Archaeologists recently uncovered a network of hidden rooms under a house in Sudan containing Christian artwork dating back to the medieval era.
Once the capital of the Nubian kingdom Makuria, the complex of rooms was found in Old Dongola, a deserted town in the Northern state of Sudan.
The Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA) at the University of Warsaw released a statement about this discovery on April 5, stating that two archaeologists, Dr. Lorenzo de Lellis and Dr. Maciej Wyżgoł, are the ones that found the hidden rooms.
The Connections podcast: real life, real faith
"The king bows to Christ, who is seated in the clouds, and kisses his hand," says the PCMA. "The ruler is supported by Archangel Michael, whose spread wings shield both the king and Christ himself. Such a scene finds no parallels in Nubian painting."
The artwork was created with sundried bricks with Mary, the mother of Jesus, believed to be the third person in the scene.
According to Artur Obluski the director at PCMA UW, the scene was created around 1276 CE.
Seems that gods of excavations favoured us in the very last season of @ERC_Research #Umma grant . We found not only the stone blocks from walls and floor of a #Napatan temple of #Amun of #GemAton #Kawa but also enigmatic complex of chambers covered with wall paintings pic.twitter.com/6pSCDBOgj2— Artur Obluski (@arturobluski) April 6, 2023
The paintings had written inscriptions throughout that are being studied. At this point, the texts are believed to be of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Researchers speculate that the painting was created as the Mamluk army approached the city or had already laid siege to it, sacking Nubia for the first time in its history. Egypt invaded Nubia in retaliation for Makurian King David having attacked Egypt.
To keep this wall and artwork intact, the PCMA is working with the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts.
"The paintings were detached from the walls in some places, but the painted layer itself was remarkably well preserved," the Academy of Fine Arts says in a statement. "Conservators secured the wall paintings, made protective bands and putties, and filled the empty spaces between the wall and the plaster with injection fluid."
In the fall archaeologists are hoping to return to this site and deem whether or not the area is a royal commemorative complex.