Ghazali

One of the most intriguing and most captivating archaeological sites in Sudan is surprisingly situated not at the shore of life-giving Nile. It is located in Wadi Abu Dom at a distance of about fifteen km from the river bank. When using modern technology we look down from the Earth’s orbit at this area, beige snake of the wadi basks in the sun between the volcanic rocks of this part of Bayuda. Yet when we travel there this snake glitters with the silver and golden flakes of mica. During the windy weather even the visitors seem to be touched by a golden touch of Midas. This is the place where the Makurians built a monastery of a size of St. Catherine monastery in Sinai. The place visited by all of the famous travelers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century once like Richard Lepsius, Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds, John Gardner Wilkinson, Pierre Trêmaux, or Ugo Monneret de Villard.

The Ghazali monastery is a site of the utmost importance for the studies on history of Sudan especially in Makurian period but also for local economy as one of the best tourist destinations in the country. Peter Shinnie, Neville Chittick and Sayed Nigm ed Din Sherif on behalf of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, at that point of time working under the name of Sudan Antiquities Service, started the excavation of the site in the 1950’es. In two archaeological seasons they cleared the church, refectories and several other rooms.

The very recent excavations resulted in discovery of the second church and a complex of sanitary rooms, the latter a feature never before found in Nubia suggesting a big monastic community or a role of the monastery as a pilgrimage center. Thanks to two seasons of excavations Ghazali became source of the second largest collection of epigraphic material in Sudan. Preserved plastering in the main church was under professional restorer treatment last season thanks to cooperation with the University of Münster and generosity of prof. Angelika Lohwasser and Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project.

In 2014 I have received a grant from the Qatar Sudan Archaeological Project which in 4 years will turn the unexcavated site into a tourist friendly monastery worth a visit and a moment of contemplation.

In 2011 NCAM expressed its interest in implementation of a project aimed at full excavation, publication of the site and its preparation for the increasing volume of the tourists visiting the site. In 2012 Polish Centre of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw and NCAM decided to carry out this project in cooperation as G.A.S.P Ghazali Archaeological site Presentation Project. The area of the project contains medieval monastery, neighboring settlement and surrounding cemeteries and iron production sites.