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Snippet of Overheard at National Geographic: Scuba Diving in a Pyramid

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Last Played: April 05, 2021
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Kristen Romey, writer and editor for National Geographic, traveled to Sudan and visited the tombs of the kings and queens of the ancient kingdom of Kush. Kush—also referred to as Nubia—was a kingdom that bordered Egypt and at one time, sought to conquer it.
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the site where Christians diving is called Nouri. Once I drove up to the site and just saw these stunning pyramids just silhouetted in the sun empty with nothing around them. It was breathtaking, and underneath those pyramids, the tombs of kings and queens containing all the riches they wanted to take with them into the afterlife. Maybe you're thinking sounds like Egypt, maybe the pyramids of Giza or the Great Sphinx. But Giza is 1000 miles away from where we are in Sudan. Sudan has more pyramids in Egypt. Does Egyptians don't want to hear this? But it's true. Thank the people of Kush for that. A few 1000 years ago, Kush was Egypt's southern neighbor. But the people of Kush, or the cushy heights, did things their own way. They had their own language and worship their own gods and their pyramids. The kings of Kush put their own spin on those two. They're smaller than the ones in Egypt, on the proportions air different. A lot of times they tend to be more steep sided and pointy, so it's technically, I think they're really neat looking as well. The people of Kush also look different from the Egyptians. Egyptian artwork shows the Kush Heights with darker skin. Like a lot of people in Sudan today, over the course of a few centuries that Kush rights built 80 pyramids of Nouri. About 30 of them are still standing. You start looking around and you can feel these things. You can feel the history you can just tell your in a place that mattered. That's Pierce Paul Crisman. He's an archaeologist at the University of Arizona, and he directs the excavation that Nouri Cushy, its homeland, has another name, one that still used today. Nubia, for a long time newbie, was autonomous. It had its own thriving cities, and it did pretty well for itself. But it had something Egypt wanted. Gold, lots and lots of gold. So about 3500 years ago, three Egyptians colonized Nubia and they said, You're going to do things our way. If you were a young elite from Kush, you might have gone to an Egyptian school, where you would have learned to write in Egyptian hieroglyphs and worshiped Egyptian gods that went on for a few 100 years. Until things get messy, there gets to be a lot of competition within Egypt and the kingdom fractures. And by that I mean, there is no one person who rules over all of what we would consider to be Egypt today. This is huge. Egypt went from being perhaps the strongest superpower in the world to a divided land with smaller regional leaders. Kristen Romy says that that's when the Kings have Kush realized this is our moment. They came in and said, Hey, we're more Egyptian than you guys are They're saying, you know, you guys came down the Nile all the time and you took our gold and we were your middle men and we were, you know, doing trade for you. But now that you guys were in such shambles, we're going to come in and make Egypt great again. King from Kush, who really seized on this moment, was named Pia. He wanted to show people he was powerful but also righteous in the eyes of the gods. So he started attacking the other kings all up and down the Nile. And to make sure the gods were happy with him, Pia made his soldiers sprinkled themselves with holy water before battles. P A conquered all of Egypt and started a dynasty known today as the Black Pharaohs. And at its peak, these five kings probably ruled over more territory than all but one or two of the most powerful kings in all of ancient Egyptian history. Pierce Paul says that the black pharaohs felt that destiny was calling them to revive some of the old Egyptian rituals. They were saying, We remember what the Great Kingdom used to be. It's our responsibility to return it to that.
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