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Harbours and quays in Pharaonic Egypt: an investigation into their location and physical nature with particular focus on the Nile Valley

Graham, A.; (2011) Harbours and quays in Pharaonic Egypt: an investigation into their location and physical nature with particular focus on the Nile Valley. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The thesis investigates the points of contact between land and water in the Egyptian Nile Valley (Aswan to Cairo) used by vessels and places where vessels were constructed and repaired from the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Late Period (c. 2600 – 332 B.C.E.). It initially presents an overview of the literature of numerous areas of evidence and interpretation used in the thesis, as well as the arguments for and against the existence of formal quays and harbours. An understanding of the geomorphology and hydrology of the Nile Valley is thoroughly discussed to reveal dynamic land- and waterscapes and the fluctuating river levels. This, together with evidence of anthropogenic modification of the Nile valley floodplain, is applied to re-assess a number of archaeological structures interpreted as quays and harbours. The examination is supported by fieldwork undertaken at Karnak and in the Memphite floodplain. The limiting factors of the river and the floodplain, as well as textual and pictorial evidence and knowledge of the dimensions and draughts of boats, are used to identify optimum and unusable locations and minimum physical requirements of landing points. A study of the various lexical terms used in ancient texts for quays, harbours and dockyards enables an understanding of the attributes of such installations. Where possible it also provides refined interpretations of the meanings of the terms themselves. A range of mundane as well as the extraordinary activities at quays and harbours is examined to highlight the different characteristics required for (un)loading and (dis)embarkation. The conclusion reviews the evidence for quays and harbours in the Nile Valley to-date and what future work might be applicable to furthering our understanding of these essential features of the transport and communication network within Egypt.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Harbours and quays in Pharaonic Egypt: an investigation into their location and physical nature with particular focus on the Nile Valley
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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