Archive for the ‘Faiyum’ Category

Lake Qarun searched for antiquities

July 19, 2010

Yahoo! News

Egyptian experts have begun to explore the depths of Lake Qarun south of Cairo using remote sensing radars in search of sunken artefacts, antiquities officials told AFP on Wednesday.

Antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass said the work was launched a few days ago. “It is the first time ever that the antiquities department carries out an archaeological mission in Lake Qarun.”

Khaled Saeed, who heads the department of pre-historic affairs at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the team under his supervision hopes to pinpoint “huge basalt rocks” at the bottom of Lake Qarun.

According to Saeed, the discovery of the rocks was first made by Egyptian-American scientist Faruq al-Baz, a veteran of NASA’s Apollo programme, five years ago.

Baz, who now runs the Centre for Space Studies at Boston University, was carrying out a satellite survey of Egypt’s Western Desert when he and his team discovered in the Lake Qarun area “a large number of huge blocks of rock.”

“I believe that these huge slabs are made of basalt (volcanic rock) which were eventually moved upstream to the Giza plateau for the construction of the Great Pyramid,” Saeed said.

Teams of divers are examining a 10-kilometre (6.2 mile) long stretch of sea bed in Lake Qarun, Saeed added.

Also on Google / AFP.

The Faiyum under threat

February 26, 2008

Geoffrey Tassie has written a paper, posted online at which looks at the modern threat to the archaeology of the Faiyum.  Here’s his introduction:

“As already highlighted in the ECHO news article Faiyumi Sites to be placed on Tourist Map, the Faiyum Depression has been selected for development. These plans were originally formulated in 2005, by the Minister of Tourism, Ahmed el-Maghrabi and the Minister of Environment, Engineer Maged George. These plans were devised to boost environmental tourism, particularly in the Western Desert, the Bahariya Oasis and the Faiyum. These plans for the development of eco-tourism are also intended to encourage the development of communities and aid economic progress in the surrounding areas. This proposed development of the north Faiyum is compounded by the building of the 1,200 km Desert Development Corridor “superhighway” running from El-Aleman in the north to Lake Nasser in the South. A rail-track will run parallel to the superhighway. Twelve East-West connectors are planned to connect the superhighway to the main centres of population, one of which is the Faiyum Branch connector. This project is designed to promote the development of the desert north of the Faiyum depression by establishing sites for tourism, new communities and agricultural areas. It also would allow an extension to the west of the Depression for the establishment of industries such as cement production”.

See the above page for the full paper.