Recordings will be made available for those unable to attend the live sessions!

The land of Nubia – modern day Sudan – was a key passageway between Egypt and central Africa, and home to dynamic civilisations across history. This five-week course will explore the unique archaeology and culture south of Egypt’s borders, through archaeology, art, and textual sources, with highlights from recent fieldwork. We will cover the period from the Prehistoric and early Neolithic cultures, through the glories of the Kingdoms of Kerma and Kush and the unique Nubian Christianity that thrived in the Upper Nile (c. 13000 BCE – 1200 CE). We will delve into the fascinating material culture found across the Middle Nile Region, and discuss how to interpret them in our research. In particular, we will explore Nubia’s shifting relationship with Egypt over time, characterised by war, trade, and the movement of peoples and ideas. This course will provide a thorough overview of the region over millennia, and provide a deep understanding of the intriguing cultures that lived here.

The course will suit all with an interest in archaeology, and particularly those familiar with ancient Egypt and looking to further understand its closest neighbour.



Loretta Kilroe completed her PhD at the University of Oxford in 2019 and now works as the Project Curator for Sudan and Nubia at the British Museum. Her Doctoral dissertation focused on comparing the distribution and use of pilgrim flasks between New Kingdom Egypt and Nubia. She has excavated at several sites in Sudan including Amara West, H25 and Kurgus, and is the Honorary Secretary for the Sudan Archaeological Research Society.

Course Outline

Please note that main content will be delivered between 18:00-19:30, though some optional participation (quizzes, Q&A, etc.) may continue beyond that time. 

Thursday 6th July, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week One - Migration and war
For our introductory week, we will introduce the Middle Nile region and discuss important issues essential for understanding research in the area, including the difficulties of analysing non-literate cultures and early biases in archaeology. We will then explore evidence for early cultures between Khartoum and Aswan, looking at transitions towards agriculture and the social tensions this caused, before focusing on the A-Group state in Lower Nubia and its links to early Egypt.

Thursday 13th July, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Two - Clash of Kingdoms
Different cultural groups develop across the Nile valley in the late third millennium BCE, and this week we will explore the development of the C-Group, Pan-Grave, and Kerma groups. We will look at the different material culture repertoires associated with these groups and whether we can link these to different people in practice. The interactions between those living in Nubia and Egypt’s Middle Kingdom will be discussed with an assessment of the Egyptian fortresses constructed in Lower Nubia. In particular, we will focus on the rise of Kerma and explore its unique material culture characterising the capital city.

Thursday 20th July, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Three - Nubia occupied
This week, we will explore Sudan during the Egyptian New Kingdom – the period in which Egypt colonised Sudan. We will look at evidence for Egypt’s takeover of the region and how this was administered in practice, with the construction of Egyptian towns, and the development of new administration. In particular, we will look at what this new rule meant in practice for the people living in Nubia, and how people worked with and around the new administration. 

Thursday 27th July, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Four - The Kushite Empire
The withdrawal of the Egyptian government at the end of the New Kingdom led to a power vacuum, from which the mighty Kushite state emerged. We will explore the state’s roots and its early take-over of Egypt in the 25th Dynasty, before looking at the empire’s distinct material culture and what this can tell us about its beliefs and practices.

Thursday 3rd August, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week Five - Medieval Nubia
In the final week, we will assess the adoption of Christianity into Sudan, and the way this was expressed across the three medieval kingdoms on the Middle Nile – Nobadia, Makuria and Alwa. We’ll look at the unique expressions of belief recovered from churches, including a deep interest in angels and the use of graffiti as a religious practice, before assessing the tension between these Christian kingdoms and the Islamic kingdom of Egypt.

Recordings of the live sessions will be made available to attendees following the weekly session for those unable to attend in person. 


20% of your ticket fee will go toward the Society’s Research Fund. Thank you.

Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a heavily discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, then please ensure that you have already joined here. Subscriptions from members include a donation to support and promote Egypt’s cultural heritage. If you are a Cairo Associate, then please contact our Cairo Office to reserve your discounted tickets: [email protected] 

Register for your place in advance using the links below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the course. Links for joining the event will be sent by email. If you do not receive your email, then please check your junk folders before contacting the Egypt Exploration Society. The course will be held on our Zoom platform and attendees will be able to interact by asking questions, using the chat and polls. It is not necessary to have a working webcam or microphone for this course. The online course will be complemented by Google Drive, where resources will be uploaded.

Please ensure that you have read our guide to attending EES online events before the course begins.

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