Recent Research

What have people from the Nile Valley Collective been writing about recently?

Transforming our understanding of the human past

Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there.

Touches on: theories about ancient human societies, origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization, how we make sense of human history

Authors: David Graeber and David Wengrow

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See Kevin Suemnicht’s review “The Black Radical Tradition in The Dawn of Everythinghere


Nubian worshippers influenced rites at Lower Nubian temples

Through prayers and legal agreements inscribed on temple walls, we see the activities of Nubian worshippers in Egyptian temples of Lower Nubia.

Touches on: worship of Isis, temples in Lower Nubia, Nubian cultic practices, Meroitic royal funerary cult

Author: Solange Ashby

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Women in the ancient Nile Valley accessed power through many different roles

In progress: a book on Women of the Sacred South: Female Power in Ancient Nubia and Egypt

Author: Solange Ashby


Objects, language, and people moved between the Nile Valley and West Africa

Particular innovations in the so-called early Nigerian ram-headed aegis are attributed to Yoruba cultural conceptions. The diffusion of words from Nile and Darfur Nubian into Hausa occurred prior to the eighteenth century.

Touches on: movements of specific artifacts across Africa, artistic representations of deities on collars, sharing words across African languages

Author: Sandro Capo Chichi

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See Sandro’s art featured here in the web exhibit New Perspectives on Ancient Nubia


African American and Caribbean scholars’ interpretations of Nile Valley history

Their counternarratives resisted interpretations clouded by 19th-century ideas of race and racial hierarchy and restored the ancient Nile Valley to its place in African history.

Touches on: writing history, interpretation of archaeological materials, disciplinary silos, Kush

Author: Debora D. Heard

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“Racial” paradigms in popular and scholarly works must be reconsidered

Problems related to ongoing racial paradigms are pointed out in concepts, comments, and studies from various time periods, as well as recent presentations in the media and studies, on Nile Valley peoples.

Touches on: complexity of the term “race,” race and power, systems of classification of humans, physical variation among humans, media representations of Nile Valley cultures

Author: S. O. Y. Keita

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Kushites created a vibrant African tradition

The Kushite civilization that flourished for a thousand years was not an imperfect imitation of ancient Egypt, as some Egyptologists have asserted, or even the fount of Egyptian civilization, as some Afrocentric scholars have argued.

Touches on: misunderstandings of Kushite culture by scholars, archaeology in Sudan, borrowing between cultures

Author: Stuart Tyson Smith

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Relocating the concept of the “father of the god” in an African context

The concept of “father” and the Egyptian title “father of the god” encompasses a broader set of roles than just an immediate biological ancestor.

Touches on: history, sociolinguistics, cultural determinism, priesthood, the political/administrative role of vizier

Author: Kimani S. K. Nehusi

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How Pauline Hopkins set the record straight

Editor, author, and singer Pauline Hopkins wrote the novel Of One Blood (1902), setting the record straight about the Africanity of ancient Nile Valley cultures.

Touches on: Afrofuturism, hidden cities, “passing,” historical research in a literary context

Author: Vanessa Davies

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Amy Jacques Garvey and Marcus Garvey on ancient Nile Valley cultures

On the pages of their newspaper, the Garveys challenged scholars’ incorrect views.

Touches on: pan-Africanism, early 20th-century racialized thinking, modern Egyptian political and intellectual leaders’ views of Egypt’s place in Africa

Author: Vanessa Davies

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