History and archaeology

... more pyramids than Egypt

Few people are aware of the depth and the richness of Sudan's history, but the Middle Nile valley has not been called Egypt's rival in Africa for nothing. For many millennia, Sudan has been the crossroads between Central Africa and the Mediter­ranean. The country has both a compelling history and dramatic remains which tell about it.

Unlike a typical tourist trip in Egypt, itineraries in Sudan are not confined to the Pharaonic period. They allow you to draw a bow from the earliest times of human history through the Bronze Age, Antiquity and the Christian medieval era, to the Islamic period and the present.

Of course there are temples – and more pyramids than in Egypt. But more than this, doing an archaeological trip in Sudan means travelling through all the major periods of human history and experiencing them in a hands-on course.

300,000 to 5000 BC

Old and Middle Stone Age

The earliest archaeological finds from Sudan are probably more than 300,000 years old. They are handaxe type stone tools of the Old Stone Age which are notoriously hard to date. Read more ...

5000 to 2500 BC

New Stone Age

The New Stone Age, or Neolithic, is the final phase of the Stone Age, starting about 5000 BC. It is characterised by the transition to farming and animal husbandry. Read more ...

2500 to 1500 BC

Kerma period

The Kerma culture, also known as the 'first African civilisation' south of Egypt, is the main Bronze Age culture in the Middle Nile region. Its origins date back to about 2500 BC. Read more ...

1500 to 1070 BC

Pharaonic period

In the second millenium BC, the Egyptian pharaohs conquered the Middle Nile valley. They ruled over the region until 1070 BC and built numerous fortresses, towns and temples there. Read more ...

900 to 300 BC

Napatan period

After 900 BC, a new political entity developed in the Middle Nile region. Its kings even came to rule over Egypt as the pharaohs of the 25th dynasty. Read more about the Kingdom of Kush ...

300 BC to 350 AD

Meroitic period

About 300 BC, the Kushite rulers moved the royal cemetery from the area of Napata to Meroe, a step which was defined as the onset of the Meroitic period. Read more ...

350 to 600 AD

Post-Meroitic period

In the fourth century AD, political power in the Middle Nile valley was split into smaller units with local centres. The post-Meroitic period was the last era of ancient Sudan, before the onset of Christianity. Read more ...

600 to 1500 AD

Medieval period

In the mid 6th century AD, Byzantine missionaries travelled up the Nile, evangelising the local elites. The Middle Nile region became the home of three powerful Christian kingdoms for about one millenium. Read more ...

1500 to 1880 AD

Islamic period

The Islamic period was a very dynamic era, with Egypt's rulers and the Funj kings being the main actors in an arena of competings interests. In 1821, the Middle Nile region came under Turkish-Egyptian rule. Read more ...

1881 to 1898 AD


In 1881, the Sudanese rose against the Anglo-Turkish rule. The Mahdiya was the first successful uprising of an African country against the colonial forces. Most Sudanese consider it the most important period in their history. Read more ...

1898 to 1956 AD

Anglo-Egyptian rule

From 1898, the British Empire and Egypt formally shared the governance of Sudan. North and south were administered as separate provinces and their develop-ment proceeded very unevenly. Read more ...

since 1956

Republic of the Sudan

On 1 January 1956, Sudan became an independent state. Since 1989, Omar al-Bashir has been President. In 2011, the Republic of the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan became two separate states. Read more ...