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Hillat El-Arab

The joint Sudanese-Italian expedition in the Napatan Region, Sudan

Irene Vincentelli with contributions byAbdel Rahman, Ali Mohamed, Silvia Bonamore,Alessandro Canci, Marco Casali, Louis Chaix,Elena A. A. Garcea, Alessandro Roccati, Marco Ferretti,Mauro Rottoli, Michela Cottini, Salah Mohamed Ahmed
Sudan Archaeological Research Society
Available soon


The modern village of Hillat el-Arab is located some 3km south of the Jebel Barkal, at the foot of which lies the sacred area of ancient Napata, the capital of the independent state of Kush in the Sudan (8-7th century BC). The village, on the west bank of the Nile, stretches towards the desert and takes its name, “the hill of the nomads”, from a large house once used as a caravanserai. The necropolis of Hillat el-Arab was discovered by chance in 1988. The sudden and unexpected appearance of a chasm inside one of the village houses, and the timely arrival of a team of archaeologists revealed the existence of a large tomb dug into the rock. The excavation of a second tomb nearby, containing a wealth of ceramic material, suggested that this might be a necropolis. The two tombs were dated to the beginning of that obscure period of Nubian history coinciding with the end of Egyptian colonization and the foundation of the independent Kingdom of Kush with its capital at Napata. This volume details the excavations at the Hillat el-Arab necropolis. Its highly interesting finds are considered as a major contribution towards a better understanding of the origins of the Kushite State.