The Watch

Sabu-Jaddi Rock Art Sites

Nile Valley, Sudan

2016 World Monuments Watch

Located in the Nile Valley, the settlements of Sabu and Jaddi are surrounded by hundreds of rock drawings that stretch over an area of roughly three miles (almost five kilometers) and carry great archaeological, artistic, and spiritual significance. The rock art, which depicts figures and scenes from pre-historic through modern times, is a testimony to 6,000 years of human occupation in the area.

Despite their significance, the rock drawings are neither protected nor fully documented. Some studies have been carried out, as has an archaeological survey of the general area, yet imminent threats to the site warrant timely action. Challenges include improper usage and unmanaged exploration that have led to surface erosion and damage to the drawings. Intentional destruction has included graffiti and other acts of vandalism. Proposals for the construction of a nearby dam, although presently inactive, pose an additional threat.

The 2016 World Monuments Watch supports the sustainable management of the Sabu-Jaddi Rock Art Sites and conservation of the rock drawings that they preserve. Documentation of the drawings and the development of a management plan for visitors to the region are important steps toward preservation of this piece of Sudanese, African, and world history.

Since the Watch

In the winter of 2016 activists protested against the construction of the proposed dam, which would flood Nubian lands as well as cultural heritage sites. Despite the peaceful beginning of the demonstrations, clashes with local police took place and arrests were carried out.

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