Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 03-Feb-2017
Cost: Meetings are Free to members, Guests $5 – Students with ID $2
Update on the Neolithic Sheikh Muftah Culture of Dakhleh Oasis and its Mysterious Clayton Rings, and New Insights into Desert Travel in Early Pharaonic Times
The Sheikh Muftah is a late Neolithic cultural group that occupied Dakhleh Oasis in the Egyptian Western Desert ca. 4000-2200 BC, overlapping in time with the Old Kingdomites from the Nile Valley who colonized the oasis starting about 2600 BC. We of the Dakhleh Oasis Project (DOP) describe the Sheikh Muftah as nomadic pastoralists (raising cattle and goats) confined to the wettest parts of the oasis at a time when the surrounding desert was becoming hyperarid. This picture of exclusively oasis-bound herders had to be modified however as a result of new fieldwork conducted by the ACACIA archaeological project from Germany. ACACIA archaeologists work in the desert beyond the oases, and are particularly interested in tracing the network of roads left by ancient travelers crossing the desert. ACACIA found caches of Clayton rings, strange artifacts made by Sheikh Muftah people, distributed far and wide across the Western Desert. They have also discovered well-marked paths left by Old Kingdom expeditions travelling southwestward from Dakhleh Oasis. ACACIA is able to show that Sheikh Muftah travelers and Old Kingdom travelers used very different methods of navigating their way across the empty desert.
About the speaker:
Room EDC 287 in the Education Block at the University of Calgary.