Sunday, February 25, 2007

Weekly Websites

The Promise of Egypt's Maritime Legacy. By Cheryl Ward, Ph.D.
From the INA Quarterly 20.2 (1993) 3-7
"Each year, winter storms batter the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, washing away the sediment that is the Nile Delta. Since the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Upper Egypt, the mighty Nile no longer deposits great quantities of soil along its course through flooding. Instead, tons of rich earth that could replenish the land and enlarge the Delta remain behind the massive dam while the storms and sea currents carve away one to twelve feet of the Delta every year.
While this erosion is potentially catastrophic for villages and both ancient and modern cities near the Delta coastline, it also brings tremendous opportunities to explore the nautical heritage of Egypt. Ancient Egypt's commercial and political clout brought pirates and merchants, slaves and kings, and mercenaries and warriors to its harbors. And each year, the cycle of Nile floods brought sediment to envelop ships that met violent ends through battle, treachery, ignorance or storms, ships that now lie exposed on the seabed.
Waterborne commerce, exchange, and warfare played crucial roles in the rise of civilization in the ancient Near East. Egypt's history is intertwined with exploitation and control of water transport, and her Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts and the Nile thoroughfare offer an incredibly rich collection of Mediterranean and eastern Arab riverine, shipbuilding, and seafaring traditions. Yet this highly developed maritime transport network remains virtually unexplored except for hulls that have been discovered in funerary complexes on the Nile's western bank."
See the above page for the full paper. It prints off as three pages of A4 in landscape.

Royal Land in Ptolemaic Egypt: A Demographic Model
By Andrew Monson, Stanford University
The full paper (29 pages in PDF format) are at the above page. The abstract is as follows:
"Studies of Ptolemaic agrarian history have focused on the nature of state ownership. Recent work has emphasized the regional differences between the Fayyum, where royal land was prevalent, and Upper Egypt, where private land rights were already established. This study proposes a demographic model that regards communal rights on royal land as an adaptation to risk and links privatization with population pressure. These correlations and their reflection in Demotic and Greek land survey data raise doubts about the common view that patterns of tenure on royal land in the Fayyum can be attributed to more intensive state control over this region than the Nile Valley. Version 2.0 is substantially revised and replaces the earlier version."

BBC Ancient Egypt website
An excellent resource for both adults and children, with different sections dedicated to different aspects of Ancient Egyptian life. Examples include: Sacred Animals of Ancient Egypt, Mummies Around the World, Daily Life, and Health Hazards and Cures. There are also a series of articles by well known writers including John Baines, Ian Shaw, Aidan Dodson and Fekri Hassan.
The site is introduced by Joyce Tyldesley with a paper entitled Ancient Egypt and the Modern World at

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