Saturday, October 07, 2006

Desert origins of the pharaohs (
Detailed article (10 pages of A4 when printed) about the importance of Dakhleh Oasis in the prehistoric period: "The Western Desert of Egypt, near the Dakhleh Oasis, appears to be one of the most uninhabitable places on the planet. Any search for signs of life on this Martian surface seems pointless. But as we crest a ridge of sand, with chunks of ironstone clinking underfoot, archeologist Mary McDonald is about to show me something that puts paid to that notion: evidence that she has found not only the beginnings of settled life in North Africa, but almost certainly the beginnings of the longest-lasting civilizationthe world has ever known—the Pharaonic, or Dynastic, civilization of the Nile Valley, heretofore thought to have derived from elsewhere in the Middle East."

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