Nubia – The Other Gift of the Nile

Developed by Gail Desler and Cathie Conforti


"Here gold is found in great abundance and huge elephants, and ebony, and all sorts of trees growing wild."

Greek Historian Herodotus, writing about Nubia, 450 BC






Teacher Notes

Author Information



Much has been written about the splendors of ancient Egypt. Less has been written about ancient Nubia. Yet for centuries Nubia was a center of trade and cultural exchange in the ancient world.  Nubian kings and queens extended their power and influence up and down the Nile – at times, even conquering and ruling all of Egypt.  Today historians are questioning why Nubian history remains largely an untold story.  Unlike a novel, does the history of Nubia have more than one beginning, middle, and end?


You have the opportunity to uncover Nubia’s story – on a very large scale.  UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific Conservation Organization) has already funded the construction of the Nubian Museum. The location is yet to be determined.  UNESCO would like to extend this historic project by erecting a monument to symbolize Nubian history and accomplishments.  The members of UNESCO’s Design Review Team envision a monument of grand proportions that would rival the many Egyptian monuments that continue to draw visitors from all over the world.  They have asked you and your teammates to enter their Nubian Monument Design Competition. Before beginning this project, UNESCO recommends you visit the following sites for background information: Nubia Salvage Project, TIME magazine's article The Nile's Other Kingdom, and PBS's Wonders of the African World (be sure to visit the Retelling link).


Design Competition Requirements

Each entry must include the following:

  • An illustrated timeline showing the key people and events in Nubian history
  • A rationale for the project (UNESCO may use your justification of the project to help seek additional funding for construction costs)
  • A three-part design:
    • Statue of a historically significant person or object
    • Wall painting or relief depicting a historically significant event
    • Inscription from a primary source that would capture the spirit of the statue and wall painting or relief
  • A site proposal:
    • Clearly stated explanation of where the monument should be erected – Aswan, Kerma, Napata, or Meroe
    • Map of Africa with its modern nations.  Superimposed on this map should be an outline of Nubia.  Include a legend.
    • Explanation of how foreign visitors should travel to the monument.  Check to see if passports are required.




The deadline for the design competition is fast approaching.  In order to make the deadline, you will need to team with three to four history students.  Examine the roles and responsibilities listed below and decide who will take on each role.

Roles and Responsibilities

Online Resources:


Decide as a group, how you will present your design competition entry. Keep in mind that you will be presenting in front of a review team (your teacher and classmates). Be sure your design entry can be easily viewed by the audience. Each team member will be expected to participate equally in the oral presentation. Use the Scoring Guide for Oral Presenatations as your checklist.

In order to meet the design competition deadline, you will need to work together cooperatively and make every minute of classroom and at-home research time count. As you begin the project, read through the specific individual scoring guide for your role (see EVALUATION). Be sure to use the scoring guide as a checklist before turning in your part of the project.


Individual Scoring Guides

Group Scoring Guides


If your life story were written by someone other than you, how accurate would it be? How might your story differ if you wrote it rather than another family member? Or someone who had never met you? Or someone who disliked you? How about the story of Nubia? Whose history is it really? Traditionally who has told the story of Nubia? Can you think of a more recent example from history that possibly has more than one viewpoint? Could the story of the Alamo, the Boston Massacre, or the Vietnam War, presidential elections, for example, be told in more than one way? Could there be more than one truth in history? Can more than one viewpoint be correct? Can there be a blending of truths? Since completing this project, what questions would you now ask when evaluating information?


History-Social Science Content Standards for California