The ancient African civilizations of Kush and Nubia are under threat of being flooded and permanently destroyed. Four new proposed dams in northern and central Sudan will soon displace tens of thousands of indigenous people, and inundate countless ancient archaeological sites in Sudan. Despite the richness of this archaeological region, which is complete with pyramids, temples, burial grounds, rock art, and ancient residential areas, it is not considered by UNESCO as a region with World Heritage Sites. Numerous unexcavated sites near the proposed Dal Dam, Kajbar Dam, Shereik Dam, and Upper Atbara Dam will be underwater beginning in the next three years if these dams are built. The Sudanese government has not considered alternative, less devastating, forms of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines.
"The construction of these dams would be one of the greatest tragedies in the history of ancient African civilizations, as more evidence of African culture will be loss in the flood zones than we could ever imagine," says Prof. Manu Ampim, Coordinator of the Save Nubia Project. Nubian environmental scientist, Dr. Arif Gamal, also notes that "By flooding the last of the remaining Nubian lands…the Nubians are reduced to a group of people with no sense of memory, no past and no future to look for." The Save Nubia Project is focused on extending the voice and concerns of local Nubians and other Sudanese to the international community. This grave concern over the fate of the artifacts is a result of the negative impact of two earlier dams. The 2008 completion of the Merowe Dam at the 4th cataract in northern Sudan created a 108-mile long reservoir that flooded more than 2,500 ancient Kushite sites, and the 1970 Aswan High Dam in Egypt flooded 39 Nubian villages and destroyed countless ancient monuments and other artifacts.
The Oakland, California-based Save Nubia Project was founded in February 2012 to give the public updated information on the pending dams in Sudan, and to provide knowledge about the historical significance of the ancient civilizations of Kush and Nubia. The Project's goals are to help save these civilizations by conducting field research in Sudan and providing evidence about their historical contributions, helping to build several museums in the local region, advocating for UNESCO to designate the several dam areas as World Heritage Sites under threat, and assisting the local Sudanese in calling for the government to explore alternative energy sources that will not displace thousands of families.
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