Tomomi Fushiya, Old Dongola: Continuity and change from the Medieval period to the 21st century, Warsaw 2021
ISBN: 978-83-953362-3-2 (print), ISBN: 978-83-953362-4-9 (online). Pages: 164. Soft cover
Funding: The DIALOG project, ‘ArchaeoCDN. Archaeological Centre of Scientific Excellence’, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Poland, Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project (QSAP), European Research Council (ERC).
This book is special in that it is the PCMA’s first venture into the field of collaborative archaeology. It was conceived to respond to the desire of local communities to learn more about the history of the landscape they have lived in and to the development of which they have contributed.
Old Dongola has been excavated and conserved by Polish expedition for more than 60 years. The new project—Old Dongola: Development, Heritage, Archaeology, initiated in 2019—has extended the research scope to the post-medieval Islamic period and the living heritage in the region, integrating active engagement and collaboration with local communities as well as sustainable development. Old Dongola is a continuously evolving heritage landscape, and this book, published bilingually in English and Arabic, is aimed to raise awareness of its importance among both the Sudanese and the international audience.
This brief introduction to the history of the urban site starts with the founding of the city as the capital of the medieval Nubian Kingdom of Makuria in the 6th century AD and continues through the present day, showing how the heritage landscape of today was shaped by cultural, economic, social and spiritual activities over the centuries. The Christian heritage that has been uncovered and conserved by Polish teams since 1964 is magnificent, yet the history of the city did not end with the collapse of the Makurian Kingdom. Old Dongola remained an important regional centre and the hub of Islamic teaching, and is the ancestral home of local residents living in the surrounding villages. Hence the strong ties that link the site to today’s local communities. Therefore, bringing together the results of archaeological research and the knowledge and practice of local communities has been crucial in the making of this book.