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A selection of recommended books on Sudan and Northeast Africa.

Travel Guide:
  • A very good guide for the Sudan is Streck, Bernhard: Sudan. Steinerne Gräber und lebendige Kulturen am Nil, Cologne 1982. The author is ethnologist, the particular strength of the book lies in a sensitive and colorful description of the lifestyle of the various peoples of Sudan. In addition, the most important archaeological sites are mentioned. Excellent illustrations and maps, good references, practical tips (only available in antiquarian).
  • Currently: Ismail, Ellen: Sudan. Menschen, Kultur, Aktuelle Tipps. Self-Publishing 2006. This small volume contains an introduction to the geography, history and society of Sudan, followed by a collection of recommendations for proper behavior in Sudan and a list of useful addresses and telephone numbers. To be ordered directly from the publisher.
  • The most up-to-date travel guide is Bradt Guide Sudan (2010). From the publisher’s description: Verlags: Much has changed in Sudan since the first edition of this guidebook was published in 2005. Following the peace agreement that ended the civil war of 1983-2005, southern Sudan is newly accessible to adventurous travellers. Bradt’s Sudan continues to be the only guidebook dedicated to this emerging destination. This new edition offers full coverage of the southern towns of Juba, Malakal, Wau and Rumbek, and provides information on recently demined driving routes. It also details the increasing hotel and restaurant options in Khartoum, and Sudan’s developing wildlife tourism industry.
  • As archaeological guides for the Butana and the area at the Gebel Barkal additionally: Hofmann, Inge, Herbert Tomandl, Michael Zach: Der antike Sudan heute. Vienna 1985. and: Hofmann, Inge, Herbert Tomandl: Unbekanntes Meroe, Beiträge zur Sudanforschung, Supplement 1. Vienna 1986.
Introduction to the culture and history
  • Hintze, Fritz, Ursula Hintze: Alte Kulturen im Sudan. Leipzig 1966. An easy-to-read introduction to the cultures of ancient Sudan with many, mostly black and white photos.
  • Hinkel, Friedrich W.: Exodus from Nubia. Berlin 1978. Well illustrated, emotionally very close account of the eviction of the Nubians and the implementation of the antiquities of Nubia during the rescue campaign of UNESCO. On behalf of the Sudanese Antiquities Service, the author led rescue work within the framework of the UNESCO campaign. From same author: Tempel ziehen um. Leipzig, 1966. The illustrated book deals specifically with the rescue work of the UNESCO campaign in Sudan’s Nubia.
  • Wenig, Steffen, Karola Zibelius-Chen: Die Kulturen Nubiens. Ein afrikanisches Vermächtnis. Dettelbach 2013 is a current introduction to the cultures of Nubia.
  • Willeitner, Joachim: Nubien – Antike Monumente zwischen Assuan und Khartum. Munich 1997 – is also a popular introduction to the history of Nubia with many beautiful pictures.
  • Scholz, Pjotr O.: Nubien, Geheimnisvolles Goldland der Ägypter, Stuttgart 2006. More recent description of the history of Nubia from the early days to the sinking Meroes.

High-level scientific reviews are also:

  • Adams, William Y .: Nubia, Corridor to Africa. Princeton 1977 – the classic for those interested in the culture of ancient Nubia. From 1959 to 1966 the author coordinated the archaeological work to save the Nubian antiquities on Sudanese territory. His profound knowledge of geography, history and culture of the region he spreads to nearly 800 pages in front of the reader. The book deals with Nubian cultures from prehistory to modern Sudan, with a focus on ancient cultures to Christianity.
  • Edwards, David: The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of the Sudan. London 2004 – younger, more concise, but not as detailed as the first work.
  • Welsby D.A.: The Kingdom of Kush. The napatan and meroitic empires. London 1996.

Focussed on individual epochs and topics:

  • Klees, Frank, Rudolph Kuper (Hrsg.): New Light on the Northeast African Past. Current Prehistoric Research. Africa praehistorica, 5th Cologne 1992.
  • Bonnet, Charles: Kerma, royaume de Nubie. L’antiquité africaine au temps des pharaons. Geneva 1990.
  • Welsby, Derek A.: The Kingdom of Kush. The Napatan and Meroitic Empires. London 1996.
  • Welsby, Derek A.: The Medieval Kingdoms of Nubia. Pagans, Christians and Muslims along the Middle Nile. London 2002.
  • Holt, Peter M., Martin W. Daly: The History of the Sudan from the Coming of Islam to the Present Day. London 1979. 
  • Wenig, Steffen: Various books to read

Very informative and richly illustrated exhibition calatlogs and illustrated books:

  • Wenig, Steffen (Hrsg.): Africa in Antiquity. 2 volumes. Brooklyn 1978.
  • Wildung, Dietrich (Hrsg.), Sudan – Antike Königreiche am Nil. Tübingen 1996.
  • Welsby, Derek A., Julie R. Anderson (Hrsg.): Sudan – Ancient Treasures. An Exhibition of Recent Discoveries from the Sudan National Museum. London 2004.
  • Bonnet, Charles: Pharaonen aus dem Schwarzen Afrika, Mainz 2006. Only a few years ago Bonnet found a group of very well-preserved statues of the Cushitic period during his excavations in and around Kerma. The magnificent illustrated book tells of these statues and the history of Kermas.
  • Baud, Michel: Meroe, un empire sur le Nil, Paris 2010. This is the richly illustrated catalog of the Meroe exhibition at the Louvre 2010 (French only)
Literature on Sudan in islamic times and modern history:

  • Trimingham, J. Spencer: Islam in the Sudan.2nd Edition. London 1965 is the standard work to it. A concentrated outline of the history of Islam in Sudan until shortly before independence in 1956. Special mention is made of the various religious orders that are influential in Sudanese Islam, but also in Islam in North Africa in general. Another focus is, of course, the Mahdi uprising.
  • In O’Fahey, R. S., Jay L. Spaulding: Kingdoms of the Sudan. Studies in African History 9. London 1974 the authors summarize in a clear and legible manner the history and culture of the Funj Empire and the Sultanate of Darfur.
  • An interesting study of the political history of Sudan on the road to independence is Muddathir ‚Abdel Rahim: Imperialism and Nationalism in the Sudan. A Study in Constitutional and Political Developement 1899 – 1956. Oxford 1969. The book discusses the Anglo-Egyptian divergences during the condominium, the role of intellectuals and religious leaders in the independence process, and the Southern Policy, which laid the foundations for the long-term conflict in South Sudan put.

Survey literature on archaeology of the Horn of Africa: 

  • Johanson, Donald, Maitland Edey: Lucy. Die Anfänge der Menschheit. Munich 1982.
  • Marcus, Harold G.: A History of Ethiopia. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 1994.
  • Phillipson, David W.: Ancient Ethiopia. Axum: Its Antecedents and Successors. London 1998.
  • Munro-Hay, Stuart: Aksum. An African Civilisation of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh 1991.
  • Munro-Hay, Stuart, Ethiopia, the Unknown Land. A Cultural and Historical Guide. London, New York 2002.

For the further African overview:

  • Phillipson, David: African Archaeology. 2nd Edition. Cambridge 1993.
  • Shaw, Thurstan u.a. (Hrsg.): The Archaeology of Africa. Food, Metals and Towns. London, New York 1995.
 To the languages of Northeast Africa:

  • Greenberg, Joseph H., The Languages of Africa. The Hague 1966.
  • Blench, Roger, Recent developments in African language classification and their implications for prehistory. In: Shaw, Thurstan u.a. (Hrsg.), The Archaeology of Africa. Food, Metals and Towns. London, New York 1995, 126 – 138.

As sudanarchaeological periodicals and series are to call:

  • Sudan & Nubia, published by the Sudan Archaeological Research Society, London.
  • Archéologie du Nil Moyen, published by the Association pour la Promotion de l’Archeologie Nilotique, Lille.
  • Beiträge zur Sudanforschung, edited by the Institute of African Studies, Department of Sudan Research, University of Vienna.
  • Meroitica, published at the Department of Egyptology and Archeology of Northeast Africa, Humboldt University.
  • and of course the magazine Der antike Sudan. Mitteilungen der Sudanarchäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin e. V.  (MittSAG), published by the SAG.
 Richard Lepsius and the Royal Prussian Expedition
  • Lepsius, Carl Richard: Briefe aus Aegypten, Aethiopien und der Halbinsel des Sinai. About six months spent Lepsius and his crew as part of his legendary expedition in 1844 in Sudan. In extensive letters he describes the progress of the journey and other observations.
  • Lepsius, Carl Richard: Denkmaeler aus Agypten und Aethiopien. After the return, Lepsius and his successors brought out a monumental work in large-scale table and detailed text volumes. Reprints are available in stores.
  • Freier, Elke and Grunert, Stefan: Eine Reise durch Ägypten : nach den Zeichnungen der Lepsius-Expedition in den Jahren 1842 – 1845. Berlin 1984. A well-described and nicely illustrated depiction of the Egyptian part of the Lepsius expedition.
  • Hafemann, Ingelore: Preußen in Ägypten – Ägypten in Preußen. Berlin 2010. This current volume includes the extended contributions of a conference to the eponymous exhibition a few years ago in Berlin.
  • Mehlitz, Hartmut: Richard Lepsius, Ägypten oder die Ordnung der Wissenschaft, Berlin 2010. This new biography is intended to commemorate a „scholar who has taken a central position in the educated Berlin class. He is still an exemplary personality in the cultural state of Prussia in the 19th century“.
Other early travelers
  • Brehm, Alfred: Reisen im Sudan 1847-1852. The young biologist Brehm travels to Sudan twice, reporting vividly on the flora and fauna, the locals and (not very flattering) the Europeans. Various issues are to be obtained in antiquarian.
  • Burckhardt, Johann Ludwig: Entdeckungen in Nubien 1813-1814. Even before the conquest of Sudan by the Egyptians / Turks, the Swiss Burckhardt (disguised as a Syrian merchant) set out on expeditions in the Orient.
  • Pückler-Muskau, Hermann Ludwig Heinrich: Aus Mehemed Alis Reich. The famous garden planner and travel writer Prince Pückler set out in the early 1840s in the Orient and came to Nubia, where he wrote interesting and sometimes bizarre observations.
  • Salich, Tajjib: Zeit der Nordwanderung, Basel 1998, London 1969, The novel focuses on the fractures and alienation between traditional culture and new (then English-influenced) education. Salich was the most important Sudanese writer. His style is „unarabian“ short but very insistent.
  • Mahjoub, Jamal: Die Stunde der Zeichen, Frankfurt 2008, London 1996The novel tells the rise and fall of Mahdism from many perspectives. Mahjoub describes this exciting story from the perspective of both sides, where he succeeds in literary feat, both the Sudanese and the British perspective to do justice.
  • Rolin, Olivier: Meroe, Berlin 2004. The novel combines the fate of the French e-teller in Islamist Sudan of the late 90s with excavations in Meroe (in which his great love and an East German archaeologist play important roles) and Gordon’s hopeless fight against the Mahdi troops.
 …and as an additional recommendation, especially as a travel guide

  • Peters, Elizabeth: The Last Camel Died at Noon. Crime about a Sudan expedition around the turn of the last century, which finds an existing Meroitic kingdom in the desert … Written by an Egyptologist.

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