In 2011, photographer Christopher Michel chanced upon an online course about ancient Egypt and signed up. What was intended to be a diversion led, some six years later, to a voyage of 8,509 miles, to the orange deserts of Sudan.
Although it’s less famous than the grouping of pyramids at Giza in Egypt, the complex at Meroë in Sudan is remarkable. More than 200 pyramids, primarily dating from 300 B.C. to A.D. 350, mark the tombs of royalty of the Kingdom of Kush, which ruled Nubia for centuries. They are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, yet they remain relatively unknown. The Nubian pyramids differ from Egyptian ones: They are smaller—20 to 90 feet on a side, compared with the Great Pyramid’s 756 feet—with much steeper sides, and most were built two thousand years after those at Giza.