Antiquities: Miracle from the Desert

For centuries, scholars have wondered what ever became of Pachoras, the lost capital of the medieval Christian kingdom of Nobatia in the cliffbound reaches of the Nile above the First Cataract. Nobatia flourished between the 7th and the 14th centuries in what the Egyptians once called Nubia, but it ultimately fell before Arab invaders. Arab documents referred to Pachoras, but no trace of it remained. The question took on a new urgency with the impending construction of the Aswan Dam, which threatened to submerge the area.

In 1961, armed with a UNESCO grant,...

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