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What happened to the lost Kingdom of Kush? - Geoff Emberling

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Along the Nile River, in what is now northern Sudan, lay the ancient civilization of Kush. Though they were once conquered by a powerful neighbor, the kings and queens of Kush would go on to successfully challenge two of the most dominant empires in history: the Egyptians and the Romans. So what happened to this African kingdom? Geoff Emberling details the rise and fall of the Kush empire.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Geoff Emberling
  • Director Carlos Rupit Olvera, Lizeth Rodríguez
  • Narrator Safia Elhillo
  • Storyboard Artist Lizeth Rodríguez
  • Animator Carlos Rupit Olvera, Geovani Vázquez Sierra, Paulina Juárez Mandujano
  • Compositor Carlos Rupit Olvera
  • Art Director Jimena Estíbaliz
  • Composer Salil Bhayani, cAMP Studio
  • Sound Designer Amanda P.H. Bennett, cAMP Studio
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Associate Abdallah Ewis
  • See more creators
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Ancient Kush is probably better known as Nubia, even though the ancient people who built the cities, palaces, temples, and pyramids of this empire called it Kush. So looking more broadly for further information about Kush, we have to include some material on Nubia.

A written overview of Kush with photos is here.

The richest online museum collection relating to ancient Kush is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Their collection search tool leads to photos of individual objects with additional information about them. Try searching the names of the capital cities of Kush (Kerma, Jebel Barkal, and Meroe) as well as the royal cemeteries of El-Kurru and Nuri. All of them were excavated by the American archaeologist George Reisner from 1913-1924, and he brought back abundant material from these projects.

There are several recent longer documentaries that showcase recent archaeological work in Sudan relating to ancient Kush. None of them is currently freely available, but can be viewed for a modest fee:

Africa’s Great Civilizations, part 1 (PBS, 2017)
Lost Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs (Science Channel, 2019)

A Smithsonian magazine article by the Sudanese author Isma’il Kushkush (2021) discusses recent archaeological work on ancient Kush.

A 2018 lecture by Geoff Emberling discusses some of the ways that Kush has been remembered in history.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Geoff Emberling
  • Director Carlos Rupit Olvera, Lizeth Rodríguez
  • Narrator Safia Elhillo
  • Storyboard Artist Lizeth Rodríguez
  • Animator Carlos Rupit Olvera, Geovani Vázquez Sierra, Paulina Juárez Mandujano
  • Compositor Carlos Rupit Olvera
  • Art Director Jimena Estíbaliz
  • Composer Salil Bhayani, cAMP Studio
  • Sound Designer Amanda P.H. Bennett, cAMP Studio
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Associate Abdallah Ewis
  • See more creators

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