Ancient Egypt’s Lost Legacy?
The Buduma Culture of Lake Chad
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Aside from archeological remains, does any of ancient Egypt survive today? We use Egypt’s 12-hour clock. Our word for paper comes from papyrus. Could an ancient Egyptian enclave still exist in a remote region of Arica – a mythical lost world hidden by geographical barriers?
For three thousand years, Egypt was the dominant super-power in North Africa. Its language and culture spread to other regions south of the Sahara. Ancient Egyptian traders may have settled at Lake Chad, a landlocked sea in the Sahara – a vast waterway resembling the Nile.
The Buduma people of the remote and impenetrable Lake Chad region maintained several traditions of ancient Egyptian technology and culture. They did not build monuments (there is little stone in the Lake Chad basin). Nor did they write hieroglyphic texts. They had no powerful Pharaohs or conquering armies. Few anthropologists studied them on their wilderness lake.
The Buduma of the 1960s lived like Egyptian commoners on the Nile five thousand years ago. They built papyrus reed boats and fished for Nile perch. They herded what may be descendants of ancient Egyptian cattle. They played the ancient Egyptian arched harp. Most importantly, the Buduma spoke Yedina, a Chadic language related to Ancient Egyptian.
Perhaps the Buduma were a living link to ancient Egypt, insulated from conquest and change by the profound isolation of Lake Chad. With the drying of Lake Chad due to global warming, the Buduma have now dispersed. This photo-essay provides a unique record of what may be the last decades of their culture.
About the Author
Guy Immega, a retired aerospace engineer, worked on a Peace Corps medical team in Africa from 1966 to 1968. While living in the village of N’Guigmi in eastern Niger, he built a boat to survey schistosomiasis (a parasitic disease) in Lake Chad. While sailing on the lake, he came into contact with the Buduma people in their home environment.
What's New in Version 2
Using DNA from the male Y chromosome, the migration of Chadic speaking peoples to the Lake Chad Basin has been dated at 6000-5000 BC.
Guy Immega, a former Peace Corps volunteer, has written a fascinating account of his time in a small village in Niger on the shores of Lake Chad. He argues that the Budema living 1800 kilometres from Egypt are the remote ancestors of the ancient Egyptians.Four cross-cultural things fuel his argument: a harp, a breed of cattle, papyrus boats, and linguistic similarites. It reads like anthropology with the suspense of a thriller.His photos frm his personal collection and some from the Met add a great deal to the pleasure of reading htis book.