Welcome to the Musawwarat Graffiti Archive

Musawwarat es Sufra, located in Sudan, is one of the most intriguing archaeological heritage sites on the African continent. As part of the group entry ‘Archaeological sites of the Island of Meroe’ Musawwarat is one of the most recent additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The temples and other monuments at the site date primarily to the Meroitic period (c. 270BC-AD350) of the kingdom of Kush, one of Africa’s major early states, which formed an interface between ancient Africa, Egypt, the Greco-Roman Mediterranean and the Near East.

Traces of the movement and transformation of ideas and knowledge within the ancient world are manifest in the thousands of graffiti that were incised over more than 2000 years into the walls of the so-called Great Enclosure, a unique, labyrinthine building complex forming the centre of the site. This multi-layered archive of images, inscriptions and markings reflects various aspects of the ever changing life-worlds of the people of the past. It also forms a treasure trove for present seekers of knowledge, be they researchers or members of the interested global public.

The Musawwarat Graffiti Archive is presenting - bit by bit - the entire graffiti corpus from the site in an interactive open access research archive. It is dedicated to the digital preservation, publication and promotion of African cultural heritage. By sharing scientific knowledge globally it contributes to bridging the digital and knowledge divides.

Recent fieldwork

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During the 2011 field season more than 440 RTI captures of endangered ancient graffiti were realised. The project was kindly supported by the Culture Preservation Fund of the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) Learn more....

World heritage

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In June 2011 Musawwarat es Sufra was inscribed in the World Heritage List. Learn more...

Meet the team

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Get to know the people behind the Musawwarat Project. Learn more...