Often overlooked by the mainstream, the oases in the Western Desert of Egypt offer a unique view to the history of ancient Egypt. The history of the oases parallels the history of the Nile Valley, but there is a more rustic view. Of the oases, the Dakhleh Oasis, one of the furthest oases from the Nile Valley, shines as an archaeological star, presenting to the world an almost uninterrupted chronology of ancient Egypt stretching from the Predynastic period through modern times. This paper will touch upon each ancient Egyptian era until the Graeco-Roman period, bringing together a number of sources, but focusing mostly on the archaeological records supplied by the scientists working in Dakhleh.
Two teams of archaeologists currently work in Dakhleh. Monash University in Australia excavates at the sites of Deir Abu Metta, Muzawwaqa, Ismant el-Kharab or ancient Kellis, and Mut el-Kharab. New York University (NYU) has recently taken over the American work in Dakhleh from Columbia University. NYU is excavating the sites Amheida and Ain el-Gedida. The archaeological site records produced by both these institutions were invaluable to the following research.
Before it is possible to view a snapshot of ancient Egyptian history through the lens of the Dakhleh Oasis, the oases must be first examined from the perspective of the Nile Valley, albeit briefly.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A Condensed History of the Dakhleh Oasis – Part 1