The Kerma Museum was inaugurated on January 19, 2008. It presents an overview of region’s archaeology from the first human settlements up to, but not including, the current period.



Kerma Museum
Northern Province

Schedule – Entrance Fees

Open daily, from 10am to 7pm
Except Monday and religious holidays
Museum: donations welcome
Archaeological site of Kerma: 10 $

Getting There

The road between Khartoum and the modern city of Kerma is almost entirely asphalted. However, the last 50 km of desert track make the last leg of the journey slightly more difficult. The museum’s location next to the ancient city makes it a true “site museum.” Visitors may access it to discover the main temple and the restored foundations of numerous buildings and fortifications.




The museum was born of the High Committee for the Kerma Cultural Complex initiative.

Founded in 1999, this Sudanese committee has for goal the protection and the promotion of the region’s past. Together with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museum (NCAM), the committee supervised the construction work started in 2003 with the erection of the monumental entrance located in front of the ancient city’s deffufa. Local and regional businesses were contracted out and financing was assured by a Sudanese-Swiss partnership. The museum’s first inauguration was held on January 19, 2008, and attended by local and national authorities.

The museum has become a major cultural venue for the inhabitants of Kerma, who value the enhancement of Nubian history and the role the museum plays in the development of the region. The building is inspired by traditional Nubian architecture with a vaulted roof; the many vaults are pierced by triangular openings that allow daylight into the museum galleries. While certain rooms are administrative offices and workspace for the curators, the majority is dedicated exhibition space.

North of the museum, a secondary entrance gives access to a small hotel and garden reserved for passing tourists. South, a cultural centre for Nubian studies is currently under construction.



The museum aims to retrace the history and prehistory of the region. It is included in a tour of the three major archaeological sites of the area: Dukki Gel, the city of Kerma and the eastern necropolis. In fact, the entrance faces the western deffufa and it thus gives visitors easy access to the ancient city located a few steps away.



The museum’s exhibition gallery covers a surface of approximately 500 square metres. A corridor opens onto a wide central hall that in turn gives way to a series of smaller rooms. The central hall comprises columns and a 70 cm high podium, where are displayed the statues of the black pharaohs. A white wall serves as backdrop in order to highlight them.

The first step of the exhibition project to display the statues started in June 2006. Scenographer Pierre-Alain Bertola and graphic designer Laurent Bonnet took over the staging, first by creating a drawing, then a canvas that was placed where these exceptional works would be displayed. The second step took place during winter 2006-2007 and consisted of the restoration of these statues and their installation on the platform.


Didactic Panels

A first series of panels introducing the museum is displayed on a side of this central space, while a second describing the discovery of the statues is affixed to the other side. These 16 bilingual (Arabic and English) didactic panels were designed in Switzerland. Measuring between one to two metres square, these panels present by means of large photographs, tables and texts the different cultures that have developed in the region. One panel was designed for each of the main periods (Prehistory, Kingdom of Kerma, Kingdom of Napata and Meroe), delving deeper in the understanding of cultural evolution.



The museum includes forty cases, designed in Switzerland and created in Khartoum during 2006 by a small specialized firm. They measure 220 cm in height by 170 cm in width, their depth either 30 cm or 60 cm depending on the size of objects displayed. At the end of 2006, the cases were sent in pieces to the Kerma Museum together with technicians who would assemble them. During 2007-2008, these were installed in the galleries and the archaeological objects placed within them. This incredibly rich collection of artefacts is entirely dedicated to the prehistory and history of the Kerma region. With it, it is possible to illustrate the human evolution of Sudan’s Northern Province over hundreds of thousands of years.


Scale Models

Three scale models—of the Mesolithic hut of el-Barga (7500 B.C.), the proto-urban agglomeration of the Pre-Kerma (3000 B.C.) and the ancient city of Kerma (2500-1500 B.C.)—give a glimpse of the world of the living. They show the evolution of settlements for each of the key periods in Nubian history. Huts indicate the birth of a sedentary way of life, the agglomeration confirms the settling of populations on a territory and the capital of the Kingdom of Kerma marks the culmination of the complexification of Nubian architecture with its ever more monumental constructions. The three models were created in Switzerland by Hugo Lienhard and were installed in the museum in January 2009.



Life-size reconstructions present three tombs dated to different periods. They retrace the evolution and the complexification of funerary rituals, highlighting the beliefs surrounding the dead. Created with materials from the sites themselves and from known models, these scenes are the reconstructions of burials observed during excavations.



Galleries dedicated to the Napatan and Meroitic periods highlight the numerous fragments of painted or carved blocks. Discovered during the Dukki Gel excavations et stored for several years in the hangars near the site, they are now visible, having been carefully placed by Dominique Valbelle on shelves created specifically for their display. Statuettes and stone or terracotta figurines are also displayed in the New Kingdom vitrines.


Several partners have supported the creation of the museum since 2003. The High Committee of the Kerma Cultural Complex and the Swiss archaeological mission have benefited from the participation of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of Sudan (construction), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland) (construction and museography), the Federal Office of Culture (Switzerland) (restoration of the statues and museography) as well as private Sudanese funds.


Case Design and staging of the statues

Pierre-Alain Bertola, scenographer


Graphic Design

Laurent Bonnet


Didactic Panel Translation

Caroline M. Rocheleau (English)
Farid Amal (Arabic)


Model Production

Hugo Lienhard


Design and staging of the display cases

Philippe Geslin, Magali Babey, Unité EDANA, Haute Ecole Ingénieurs He-Arc