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Nubia / Religion /
Al-Kurru
Other spellings: Al Kurru; El Kurru; El-Kurru



Al-Kurru, Sudan

Al-Kurru, Sudan

Al-Kurru, Sudan

In Ancient Upper Nubia, burial ground used around 747-653 BCE, almost 100 years.
It is 13 km downstream the Nile from Gebel Barkal and the Cushite capital of Napata, near modern Karima, Sudan.
Al-Kurru was used by 4 rulers who were both kings of Cush and Egypt, belonging to the 25th Dynasty: Piy, Shabaqo, Shabitqo and Tanutanami. Ruler of Cush alone, Kashta and 14 queens have also got their pyramids here.
It was in the 8th century that burials at al-Kurru began incorporating Egyptian elements like small pyramids, rising to between 10 and 20 metres high. The first pyramid here was built by the command of Piy. It was small, 8 metres along its base length, but unusually steep at around 68° compared to the usual 52-53° of original Egyptian pyramids. Later king pyramids were somewhat larger, but equally steep. Along the eastern side, an undecorated, rectangular chapel was built.
A long flight of stairs led to one or several subterranean burial chambers. The stairs were cut into the bedrock, and roofed by masonry. In Piy's case, the dead was placed on a bed situated in the middle of the burial chamber. This element of the burial corresponded to old Nubian traditions, but many Egyptian elements had been added like the use of canopic jars and shabti (servant) figures. With Shabaqo's tomb, the underground structures were entirely cut into the bedrock.
At al-Kurru, there also is a rather unique element: Dedicated, individual tombs for 24 horses and 2 for dogs. The animals had been decapitated before being embalmed, and placed standing in the grave with rich decorations.
When al-Kurru was abandoned in the middle of the 7th century, Nuri became the new burial ground for the kings of Cush.

History
747 BCE: Cushite king Kashta dies. It appears that he is buried at al-Kurru, although it is possible that his grave and pyramid here came about at a later stage.
716: Piy dies, he is undoubtedly buried here with a pyramid above his tomb.
653: Tanutanami becomes the last king to be buried at al-Kurru.




By Tore Kjeilen