'Evil Eye' Box Uncovered in Ancient Cemetery

Archaeologists excavate tombs from Kush kingdom in Sudan

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2014 5:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – People in the ancient kingdom of Kush not only believed in the afterlife, they apparently feared the evil eye—in the afterlife, LiveScience reports. Archaeologists excavating a 2,000-year-old cemetery near the Nile River in Sudan say that among many artifacts, they found a box decorated with eyes likely thought to protect the deceased from the evil eye. The so-called "udjat" eyes were "a well-known tradition in Egypt," says Sudanese archaeologist Mahmoud Bashir. "It had a kind of ritual role to [protect] from the evil eye." (The evil eye—a look that someone gives a person or thing that causes it harm—dates back to ancient Roman and Greek texts as well as the Bible, where it is written in Proverbs 23:6, "Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats," notes another LiveScience article.)

Other tomb findings offer insights into the Kush kingdom, which thrived in Sudan and covered a wide area bordering on Roman-dominated Egypt. Archaeologists discovered jugs that once held sorghum-made beer; seven attached bowls, possibly used like we might use a "party tray" today; and a ring bearing the image of a god—likely Amun, who bore horns in the Kush religious culture. They also found a man with a thumb ring, which was used for drawing back the bowstring in archery. The tombs, described in an online book, were found by villagers digging a ditch in 2002 near the modern-day town of Dangeil. LiveScience has photos here. (Meanwhile, Greece's largest ancient tomb has been unearthed.)

  (Shutterstock)
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