Galleries of Africa: Nubia | Level 3

  • Galleries of Africa: Nubia
    The ROM is one of the few museums actively involved in current archaeological projects at ancient Nubian sites, and our collection is a dynamic and growing part of the Museum. Select gallery displays specifically highlight recent fieldwork and discoveries.
  • The ROM's growing collection sheds light on ancient Nubia.
    A growing collection of artifacts including text and pottery, glass, ironwork and sarcophagi help decipher the emerging story of this mighty and technologically advanced culture.
  • Meroitic potters rank among the best in the ancient world.
    The artistic achievements of the Meroitic potters rank them among the best in the ancient world. Pottery shapes and decorative styles are used by archaeologists as diagnostic tools to distinguish different historical periods.
  • Nubian sculpture.
    Conquests by Greece (332 BC) and Rome (30 BC) resulted in stylistic influences on local objects, such as this Roman-influenced animal head sculpture, produced in Meroe between 1 – 150 AD.
  • Detail of decorated faience post base from the city of Meroe.
    The city of Meroe was not only Kush's political and cultural capital, but also an industrial centre containing fabrication facilities for objects such as this large decorated faience post base.

The Kingdom of Kush: The lost civilization of ancient Nubia. 

At one time, the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush covered the whole Nile Valley, from the Mediterranean Sea to the highlands of Ethiopia. The Nubian's writing system was the second oldest in Africa after Egyptian hieroglyphs, and they cultivated the first urban literary society in Africa south of the Sahara.  

Ancient Nubia was often overlooked as its neighbour, Egypt, received the majority of archaeological activity and scholarship. The ancient Nubian legacy is now fully appreciated thanks to recent and ongoing archaeological discoveries, with the integral participation of the ROM and its Senior Curator Dr. Krzysztof Grzymski.  

On June 25, 2011, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) added the site of Meroe to its list of World Heritage Sites. Videos inside the gallery take you into the field and document current ROM curatorial research. 

About the Gallery

What?

This gallery sheds light on the ancient Nubian civilization that flourished in the Nile Valley for thousands of years. Gallery themes include: Rise of Kush; Meroe: the Royal City of Kush; End of the Kushite Empire and Religious Change in Nubia.  

Where?

A region alongside the Nile river, ancient Nubia encompassed parts of present-day Egypt, North Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.  

When?

Approximately 100,000 BC to AD 1323.

ROM Staff

Lisa Golombek

Curator Emeritus (Islamic Art) Retired

Bill Pratt

Collection Technician (Egypt and West Asia)

Authored by: Noman Siddiqui