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Record floods threaten pyramid sites in Sudan

  • Record floods threaten pyramid sites in Sudan
    FILE PHOTO: Creeping desert sands surround the Royal Cemeteries of Meroe Pyramids in Begrawiya at River Nile State, Sudan November 10, 2019. Picture taken November 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo
  • The floods, that have left at least 102 people dead, threaten two of the country's most important archaeological areas.

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Record floods in Sudan have threatened sites housing the royal pyramids of Meroe and Nuri, two of the country's most important archaeological areas, an official said on Tuesday.

The royal bath at Meroe, a basin that fills during the annual flooding of the Nile, was at risk from unprecedented water levels, and teams have been working since Monday to protect the site from being swamped, said Hatem al-Nour, director of Sudan's antiquities and museums authority.

Meroe is an ancient city on the east bank of the River Nile about 200 km (125 miles) northeast of the capital Khartoum. It was the capital of the Kush dynasty that ruled from the early 6th century B.C.

At Nuri, about 350 km north of Khartoum, tombs buried 7-10 metres underneath pyramids had been affected by a rise in groundwater, Nour said.

The Nuri pyramids include the tomb of Taharqa, who ruled over lands in modern day Sudan and Egypt in the 7th century B.C. They are an "invaluable historical relic", Nour said.

As in Egypt, local dynasties buried members of the royal family in pyramid tombs.

Floods in Sudan have left at least 102 people dead and destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes, according to the interior ministry. Authorities have declared a three-month state of emergency.

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