Meroë [key], ancient city in N Sudan, on the east bank of the Nile, N of Khartoum. In the mid-6th cent. b.c., Meroë replaced Napata as the central city of the Cushite dynasty (see Cush) and from 530 b.c. until a.d. 350 served as the capital of the dynasty. By the 1st cent. b.c., Meroë was a major center for iron smelting. It is believed that knowledge of iron casting was carried (7th–10th cent.) from the middle Nile to the middle Niger by a great African overland route. Among Meroë's extensive ruins are royal palaces (6th cent. b.c.) and a temple of Amon. Nearby are cemeteries and three groups of pyramids.
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