NUBIA - "Its glory and its people"
To the ancient Mediterranean world, the land south of Egypt was a territory of mystery and legend. Wealth and exotic products came from there. It was the home of the Ethiopians, whom Homer called blameless and stories about its great achievements endured to tantalize the modern world. This land, which now includes Nubia, is a land of enormous distances, and its exploration was long impeded by problems of transport and political unrest. In the last hundred years, Nubia has slowly yielded its secrets, its vanished peoples, abandoned cities and lost kingdoms brought to light by the excavator and copyist of inscriptions. This exhibit is a selection of objects recovered over twenty years ago by the Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition in the effort to rescue archaeology from the rising water behind the Aswan Dam.
The land of Nubia is a desert divided by the river Nile. For want of water and rich soil, most of Nubia has never been able to support a large population for long periods. However, some of Africa's greatest civilizations emerged here, centers of achievement whose existence was based on industry and trade. Because they did not write their own languages until very late in ancient times, we know these centers and their people largely through their archaeology and what the Egyptians and Greeks said about them.