The Naga expedition is excavating, often with an international team, since 1995 in Naga. Af-ter long years with the Berlin Museum the Naga-Project was transferred in 2013 to the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich. Once or twice a year the excavation team continues its work in Naga.
The large royal city located about 35 km distant from the Nile in the steppes is first mentioned in texts of the Meroitic period in the 3rd century B.C.
After the ancient city was rediscovered through the French men LINANT DE BELLEFONDS and CAILLIAUD in the year 1822 it was only in 1844 that a first scientific documentation of the ruins in Naga took place by RICHARD LEPSIUS during his Prussian expedition along the Nile valley.
Exactly 150 years thereafter the Egyptian Museum Berlin was given the excavation permission by the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums in Khartoum.
Nothing had changed since the times of Lepsius' visit so that the archaeologist found an un-touched city site of ca. 1,5 km2 providing the opportunity to expose, excavate and restore ac-cording to the most modern and cautious methods .
The temptation to work at the same time on many of the various hills, temples, graves and palaces was great, however scientific discipline prevailed. Concerted effort was invested in a surface survey of the city and the excavation of the great temple of Amun resulting in a gen-eral plan of the site which serves as a basis for further investigation over the next decades and the recovery of the largest sanctuary at Naga.
The Amun Temple was built (around the mid-1st century A.D.) on an artificial hill placed against a natural terrace at the foot of Jebel Naga. The large temple once painted white was therefore visible throughout the large city. Twelve ram statues interrupted by a way station (kiosk) line the approach to the temple. All of the statues and their bases had collapsed an-ciently and were partly buried under the sand. However after excavation it was possible to re-store, in part, the original appearance of the approach as most of the ram figures were refract-ed on their pedestals.
During the feast on Dec. 1st 2006 the guests were able to walk from the entrance gate to the sanctuary on the ancient stone pavement which lines the central path through the temple. A copy of the altar found during the excavation in 2000, decorated with delicate reliefs including the gods Horus and Thoth and inscribed with the names of the king Natakamani and the kandake Amanitore, was placed in the sanctuary in 2006 since the original has been moved for safe keeping to the Museum in Khartoum.
In another room the unique painted altar, discovered in 2000 showing two pairs of gods tying plants together, was once again exposed to view although; after the celebration, however, it was again covered with sand in order to preserve the delicate paintings on plaster.
© Bauer Praus GbR, Gundelfinger Straße 43 A, 10318 Berlin, Germany
As the southernmost city of the Meroitic Empire, Naga with its Hathor Chapel is also the ex-treme outpost of the Greco-Roman world in Africa. The Chapel of Hathor stands as a symbol of the Sudan in its function as a bridge between Africa and the Mediterranean world and functions as a witness to the ancient dialogue between the south and the north.