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The Sudan Archaeological Society of Berlin e.V. (SAG) was founded on 23 September 1993. Since the mid-1990s, after initial exploratory projects and ventures, the SAG e.V. has been dedicated to continuous and goal-oriented work in northern Sudan. In line with its goals of spreading knowledge on the ancient cultures of the Middle Nile valley as well as preserving endangered archaeological monuments in Sudan, two main areas of activity emerged: information work and the restoration and preservation of antiquities.

The ancient Kushite sacral site of Musawwarat es-Sufra with its unique ensemble of the labyrinthine building complex of the Great Enclosure, the earliest known temple of the lion-headed god Apedemak and the largest ancient water reservoir in Sudan, the Great Hafir, has long been the focus of SAG-sponsored preservation work. Since 1960, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has been running a research project dedicated to this fascinating site, which was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 as ‚Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe‘ along with neighbouring Meroe and Naqa.

The Central Terrace of the Great Enclosure of Musawwarat (photo: Cornelia Kleinitz 2018).

Due to the climatic factors, including the change of rainy and dry season and increasing desertification, the monuments of Musawwarat es-Sufra are increasingly threatened. Another cause of concern is the recent increase in tourist numbers, which has to be managed by developing a tourism infrastructure and visitor facilities. Since 1995 the SAG e.V. has been involved in the provision of financial resources for projects addressing these challenges, and qualified members have participated in fieldwork on site.

In the 2000s, the scope of work of the SAG e.V. was expanded. Rescue archeology came into focus. At Musawwarat es-Sufra, the SAG e.V. supported salvage excavations in the area of ​​the Great Hafir, and it supported the surveys and excavations of the Humboldt University Nubian Expedition (H.U.N.E.) at the Fourth Nile Cataract between 2004 and 2008.

Annually, the SAG e.V. publishes the journal ,Der Antike Sudan. Mitteilungen der Sudanarchäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin e.V.‘ (MittSAG) and it has also started to publish special volumes of the journal. The society regularly organizes the ‚Sudantag‘ (Sudan Day) and the ‚Fritz Hintze Lecture‘ in cooperation with the Department of Northeast African Archeology and Cultural Studies (AKNOA) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In addition, the SAG e.V. organizes further events and activities for its members.

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