The International Conference for Nubian Studies (ICNS) starts this Monday (29 August) at the University of Warsaw. Every four years the ICNS brings together archaeologists, epigraphists, historians, and other scholars working on the ancient and modern history of Sudan and Nubia. This year, the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW) has the pleasure of hosting the 15th ICNS.
The ICNS is the largest scientific event in Nubian Studies hosted by various research institutions, with the 2018 conference organized in the Louvre Museum, Paris. It is the third time it is held in Warsaw. Fifty years ago, in 1972, the second edition of the conference took place at the National Museum of Warsaw. On that occasion, the International Society for Nubian Studies was founded, with Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski as its first president.
60 years ago, Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski and the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in Cairo led the first Polish excavations in Sudan at the now-flooded site of Faras famous for the wall paintings from the Christian cathedral discovered there. Since then, Nubian Studies became one of the fortes of Polish archaeology abroad.
Polish scholars have researched and documented numerous sites in cooperation with the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM). They have also participated in large-scale rescue operations connected to the construction of dams on the Nile. In 2006, the 11th ICNS took place at the University of Warsaw drawing almost 200 scholars from all over the world. A Research Centre was established in Sudan in 2018 by the University of Warsaw to facilitate Polish archaeological research in that country.
– “We are very happy that this summer we will also be able to meet many distinguished colleagues and fledgling scholars in Nubian Studies in person after the disturbances in academic life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic” – says Assoc. Prof. Artur Obłuski, the current President of the International Society of Nubian Studies and director of the PCMA UW.
Participants will present over 200 papers organized in four parallel sessions taking place over five conference days. Workshops or round tables will further the exchange of knowledge and ideas on specialist subjects, while keynote lectures at the end of each day will highlight some of the most relevant research questions. – “We hope that the 15th ICNS will turn out to be a celebration of Nubian Studies and will play its role in the advancement of this field” – says Obłuski.
The conference is accompanied by two exhibitions. One commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the International Society for Nubian Studies: Warsaw 1972–2022 (in the Main Hall of the University of Warsaw Old Library). The other, “From Faras to Soba. To the rescue of Sudan’s archaeological heritage” is an open-air poster exhibition in Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, in front of the University of Warsaw Museum (read more). It showcases the history and results of 60 years of work by Polish archaeologists and conservators in Sudan.
A richly illustrated, 500-page album of the same title has been released online in open access. The bi-lingual book (in Polish and English) presents the work of more than 20 archaeological projects from several Polish research institutions studying dozens of archaeological sites. The texts are authored both by expedition directors and specialists in various fields affiliated with the projects (read more).
The conference was financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Poland for the task „Internationalization of research of the University of Warsaw Archaeological Research Centers”.
The organization of the conference was also supported by a grant from the University of Warsaw program “Excellence Initiative – Research University” (IDUB).