Christian Culture in Nubia

A series of powerful Christian kingdoms in Nubia resisted Arab conquest and conversion to Islam for 700 years after the conquest of Egypt.

Christian sites in our survey ranged in date from around the 8th to 9th century AD down to the end of independent Nubia in the 15th century.

Mounds of burnt brick indicated the presence of several churches in the concession, not surprising since this was the heartland of the powerful Kingdom of Makuria.


Christian pottery was mostly wheel made and decorated with elaborate painted and stamped designs, carrying on a ceramic tradition from the pre-Christian Meroitic period (c. 300 BC to AD 400).


Sherds were sometimes used as clinkers in walls, as with this example imbedded in plaster. The presence of fine plaster almost certainly indicates that murals lie beneath the mound of brick and sand found by our expedition.
Pottery knobs are from the bases of Qadus, water jars designed for the Saqqia or water wheel. This irrigation device allowed for a rapid increase in population, as cultivation was expanded.