Open letter to friends of archaeology in Sudan

May 10, 2023

From the team of Fashioning Sudan

In the past month, the team of Fashioning Sudan has watched from afar the events unfold in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan. Disbelief, worry, and frustration are only some of the facets of the deep sorrow that have shrouded our mind since. Some of us have worked in Sudan for years while some have not yet had the opportunity to travel there. Now far from the streets of Khartoum, we cannot pretend to share the traumatic experiences of our colleagues and friends placed in the middle of this fighting, but as human beings, we are all bound by empathy and solidarity to the Sudanese people. And what a model of solidarity they have shown in the past weeks, and indeed years! For many of us, the first few weeks of working in Sudan has meant giving a part of our heart to this land and its people. Therefore, through distances and different circumstances, we would like to express our deepest solidarity to the great efforts deployed by the Sudanese people to overcome this critical situation.

All our dead in the ground make the land ours

Safia Elhillo, “Self-portrait in a yellow dress”, The January Children, 2017

These words by the Sudanese-American poet Safia Elhillo resonate particularly well in us archaeologists. From our little corner of academic research, we remain as committed as ever to highlight the fascinating diversity and richness of the Sudanese heritage. With deep worry but full of faith, we will continue to tell the dead’s stories from the past, so they contribute to anchor the Sudanese people to their country.