chapter  10
Ancient Egypt in the Sudanese Middle Nile: A Case of Mistaken Identity?
Pages 14

The question of Ancient Egypt’s relationship with, and significance in, Africa may draw us into many debates, ranging from the overtly political and polemic, often concerning representations of Africa’s past and the politics of scholarship, to the more empirical, drawing on historical and especially archaeological studies. However, even a passing reflection on some of the common threads encountered in such debates, and their premises, may alert us to the fact that while they offer considerable opportunities for rhetoric, these are generally not matched by a significant archaeological contribution to the construction of debates and dialogue. This chapter examines some issues encountered when considering Ancient Egypt’s place in Africa, and especially the influence of what can only be termed ‘Egyptocentric’ research traditions on the historiography of the Middle Nile/Sudan, the one region of sub-Saharan Africa most closely linked with Egypt. By contrast, in the second half of the chapter it is suggested that there are very different archaeologies and histories of the region still waiting to be written which do not need to look to Egypt and grand narratives of grand civilizations.