Acient Egipt: The Dakhleh Oasis Project

1774 words - 8 pages

The site that I have chosen to investigate is the Dakhleh Oasis Project (DOP). This is a continuing study of a region that is located within an enclosed area in the Dakhleh Oasis. This oasis is located in the western desert of Egypt but the project also includes the all-inclusive area of the Paleoasis. The period of time that is being examined is from the Middle Pleistocene, when the first arrival of humans occurred to this area approximately 400,000 years ago to present–day oasis farmers. The studies occurring in this area include all of the activity of humans and the varying environmental changes that have occurred over this period of time.
Many aspects of life within the Dakhleh Oasis have been, and are being examined by a large number of experts from different areas. A few of these areas that are being studied include architecture, dietary habits, flora and fauna through the ages, paleoepidemiology, geoarchaeology and cultural practices such as child rearing, religion and burial practices.
The Dakhleh Oasis is situated in Egypt, 800 km SSE of Cairo within the eastern Sahara desert. The coordinates are 25 degrees 30’N and 20 degrees 07’E. The Dakhleh Oasis was believed to be first occupied 12,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene period by Neolithic and earlier populations and is still occupied today. In 2002, the population was approximately 75,000.
This locale has been the site of many studies. Under the Dakhlah Oasis Project (DOP), which began in 1978, the goal is to understand the correlation between environmental change and the activities of humans through the last 250,000 years in this locality. This project is a cooperative study between the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and the Royal Ontario Museum that has included many specialists from throughout the world. The hope is that cultural patterns of change and adaptation on a broader basis can be discovered in this way. Initially, With the DOP alone, over 311 publications have been written on sites within the Dakhlah Oasis. I have chosen to concentrate on the site at Ismant el-Kharab, also known as Ancient Kellis, a small village that existed during the Roman period. Some artifacts suggest that this site may have been occupied during the Late Ptolemaic period (305 BC to 30 BC) but documents and inscriptions that are specifically dated have only been found from 37 AD to 392 AD. Material data include such non-movable features and structures as cemeteries, houses, churches and temples that are left in situ. But there are also artifacts such as written and inscribed materials such as papyrus and wooden boards, human remains, textiles, pottery and ecofacts (or biofacts) such as flora and fauna remains.
I have looked at three individual studies of this area. The first of these was a PhD Theses by Gillian Bowen who wished to look at how Christianity spread in Egypt (1998). Dara acquisition occurred through reconnaissance, surface survey and excavations. The site was...

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