Polish archaeologists will train tourist guides in Old Dongola, Sudan. This is an element of building partnerships between the scientific community and local residents - said the Centre of Mediterranean Archeology (CAŚ) of the University of Warsaw.
Dongola, the capital of the former kingdom of Makuria, has been explored by expeditions of the Centre of Mediterranean Archeology at the University of Warsaw (CAŚ UW) for over 50 years. Makuria was a powerful kingdom that existed between the 6th to the 14th century near the 2nd and 5th Nile cataract. For several centuries it may have reached as far north as almost modern Aswan.
According to Polish scientists, Dongola has significant tourist potential, which is still waiting to be discovered. That is why they want to work out a way for the cultural heritage to become a real development opportunity for the local community.
Building a common understanding of the history and value of monuments in cooperation with local communities is key to preserving the archaeological heritage and ensuring its survival. This approach, focusing on joint development, is one of the priorities for the head of the ERC grant project in Dongola and p.o. Director of CAŚ UW Dr. Artur Obłuski.
The problem with the protection and management of many archaeological sites is that these places are often more interesting for scientists - whether local or foreign - than for local residents.
In recent months, the Polish mission operating in Dongola has organised a number of activities popularising knowledge about this place. For example, during the Open Day event, the Polish stand was visited by over 1,000 people. This winter, in El-Ghaddar near Dongola, Poles will organise meetings for school pupils and teachers.
According to the researchers, the activities are part of a joint effort of archaeologists and local partners for a more inclusive and community-oriented approach to archeology and cultural heritage protection. It is also a step that in the long run can increase Dongola's chances of being nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage list.