Pleasant living in Amarna

Pleasant living in Amarna

Many houses have been excavated in Amarna over the last century. More than five hundred houses were the subject of studies, one of which was how climate was controlled inside buildings. In this article I will describe some of this research. In present-day Egypt the temperature in summer can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius. At night the thermometer gives much lower values. This big difference in diurnal temperatures is one of the characteristics of the desert climate. Other important aspects are the humidity of the air and the low rainfall. These principles are also applicable to the time of the Pharaohs, as modern scientific research has demonstrated. [more…]

Coptic Heritage in Egypt - Qubbat el-Hawa

Coptic Heritage in Egypt – Qubbat el-Hawa

There are many important and disappearing sites of the Early Coptic period in Egypt that should at least be considered as world heritage sites. These include Wadi el Natrun in the desert edges of the eastern Delta, the site of an important early Christian monastic tradition, with four functioning monasteries surviving today (and recently put forward to UNESCO for consideration); Kellia, an important monastic site north east of wadi el-Natrun, which demonstrated the ‘bridge’ between the ascetic (lone) monks and the cenobitic (communal). Just as important is the vast Christian cemetery of el Bagawat near the Kharga oasis, with its painted private tomb-chapels, considered to be the oldest and largest Christian cemetery in the world. A few hour’s drive from Luxor it is now an increasingly busy tourist attraction and should certainly be considered for a place on the UNESCO list. [more…]

Life on Mars: The Gilf Kebir, Zerzura and the Cave of Swimmers

Life on Mars: The Gilf Kebir, Zerzura and the Cave of Swimmers

Rising 300m above the desert floor, and covering an area the size of Switzerland, the Gilf Kebir is one of the most arid and inhospitable places in the Sahara. Located in the Egyptian desert, near the Libyan border a 100km north of Sudan, it shares a latitude with Abu Simbel. For over 100,000 years the Gilf Kebir was home to generations of hunters, followed by two thousand years of use by nomadic herders. It was only re-discovered in 1926, and since then it has been the subject of numerous expeditions for exploration, archaeological and geological investigation and, more recently, tourism. Very remote and arid it remained an almost pristine landscape until recent decades, perfect for field research. Even NASA researchers have studied the Gilf Kebir to evaluate conditions that might prevail on Mars. [more…]

AWT Conference 2011 Review: House and Home at el-Amarna by Kate Spence

Review by Andrea Byrnes.  Published on Egyptological, Magazine Reviews, 29th September 2011. AWT Conference 2011.  House and Home at el-Amarna: some thoughts on domestic architecture by Dr Kate Spence   Introduction Dr Kate Spence of the University of Cambridge introduced the audience to an area of the city of Amarna which formed an equivalent of […] [more…]

AWT Conference 2011 Review: Christianity on the Edge by Gillian Pyke

Review by Andrea Byrnes and Kate Phizackerley.  Published on Egyptological, Magazine Reviews, 29th September 2011.   AWT Conference 2011 – Christianity on the Edge:  The North Tombs Settlement at Amarna. By Gillian Pyke.   Introduction Gillian Pyke was the only speaker at the 2011AWT Conference to discuss aspects of Amarna which date to outside the […] [more…]