Hunting with stone lines: The ancient game traps in Egypt and Nubia

Ancient game trap at Gharb Aswan

Ancient game trap at Gharb Aswan. Photo by Per Storemyr.

There is still a lot of important archaeology to be found in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia. One group of archaeological sites is hunting features, in particular the extremely widespread ancient game traps along no less than a 400 km stretch of the Nile, from el-Hosh in Upper Egypt south to the Sudan border. Since they are so poorly known, I have recently published a summary of our knowledge.

Here’s the abstract of the paper, published in Sahara 22 and titled “The ancient stone-built game traps at Gharb Aswan and beyond, Lower Nubia and Upper Egypt“:

“Spread along a 400 km stretch of the Nile, especially on the west bank from el-Hosh in Upper Egypt to the Sudan border in Lower Nubia, the poorly known stone-built game traps are evidence of large-scale ancient hunting practices in the region. This paper summarises field evidence at Gharb (West) Aswan and el-Hosh and includes results of a Google Earth search for traps south of the High Dam at Aswan. The game traps come as stone lines broken up by funnel-shaped openings called chutes; systems which in some places block wadis and valleys over dozens of kilometres slightly to the west of the Nile. Many are thought to predate the New Kingdom, perhaps belonging to the Nubian C-Group. More research is needed to clarify this hypothesis, as well as questions related to which animals that were trapped (dorcas gazelle?), the function of the traps (passive hunting?) and how the hunting was organised.”

And here is the full paper: PDF, with kind permission from Sahara.

Gallery of selected traps at Gharb Aswan (click here for more information about the archaeology of the area).

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!
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