Sudan Participates in 15th International Conference for Nubian Studies at the University of Warsaw

Haffiya Abdalla

The International Conference for Nubian Studies (ICNS) August 29th_4th September August) at the University of Warsaw. Every four years the ICNS brings together archaeologists, epigraphists, historians, and other scholars working on the ancient and modern history of Sudan and Nubia.

A delegation from the Sudanese National Authority for Antiquities and Museums, represented by Acting Director General, Dr. Ghalia Jar Al-Nabi, the Secretary of the Sound and Restoration Secretariat, Ejlal Muhammad Othman, and the Secretary of the Archaeological Excavation Secretariat, Abdel Hai Abdel-Sawy.

The conference witnessed the presentation of more than fifty scientific papers on Sudanese antiquities, excavations and research work on archaeological sites, and foreign and local missions operating in Sudan, presented by several Sudanese universities represented by the University of Bahri, Khartoum, Niles, Shendi, Global Africa, Dongola, and others presented From the Republican Palace Museum.

This year, the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW) has the pleasure of hosting the 15th ICNS.

The ICNS is the largest scientific event in Nubian Studies hosted by various research institutions, with the 2018 conference organized in the Louvre Museum, Paris. It is the third time it is held in Warsaw. Fifty years ago, in 1972, the second edition of the conference took place at the National Museum of Warsaw. On that occasion, the International Society for Nubian Studies was founded, with Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski as its first president.

60 years ago, Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski and the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in Cairo led the first Polish excavations in Sudan at the now-flooded site of Faras famous for the wall paintings from the Christian cathedral discovered there. Since then, Nubian Studies became one of the fortes of Polish archaeology abroad.

Polish scholars have researched and documented numerous sites in cooperation with the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM).

They have also participated in large-scale rescue operations connected to the construction of dams on the Nile. In 2006, the 11th ICNS took place at the University of Warsaw drawing almost 200 scholars from all over the world. A Research Centre was established in Sudan in 2018 by the University of Warsaw to facilitate Polish archaeological research in that country.

– “We are very happy that this summer we will also be able to meet many distinguished colleagues and fledgling scholars in Nubian Studies in person after the disturbances in academic life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic” – says Assoc. Prof. Artur Obłuski, the current President of the International Society of Nubian Studies and director of the PCMA UW.

Participants have presented over 200 papers organized in four parallel sessions taking place over five conference days. Workshops or round tables will further the exchange of knowledge and ideas on specialist subjects, while keynote lectures at the end of each day will highlight some of the most relevant research questions. – “We hope that the 15th ICNS will turn out to be a celebration of Nubian Studies and will play its role in the advancement of this field” – says Obłuski.

The conference is accompanied by two exhibitions. One commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the International Society for Nubian Studies: Warsaw 1972–2022 (in the Main Hall of the University of Warsaw Old Library). The other, “From Faras to Soba. To the rescue of Sudan’s archaeological heritage” is an open-air poster exhibition in Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, in front of the University of Warsaw Museum.

It showcases the history and results of 60 years of work by Polish archaeologists and conservators in Sudan.

A richly illustrated, 500-page album of the same title has been released online in open access.

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