Ghazali Monastery, Sudan


Along the east wall of the al-Ghazali monastery in Northern Sudan near the Nile River, Polish archaeologists, Szymon Maślak & Dr. Grzegorz Ochała, both from the University of Warsaw, excavated a row of 15 toilets.  Sounds dicey but it is an important discovery  because ” nowhere else in Nubia has such a large sanitary complex ever been discovered”, explained Dr. Artur Obłuski from the University of Chicago, leader of the expedition.

Just like many public toilets today, the toilets back then had ceramic bowls and were located in rectangular stalls, allowing for a little bit of privacy. As an alternative to toilet paper people used broken pottery to clean their nether regions—with the sharp edges smoothed away. Ghazali Monastery

The monastery complex in Sudan is situated just over ten miles away from the Nile River and is the second largest group of stelae  in Nubia (modern day Sudan).

Nubia is ancient region in northeastern Africa that extends approximately from the Nile River valley (near the first cataract in Upper Egypt) and eastward to the shores of the Red Sea, southward to about Khartoum (Sudan), and westward to the Libyan Desert. Traditionally it was divided into two regions. The southern portion,  was known as Upper Nubia and called Kush (Cush) by the Egyptians, later Ethiopia by the ancient Greeks. The northern part of the region, located between the second and the first cataract of Aswān; this was called Wawat was Lower Nubia and of little historical important.  These findings are in Upper Nubia.

The stelae found are a type of  Egyptian style tombstone which comes from the Ancient Greek meaning  pillar or vertical tablet – the latter more in keeping with the original Egyptian as it was actually used for a plethora of reasons, not just tombstones as in the case, urinals.   (Latin – stela s; stelae pl. ).

More on the discovery can be found at the Polish University;s website “Nubian Monasteries.”  The original announcement can be read here. 

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