Naqada III).
Meroe seems to have been a flourishing town at least as early as the eighth century BC. It was situated at the junction of several main river and caravan routes, connecting central Africa, via the Blue and White Niles, with Egypt, and the Upper Nile region itself with Kordofan, the Red Sea and the Ethiopian highlands. Since it lay within the rainbelt, the land about it was seasonally more productive than the region of Napata, and it was thus a somewhat more pleasant place to live. By the third century BC it was only one of several large towns that had arisen in the same region. Bounded to the west by the Nile, the north by the River Atbara and to the south by the Blue Nile, this area, now known as the Butana, was the heartland of the later Ku#e kingdom, and came to be known in classical literature as "the Island of Meroe." Our historical knowledge of Meroitic history is scant. When the kings ceased writing in Egyptian and began writing in their own Meroitic language, we suddenly cease being able to understand their official inscriptions. Meroitic, unfortunately, has not yet been deciphered; the key has never yet been found. All our knowledge of Meroitic history is thus based on the few surviving Greek and Roman reports, and on data recovered archaeologically. The rulers of the Meroitic Period were contemporaries with the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Romans. In the third century BC, they maintained friendly relations with the Ptolemies, since the kings of the two neighboring Nile states collaborated in renovating the temples of Lower Nubia, sacred to both Kush and Egypt. Agents of the Ptolemies also traveled up the Nile as explorers and emissaries, some perhaps traveling to Meroe to haggle with the Ku#e ruler over the price of war elephants which they sought to purchase for the armies of Egypt. The Roman historian Pliny preserves the names of several Greeks who actually resided at Meroe.
I simply love the Meroitic pyramids; they look as if they were built yesterday.