In a desert in eastern Sudan, along the banks of the Nile River, lies a collection of nearly 200 ancient pyramids—many of them tombs of the kings and queens of the Meroitic Kingdom which ruled the area for more than 900 years. The Meroë pyramids, smaller than their Egyptian cousins, are considered Nubian pyramids, with narrow bases and steep angles on the sides, built between 2,700 and 2,300 years ago, with decorative elements from the cultures of Pharaonic Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

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Opinions differ on whether this reflects the immense popularity of Anubis in Meroitic religion, as attested particularly on offering-tables; such as canid burials is a tricky matter. It is often too readily assumed that indivdual animals were, in the Predynastic, hypostases of particularly deities.
—  The Jackal Deities, DuQuesne

Happy Star Wars Day! We think we might have found Yoda on display in our Egypt Galleries…

Or, more likely, this is the cow-headed goddess Hathor. One of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt, Hathor was a goddess of joy, love, and motherhood. Divine figures are a common subject on Meroitic painted pottery. Independent of Egypt, the Meroitic kingdom controlled a vast region. The rulers of Meroe maintained many pharaonic traditions including building pyramids as their tombs.

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The Temple of the Lion God Apedemak at Naga (to the east of the 6th cataract of the Nile), Meroë:
on the Pylon are represented King NatakAmani (on the left, holding a lance) and Kandake/Queen Amanitore (on the right, holding a blade) smiting and killing captured rebels against Maat (the enemies of the Gods); above the King is represented Horus in His form of Falcon, and above the Queen there is Nekhbet in Her form of Vulture.
On the Entrance-Gate is represented the Winged Solar Orb (Horus of Behdet, represented three times), and on the top of it there is a row of Uraei.
King NatakAmani and Kandake/Queen Amanitore reigned over the Kingdom of Kush during the mid/late 1st century CE (Meroitic Period).

(from Amentet Neferet, facebook)

Processed and uploaded the photos my husband took for me at the MFA in Boston. I’m going to have to go myself at some point as he didn’t have time to do the Nubian gallery, where there are lots and lots of Meroitic offering tables featuring Anubis. 

Anyways, this is my photo pick from the bunch: Anubis being “anointed.” In a lot of anointing scenes, it’s a very delicate action, where the little finger is used to apply the oil. Sobekmose is just using a bucket to do it. No half measures here.

Burial chamber walls of Sobekmose (18th Dyn), Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Now a Weed, Once a Prehistoric Cavity Fighter

Cyperus rotundus, commonly known as purple nutsedge or nutgrass, is considered one of the world’s worst invasive weeds. But new research suggests that prehistoric humans in what is now central Sudan may have gotten an unusual benefit from it.

Stephen Buckley, an archaeological chemist from the University of York in England, analyzed dental calculus — a form of hardened plaque — in fossilized teeth from people who lived thousands of years ago, in the pre-Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Meroitic periods.

In a paper published in the journal PLOS One, Dr. Buckley and his colleagues report that the teeth had remarkably few cavities and high levels of the chemical compounds found in purple nutsedge, suggesting that the plant may have protected against tooth decay. Read more.


Funerary ba statue of a winged male representing a prince or governor of Akin.


Provenience: Egypt, Nubia, Karanog

.Date Made: 100BC-300AD

Penn Museum

Composite limestone statuette consisting of a statue of a female serpent deity in front and a stela in back. The goddess has the body of a cobra and a human head. She wears a tall plumed headdress with horned sun disk. On the sides of the statue are representations in sunk relief of the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet and a text referring to Psammetichus I. Stela at back depicts a king with the god Horus, but is unfinished.


Provenience: Egypt

Thebes (uncertain) (Egypt)

Buto (uncertain)

Period: Twenty-Sixth Dynasty

Date Made: 664BC-610BC

Penn Museum