Statues of 'black pharaohs' found in Sudan

Khartoum - Granite statues and stelae of pharaohs who ruled from northern Sudan more than 2 600 years ago - including the last "black pharaohs" - have been found by a team of French and Swiss archeologists, a statement said on Sunday.

The artefacts represented kings Taharqa and Tanutamon, the last of the black pharaohs, as well as monarchs Senkamanisken and Aspelta, who all lived during 600 BC, the French embassy said in the statement.

These discoveries "represent a significant contribution to the history of ancient Sudan and without a doubt count among the masterpieces of sculpture worldwide," the team said in the statement.

The artefacts were found in a grave in Kerma, south of the Third Cataract of the Nile, by a team from the University of Geneva headed by Charles Bonnet, and including French archeologist Dominique Valbelle.

Like the Egyptian kings, the kings of Kush were also buried in pyramids.

Taharqa, who ruled from 690 to 664 BC, was part of a dynasty that controlled Egypt until the Assyrian conquest began and his reign was pushed back to between the third and fourth cataracts. - Sapa-AP

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