Royal Pyramids of Meroe


Northern State

The Republic of The Sudan

February 5, 2020

Dear Friends and Fellow Explorers,

If I close my eyes and eliminate the National Geographic video team and a few dedicated archaeologists, I can imagine that today, I alone “discovered” the Meroë Pyramids (270 BCE- 450 CE).  

Tourists are a rarity here, even though the pyramids built by the Kushite royalty are the most visited site in Sudan.  (“Most visited” is a relative term.)

Today it is just me and my guide, the rising sun, the setting sun and the hills and sands of the Nubian desert.

Unfortunately, an Italian treasure hunter, Giuseppe Ferlini arrived before me in 1834.  He was convinced that the pyramids of kings and queens contained great riches, so he pulled them down.  He stuck gold on his first attempt and uncovered the hoard of jewelry of Queen Amanishakhto.   The treasure was found in an unusual location - at the apex of the pyramid.  Not satisfied, Ferlini continued to decapitate the remainder of the pyramids but found nothing more.

Regarding the presence of pyramids in Sudan, a few of my friends have remarked, “Who knew?”

I also had no idea until I decided to combine my return trip to Egypt with a visit to Sudan.  According to my research, Meroë is a “must see” site.

Unlike their enormous and much older cousins down-river in Egypt, the Meroë Pyramids are quite small.   The largest is only about 30 meters high (98 feet) but with a steep pitch of 70 degrees.  They were built faster and with less manpower using simple cranes.

In Egypt, various accounts estimate that there are between 118 to 138 pyramids.

In Sudan there are 255 pyramids, almost twice as many.

Have the ancient Kushites disclosed a secret?

Have they reminded us of a valuable, modern lesson that “Less is more”?

Always content to have sand in my shoes,


PS  This year we have been given the Gift of Time.  Shall we “build a small pyramid” today?


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