Monday, March 14, 2011

Ancient Egyptians made the arduous trek to Chad

A trip across the desert of south-west Egypt is not for the faint of heart. Modern day travellers departing south-west from the Dakhla Oasis will find themselves hitting their flasks as they traverse the Egyptian wilderness. Water sources are scarce, the area is sparsely populated and the lack of landmarks means you’ll want to keep your GPS system in good order.

Passing by Gilf Kebir, a plateau the size of Puerto Rico, you’ll find prehistoric cave paintings, evidence of a time when the climate was much more favourable to human life. Assuming you keep a south-west direction, and don’t get lost, you’ll come across a mountain range called Jebel Uweinat. Straddling the Egyptian-Libyan-Sudanese border, travellers will find springs there and – if you know where to look – a recently discovered 4,000 year old inscription, written in the name of Mentuhotep II, a Pharaoh credited with reuniting Egypt.

If you continue south-west you’ll cross the border into south-east Libya and, if you keep on going, venture into the north-east corner of Chad, in Central Africa. It’s a daunting, perilous, journey. And now, thanks to a body of new archaeological, textual, environmental and linguistic research, we have evidence that the ancient Egyptians undertook it.

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1 comment:

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