Sudanese students from Khartoum University, located in Khartoum, Sudan, are changing the perception of continental archaeology.
According to The Guardian, Sabrine Jamal, Nadia Musa, Athar Bela, and Sabrine al-Sadiq are changing the trajectory of the field on a continent known to attract Western researchers. Stereotypes promoted by Western media have aided in the demonization of Africa and its native archaeologists. There’s also a notion that Western researchers know more than the natives.
Sabrine al-Sadiq stated the following:
“It is very important that Africans do African archaeology … because then we will have our own archaeological cultures. There is a lot we understand because we are from here. The idea that people from the west know best is changing.”
Alex Vines, an archaeologist who’s done research in Zimbabwe and East Africa, added the following:
“Archaeology was dominated by western white archaeologists and has been completely transformed. It is now increasingly driven by indigenous research.”
There’s also been a growing diversity among Sudanese archaeologists, primarily with the number of women studying the field.
The acting director of Sudan’s National Museum, Dr. Ghalia Garelnabi, advised that when she was a student 30 years ago only three women were studying the field; now there are twenty.
“This is a very great change and an important one. There are more and more young women in Sudan who are interested to know about their history and they deserve to know this … Twelve years ago we had only foreign missions working here, but this is changing. Now we have many Sudanese missions digging at our sites.”
It’s been noted that the exploitation of the continent and archaeological research dates back to 1798. Many invaded and stole large amounts of artifacts. Countries like Sudan, who was under British colonial rule for nearly 60 years, suffered because very few paid attention to archaeology—aiding in a dependency on Western support.
However, today’s a new day. And young Sudanese archaeologists like Sabrine al-Sadiq are encouraging more natives to go into the field and work abroad.
“We want to discover more and travel. I want to know more about my history but also all history. Why shouldn’t we come and study your history in the west like you have done here? We could teach you something, perhaps.”
Until Next Time..
Photo Credit: The Guardian
Burke, J., & Salih, Z. M. (2022, December 27). Young Sudanese archaeologists dig up history as ‘west knows best’ era ends. The Guardian. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/27/young-sudanese-archaeologists-dig-up-history-as-west-knows-best-era-ends