Press Conference on the Reopening of Burial Chamber
in Pyramid 9 of Begrawiya
Khartoum, 24th April, 2018
The royal city of Meroe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the Northern State of Sudan, hosted a press conference held on the occasion of reopening the burial chamber of Pyramid 9 in Bagrawiya.
Among those attending were political and media personalities interested in heritage and archaeology, on the top of which were the Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife of Sudan and the Governor of the Northern State, in addition to 85 media personalities representing several bodies, such as Al Jazeera News, Al Jazeera Mubasher, the BBC Arabic Channel, the Russian News Agency, Sky News Arabic, the German News Agency, Sudan News Agency and Qatar’s Al Watan Newspaper and Al Araby TV.
Dr. Mahmoud Sulaiman Bashir, Director of the Regional Archaeology Office of the Qatari Mission for the Pyramids of Sudan, confirmed in his address that the reopening of this chamber is conducted by the Qatari Mission of the Pyramids of Sudan, which operates under the umbrella of the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project as one of more than forty archaeological missions. The Qatari mission is a joint cooperation between Qatar Museums, Sudan’s National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums and the German Archaeological Institute.
Moreover, Dr. Mahmoud Sulaiman added that the burial chamber is located at a depth of 10 meters under King Adikhalamani’s pyramid 9, who ruled the Kingdom of Meroe between 207 BCE and 186 BCE. He also revealed that the excavating team was able to access the second and third burial chambers through the first one, where several artefacts were found such as pottery, jars, human and animal remains and some stone, iron and faience objects.
He also highlighted that these new results expand our knowledge about the history of the Meroitic Kingdom to a significant degree.
On his part, Dr. Salaheddin Mohammed Ahmed, General Coordinator of the Qatar Sudan Archaeological Project, conveyed that the Qatari Mission for the Pyramids of Sudan is conducting research, maintenance, excavation and restoration work in the pyramids’ area of Bagrawiya, in addition to site development and management. He also pointed out that the re-opening of these burial chambers is one of the mission’s main objectives. These chambers remained buried since they were first discovered by the American archaeologist George Reisner in 1923, who mentioned in his diaries that some of the chambers’ walls were decorated with colored reliefs. In 2016, the mission re-opened the burial chamber of Pyramid 503, part of the southern pyramids’ cluster and belonging to Queen Khennuwa. It is one of the oldest pyramids in the region: it dates back to the 5th century BCE. The burial chamber was still holding its colorful decorations, inscriptions and Egyptian hieroglyphic writings.
His Excellency, the Governor of the Northern State of Sudan conveyed his thanks and appreciation to the government of Qatar for its support to the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project which aims to support the exploration of Sudan’s rich ancient heritage and to contribute to its preservation.
His Excellency, the Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife of Sudan, expressed his thanks and gratitude to the government of the State of Qatar for its pioneering role and its great support for Sudan’s antiquities and heritage. His Excellency also pointed out that the Bagrawiya Pyramids area is one of the most important sites in Sudan. This UNESCO World Heritage site witnesses a huge number of visitors that is going to increase thanks to the Qatari mission’s efforts to rehabilitate the site and promote it.