BEJRAWIYA, Sudan — The remains of the heartland of the ancient Meroitic kingdom (circa eighth century B.C. to the fourth century) are scattered across a string of villages collectively known as Bejrawiya, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. While pyramids are synonymous with Egypt, this sandy part of Sudan is also a lesser known home to many of these remarkable structures.
The Meroitic civilization got its name from the seat of its ruler, Meroe Royal City, to the east of which lie the royal burial grounds. Three sets of pyramids dominate the landscape here: the northern and southern pyramids, constructed for royal internments, and the western pyramids for nobles and elites. These structures have long drawn attention from scholars and travelers, and several of them today bear the marks of destructive European treasure-seeking. But they have been largely abandoned for the past century. The last archaeologists to carry out excavations at the site were American George Reisner and his Sudanese colleague Saeed Ahmed in the early 1900s.