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Nubia (September / October 2003)

Teacher Guide prepared by: Lisa Greenberg.
The civilizations of Nubia rose and fell, disappearing under the desert sands; trade was a crucial factor in the growth of the Nubian civilization; the Pharaohs of Egypt seized on Nubia for its trade routes to Africa. Keep these concepts in mind as you explore this rich civilization with students.

Ongoing Projects for Bulletin Boards:
Encourage questions and curiosity in the classroom. As students read the issue on Nubia, have them jot questions they have on slips of paper or index cards. Put the questions on a large question mark on a bulletin board and challenge students to research the answers or find them in the magazine. Any questions that classmates can't answer can be sent to the real Dr. Dig (info on page 3).

Enlarge the map on the Table of Contents page and post on a bulletin board. Have students write and post "Fast Facts," single sentence pieces of information, about each site.
Challenge Project:
Have a pair or small group of students match and compare the map of ancient Nubia to a present-day map of Northern Africa, including Sudan and Egypt. Have the urban sites stayed the same or moved? Why or why not?
"Camels to Khartoum"
Questions for Discussion:
p. 6 James Henry Breasted thought it was important to use primary sources to write history. Do you agree? Why or why not?

p.7 What dangers and obstacles did the Breasted expedition face in 1905? (sandstorms; insects such as gnats, scorpions, and tarantulas; rats; very high temperatures)

p.7 What information did Breasted and his crew collect? (measurements of the temple walls; photographs of all inscriptions)

p.8 What is the difference between the words "hieroglyphic" and "epigraphic"? (hieroglyphic describes the Egyptian way of writing in pictures or hieroglyphs; epigraphic means relating to engraved inscriptions)

p.8 Why are the Breasted photographs so important to the study of ancient Nubia? (Lower Nubia is difficult to visit and many of the sites he studied and photographed have been destroyed or moved.)
Trace the development of photography from its origins to the digital camera. Create a story board, timeline, or cartoon to show what you have learned.
Creative Writing:
Imagine that you are the young Charles Breasted, just 8 years old, on an expedition to Nubia at the turn of the century. Write his diary entries or a letter home to his best friend.


Imagine that you are Charles Brestead and notice a strange thing, possibly a mystery, in your travels. Create and solve a mystery or write an adventure story from Charles' point of view. You might want to read Kathleen Karr's book Bone Dry to get some ideas.
"Big is Better?"
How long did Kerma last as a town? (from 2450 BCC to 1520 BC, almost a thousand years)

What do the two grave pictures, of the cows and of the person, tell you about the burial practices in Kerma? (cattle were important to the people, people were buried with their belongings and sometimes even other people)

What conclusions about the society does the archeologist Dr. Bonnet draw from the photographs and his research? (that cattle breeding played an important role in Kerma, that cattle were symbolic of family wealth, that individuals were buried with both food and sacrificed animals and people)

How are the structures of Kerma similar to the Egyptian pyramids? (they are large and visible, even in a state of decay; they seem to have a religious purpose)

How did Kerma's geographical situation contribute to its importance? (it was at a junction that connected Egypt to the Red Sea and Central Africa, thus well situated for trade)

Who conquered Kerma and when? (Thutmose I around 1520 BC)
Find out more about George Reisner, the first excavator of Kerma, and his work. Work with a friend to create a "radio interview" to present to the class about this archeologist and his work.
"At Home In Kawa" and "Meet Derek Welsby"
Contrast and Compare:
Think about the questions that Derek Welsby poses for his archeological team (bottom, p. 13) and how they find the answers to the questions. How was the life of the people of Kawa different from the life of the people of Kerma? How is it different from yours?

Why does Derek Welsby think the excavations in Nubia are important? (point of contact between Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa; archeological sites are threatened by modern development; archeological information may help to explain population, climate, and desertification issues)
"Kush Gets Crushed"
Why did Egypt take over the Kingdom of Nubia? (Egypt wanted Nubia's trade routes)

When did Egypt become the richest, strongest nation on earth? (around 1500 BC when it overthrew the Kingdom of Nubia)

What was the Egyptian name for Nubia? (Kush)

How did the Egyptian pharaohs govern Kush? (through a viceroy called the "King's son of Kush")

Why were Egyptians concerned about living in the "wild land" of Kush? (Kush was so far from Egypt that it placed the settlers outside the protection of the Egyptian gods)

How did the Pharaohs resolve the problem of the Egyptians' fear? (they built temples in Kush at Abu Simbel and Soleb, thus extending the protection of the Egyptian gods to the foreign land)

How are the original Kush religious beliefs and those of ancient Egypt similar? (strong belief in afterlife, possible worship of sun as living ancestor of the king)

How did the Egyptians introduce their gods to the Nubians? (they portrayed Amun with a ram's head which was probably the original form of the Nubian god)

What is Gebel Barkal? (Gebel Barkel, called "Pure Mountain" by the Egyptians, is an isolated table mountain marked by a huge natural stone column resembling a spitting cobra)

Why was Gebel Barkal important in Nubian and Egyptian history? (The Egyptians established Gebel Barkal as the spot where Amun granted kingship to the first Kings; later the Napatan Nubian chiefs claimed their right to rule from Amun at Gebel Barkal and become so strong that they ruled Egypt during the 25th Dynasty)
"Surprises at Musawwarat"
Examine the photographs in this article. Look carefully at how decorated both the relief of the Nubian god Arensnuphis and the figures of different animals are. Draw or model a person or animal in the Nubian style.
Paired Exploration:
Write five things that you find surprising about Musawwarat. Challenge a friend or partner to try to explain two or three of the surprises!
"Fabled Meroe" and "The Palaces of Meroe"
What tools and methods are being used by archeologists to unlock Meroe's secrets? (historical descriptions, recording all surface remains before they are eroded, sifting through the rubbish heaps, using a magnetometer to find walls and tree pits, visualizing the contemporary scene from its remains)

Why is it important for archeologists to understand Meroe's history and development?
"Of Bones and People"
Applying Information:
Create a daily menu for the ancient residents of Meroe from the information in the article and contrast it with a daily menu for its present-day inhabitants.
"Miracle in the Desert"
Why do you think the Christian sites of Nubia have not been thoroughly excavated?

Why do you think the Nubian inscriptions are written in so many different languages?

Examine the photograph on page 29. What does this picture tell you about the Nubians of the Byzantine Empire?
"Art-i-facts" and "Dig This"
Using Your Imagination:
Examine the photographs and read the information on these pages. Then use visual arts and / or language to share an imagined scene or event in ancient Nubia. You can create a sculpture, record an interview, write and perform a skit, design a costume, build a model, make a diorama, or write a poem or song. Make Nubia come alive for your classmates!

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