Hajar al-Merwa is a huge quartzite outcrop some 400 kilometres north of Khartoum, just above the Great Nile Bend.It is situated in the desert, about one kilometre from the river bank. Despite the fact that it is not very visually prominent, the rock must have been a significant landmark in antiquity. It carries incised and painted boundary inscriptions in the names of Thutmose I and Thutmose III, two pharaohs of the 18th dynasty. These inscriptions represent the southernmost testimonies of Pharaonic Egypt and officially mark the southern limit of its control or, probably more precisely, the southernmost point to which Egyptian expeditions advanced up the Nile.
Several inscriptions by Egyptian officials from the same period are additional sources of historical interest, not least since they shed light on the organisation of expeditions in that time. Inscriptions of the 19th dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II demonstrate the continued interest of the Egyptians in this area.