Mysterious Karma: A New Tourist Destination In The Nile Basin

Though the rich history is hidden from the public eye, the constant research of archaeologists gives us new surprises every moment. We know about many civilizations in the world like Mesopotamian civilization, Indus civilization, Maya civilization, Roman civilization, Egyptian civilization, and many more civilizations.

But we have little idea about an even more ancient civilization called the Karma civilization. Rich in agriculture, industry, and trade, this civilization is the beacon of light for all civilizations.

Karma was the capital city of the Karma culture, located in present-day Sudan 5500 years ago. Although said to be 5500 years old, this civilization was originally founded in 8350 BC.

Karma is one of the largest archaeological sites in ancient Nubia (a region ruled by the Egyptian pharaohs). As a result of the extensive excavations and research of the last few decades, many signs of this prehistoric culture have come before the people of the world.

Excavations have uncovered thousands of graves and the residential quarters of the main city surrounding Lower Defufa. The first settlement of Karma discovered in excavations dates back to 8350 BC, during the Mesolithic period.

Between 5500 and 5150 BC, the area was largely abandoned. It is believed that during this period the flow of the Nile River decreased and therefore most of the area was abandoned. Between 4050 and 3450 BC, a second phase of settlement at Karma began as the Nile’s flow increased again.

From that time a tribal culture around Karma began to develop. Karma later developed into a large urban center known as West Defufa which refers to the township surrounding a large adobe temple. Between 2550 and 1550 BCE, Karma formed a state structure known as the Karma Empire.

The Karma Kingdom was an early civilization centered on the Karma of Sudan. At first, it extended to ‘Upper Nubia’ in the southern part of Nubia and ‘Lower Nubia’ in the north and later northwards to the borders of Egypt.

During Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, the Kerman polity was one of the most prominent of several states in the Nile Valley. Karma had intimate connections with Egypt. Karma had the impression of Egypt in almost all fields including politics, economy, and art.

Karma was one of the kingdoms of Egypt that lasted from about 1700 to 1500 BC. By 1700 BC, Karma was home to a population of at least 10,000. Much of the imagery found in the themes and executions of the various Egyptian arts is attributed to Karmans.

Karmans worked independently in Egypt and contributed greatly to the development of Egyptian art. For that reason, Egypt has many similarities with the art of karma.

Eco-Political Structure of Mysterious Karma

Whatever we call the Karma civilization, empire, or culture, it was known only as an area of Sudan centered around its own metropolitan city, the cemetery. However, recent research and excavations have identified several areas belonging to Karma.

It contains many channels of the Nile which are now dry due to the modern course of the Nile but were formerly flowing. The researched images give us the idea that Karma was a populous empire at that time.

The survey showed that Karma was located far upstream of the dam upstream of Abu Hamad/Mograt Island. Karma was clearly a major political entity. Various Egyptian records and documents mention its rich and populous agricultural region.

Egyptian civilization was vast but Karma was the complete opposite. Several surveys show that Karma was a centralized civilization but its power, activities, and industrial and commercial expansion extended beyond Egypt.

Numerous rural community settlements have been found scattered along the arable land in the Karma region. But there were some districts where animal husbandry prevailed.

Various gold processing centers have also come up in the research. Some of the cities of Karma were the most important for the concentration of trade, including agricultural products.

This clearly shows that the commercial importance of the Karma empire was the highest at that time. Excavations have revealed a large number of cattle skulls in the royal tombs of the Karma region.

From its analysis, the researchers think that the residents of the village may have offered them to the tombs from far away as a tribute to the death of the kings. Later researchers considered the importance of cattle as royal property in other regions of Africa to be of parallel value.

Only the island centers of Karma and Sai are thought to have had large urban populations. Perhaps further excavations may reveal other regional centers in the future. At Karma and Sai, there is much evidence of settlements of wealthy and elites.

They monitored the trade of goods arriving from distant countries and supervised shipments from administrative buildings. Apparently, Karma played an important role as an intermediary in the trade of luxury goods from Central Africa to Egypt.

Karma Cemetery and Royal Tombs

Karma has a cemetery with over 30,000 graves. The cemetery is decorated in a simple pattern that has its peculiarities. Large graves are ringed by smaller graves, indicating patterns of social stratification.

On the southern boundary of the site are burial mounds, four of which extend over 90 meters (300 ft) in diameter. These are believed to be the tombs of the final kings of Karma, with some motifs and artwork resembling designs of Egyptian gods such as Horus.

Generally, Egyptian influence can be seen in many things, especially in material evidence such as graves and pottery. There is abundant artifact evidence in objects such as Karman scarab seals and amulets, testifying to Karman’s extensive trade with ancient Egypt as well as the exchange of cultural ideas.

History of Karma

There is no record of the history of the Karmans. However, Kermans are mentioned in many documents of Egyptian history. At one time Karma was under the rule of the Naqada clan of Egypt.

The Nakadars referred to the Kermans as ‘Nubia’. The Naqada emperors dreamed of conquering Nubia and spreading their influence throughout the Nile River. According to the plan, they conquered Nubia and ruled for a long time.

The Nubians we now know as the Karmans. But as the regime ages, so does its power. That is why the southern region of Nubia gradually fell out of the hands of the Egyptian rulers.

Egypt’s view of the Nilans’ occupation of the southern region is that they believe that outsiders have taken over the southern region. However, the pharaohs still accepted foreigners who came to Egypt as guests.

Outsiders from other regions, including Kerman, established temporary settlements here and established trade relations with the Egyptians. However, there were occasional tensions on the border but no major casualties. Neither side would cross the border to avoid casualties.

The Hyksos contributed the most to the rise of cannon. The Hyksos kings rose in Egypt due to the influx of immigrants from Palestine in the early 18th century BC. The Palestinian immigrants who came to Egypt were the Hyksos.

The immigrants brought with them new technology, including horses and chariots, bows and arrows, and advanced metal weapons. Most of them settled in the eastern part of the Nile Delta.

They had a friendly alliance with the Karmans. The Kermans dreamed of climbing to the top of cultural prosperity by exploiting the advantages of their trade routes and the acquisition of the resources of the African Sahara desert.

The Egyptian Empire was a strong obstacle in the way of Karman’s dream. They were the only thorn in the road that Karman had drawn the blueprint to remove.

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt was the weakest and most transient of the three empires. There was conflict and strife within themselves. Around 1800 BC their downfall was imminent.

Taking advantage of this weakness of the Middle Kingdom, the Kermans attacked the Middle Kingdom of the Egyptian Pharaohs with the help of the Hyksos.

As a result of this tragic fate of the Egyptians, the Karmans took possession of the entire southern region of the Nile. The Hyksos king ascended the throne of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom.

The new king of the Hyksos moved their capital from Avaris to the Nile Delta. The Karma Empire, like the Egyptian Empire, is the Pre-Karma Empire, the Middle Karma Empire, and the Great Karma Empire; It was divided into three eras.

The Pre-Karma Empire lasted from 2500 BC to 2050 BC. Very little is known about this era. The fall of the Middle Karmic Empire occurred around 2050 BC. It lasted until 1750 BC. It was during this time that Karma was the most formidable rival in southern Egypt.

Gash Group, a Neolithic culture that flourished in Eritrea and eastern Sudan from 3000 to 1800 BC. Throughout its development, there was a deep connection with karma.

For centuries, the Gash people were included in the circuit of commercial exchange between Egypt and the southern Nile Valley, so Mahal Teglinos became an important trading partner of the Karma Empire.

This trade activity clearly contributed to the social upliftment of the region. By 2300 BCE, early C-group cultures also appeared in Lower Nubia. This culture is believed to have spread from the Dongola Reach (area near Karma) into the Karma Empire.

Thus, by the second millennium BC, Karma had become the center of a large kingdom that was probably the first in the eastern Sudan and the arch-rival of Egypt.


Early archeology at Karma began with an Egyptian and Sudanese survey. George A. of Harvard University. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Reisner and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Reisner conducted this survey program called ‘Harvard-Boston’ for three field seasons (1913-1916). Karma-i was the oldest archaeological site excavated in this region of South Sudan.

A basic chronology of karma culture was established based on Reisner’s Harvard-Boston expedition. This survey is considered a guide for all subsequent surveys and research. Reisner’s precise excavation techniques, site reports, and other publications made it possible to later reinterpret his findings.

The most important element in the Karma archeology is Defufa. Lower/Western Dafufa (a large tomb structure) was found near the river. Found a few kilometers from the Upper/Eastern Defufa River.

Reisner found many similarities in ancient Egyptian culture with the architectural techniques and statues discovered at Lower/West Defufa (52.3 m by 26.7 m, or 150 by 100 Egyptian cubits).

He assumed it was a castle. He did not excavate further than the suspected settlement around Lower Defufa. George A.

Reisner considers this archeology to be a satellite town of the ancient Egyptians on the banks of the Nile. However, excavations conducted by Charles Bonnet and the University of Geneva in the late 20th century confirmed that this was not the case.

Excavations uncovered a large independent urban complex that ruled much of the Great Karmic Empire for centuries.

There is war, civil war in the country today. The situation in Sudan is not good either. But even though Sudan’s situation is not good, its history teaches us many things. The history of the Nile and Karma in the rise of ethnicity, politics, economy, and civilization is a great instructive history for modern civilization. Uncovering the history of the Karmans’ economic prosperity may have accelerated the progress of warlike modern civilization.

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