Tag Archives: ten quarries of ancient egypt

Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: Series summary

Egypt is world-renowned for its ancient quarries. Without them civilisation as we know it along the Nile would not have been possible. There are many spectacular quarries, popular way beyond the archaeological community. But there is also an enormous amount of quarries that rarely get the headlines. In the series Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt I have tried to highlight a few of those “unknowns”. They were the ones that particularly touched me during many seasons of walking the deserts bordering the Nile. Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 10 – Firework!

It’s New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year to you all! What could be better than to end this little series on Ancient Egyptian quarries with firework! It was Reginald Engelbach that first suggested the use of fire for stone quarrying … Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 9 – Palaeolithic quarries in the Eastern Desert

Practically the whole of Egypt is dotted with quarries and tool workshops dating to the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic (some 3-400.000 to 30.000 years ago), showing how our predecessors adapted to the geological resources along the Nile and in the adjacent deserts. I’m very far from an expert on these periods, but over the years I’ve often been truly fascinated by quarries from these times that just popped up while looking for much later archaeological remains. In 2006, while on a tourist trip in the Eastern Desert with Red Sea Desert Adventures, we started to look for Palaeolithic tools and quarries. They were really very common. An experience we share with other people that have traversed the Eastern Desert. Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 8 – The quarry at Widan el-Faras that disappeared

Many of you know the Old Kingdom basalt quarries at Widan el-Faras in the Northern Faiyum Desert. Some of you are also familiar with the partial destruction of the quarries by modern basalt quarrying. When we first started to work at Widan, about 12 years ago, in a project headed by Elizabeth Bloxam at UCL, the breathtaking lava and escarpment landscape was still quite pristine. A few years later a substantial part of the quarries had been eaten by machines. Though we had learnt by then that many other quarries in Egypt were under threat from modern development, Widan was a key reason for starting the QuarryScapes project – an EU-funded project on conservation of ancient quarries. Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 7 – Tracing a grinding stone quarry in the Sahara

In 2007 I was very happy to be invited to join Salima Ikram and Corinna Rossi‘s North Kharga Oasis Survey (NKOS). Great mission, great landscape. The landscape so breathtaking that I immensely enjoyed walking and looking for stone and quarries. Crude flint hammerstones turned up. One after the other, even small depots. Tracing the hammerstones for several kilometres paid off. At the end of the trail was the first grinding stone quarry found in the Western Desert of Egypt! Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 6 – Gebel Manzal el-Seyl volcanic tuff quarry

Looking for old quarries in Egypt’s Eastern Desert means that you are not only walking in the footsteps of ancient quarrymen, but also of archaeological geologist Jim Harrell. Jim has crisscrossed the Eastern Desert and found several very important quarries … Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 5 – “The loner” at Chephren’s Quarry

Most of you have heard about the famous, vast Old Kingdom Chephren’s Quarry in the far south of the Western Desert of Egypt. There are hundreds of quarry workings, which took advantage of clusters of big boulders in a flat … Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 4 – Wadi el-Muluk limestone quarry

It was my first trip to Egypt. In 1999, with Tom Heldal, I simply wanted to see as many old quarries as possible. We had several weeks at hand, meagre information on the location of quarries, and no idea of … Continue reading

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 3 – The Second Pyramid at Giza

A quarry? The Second Pyramid?? The Pyramid of Old Kingdom Pharaoh Chephren at Giza??? This is not a quarry – it is a Wonder of the World, it is a Pyramid! False. It is also a quarry!

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Ten quarries of Ancient Egypt: 2 – Rod el-Gamra dolerite porphyry quarry

Rod el-Gamra is a gem. A gem because it is small, even tiny, yet it features the typical archaeology that is found at ancient quarry sites. A gem because what was produced here, so-called naoi, are beautifully strewn in front … Continue reading

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