Egyptian Occupation

The city of Dukki Gel is founded by the pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt.

The Egyptian conquest of the Kingdom of Kush is carried out by one of the most illustrious New Kingdom pharaohs, Thutmosis I (1496-1483 B.C.). After having recaptured the forts of Lower Nubia and seized Kerma, he establishes a new city one kilometre north of the latter, at the site of Dukki Gel. Egyptian influence over this region south of the Third Cataract is not truly felt until the reign of Thutmosis III (1479-1424 B.C.).

The Nubians must leave their homes, often burnt during the conquest. Several settle at Soleb, Sesebi, Tabo, Kawa or at the foot of Gebel Barkal. Our understanding of the transition from the Kerma cultures to the Egyptian occupation is made difficult due to numerous conflicts between indigenous populations and the new settlers. The administration of the country is given to a viceroy, who bears the title “King’s Son of Kush,” although a certain authority is left to the local elite. Indeed, a policy of Egyptianisation is quickly launched. The children of the defeated chiefs are thus sent to Egypt in order to be educated in Pharaoh’s court.

Today, the city of Dukki Gel is partially buried under a palm grove, which makes impossible an exhaustive study of its development. Available landmarks, however, allow a comparison of its proportions to other Egyptian cities in Nubia. Interpretation of the religious quarter proves complex; our understanding of early buildings is complicated by restorations and constructions dated to the later Napatan or Meroitic periods. Projects commissioned by pharaohs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth dynasties are evidenced by the various foundation deposits discovered at temples within the precinct. One of these temples was dedicated to the god Amun.

The city’s enclosure wall is abandoned in stages at the end of the Ramesside period (around the 11th century B.C.). Egypt, more preoccupied with the Mediterranean, loses control of Nubia. For the next three centuries, the history of Middle and Upper Nubia is obscure. Nubian history shines again with the emergence of a monarchy from the Napatan region, upstream from the Fourth Cataract.

For further information, read the publications of C. Bonnet.

Archaeological site : Dukki Gel