Dakhleh Oasis

In antiquity the temple at Ein Birbiyeh, in Dakhleh Oasis, in the desert west of the Nile Valley, was filled to the roof with wind-blown sand. Inscriptions indicate that this temple was dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun-Nakht and the Roman emperors Augustus (30 BC-14 AD) and Hadrian (117-138 AD):
On the other side of the oasis, even further to the west, is Bir Talaat el-Arab, an area with numberous ancient graves. Most of these are comprised of rock-cut chambers, with a horizontal entrance, few are shaft tombs, located around a vertical entrance. Others are vaults built of mud-brick in a large pit:


Objective of visit:
  To produce measured plans of some of the many archaeological sites in Dakhleh Oasis, in particular of the temple in Ein Birbiyeh and of some of the many graves in Bir Talaat el-Arab.
Date of visit:
  January 2005
Fellow visitors:
  Dr.A.J. Mills, director of the Dakhleh Oasis Project, and some of the many other members of the Project.
Accurate maps of the current situation of the temple to Amun-Nakht and Augustus at Ein Birbiyeh and of some of the many graves at Bir Talaat el-Arab.
Approximate position and date of the site:   Dakhleh Oasis is located deep in the desert between the Nile Valley and Libya, southwest of Cairo and Baharyah Oasis and northwest of Kharga Oasis and Luxor. The area appears to have been inhabited, more or less continuously, for at least 400,000 years. The graves surveyed at Bir Talaat el-Arab probably date from the 6th-3rd century BC whereas the temple to Amun-Naht dates from the first century AD.
Short description of the site:   More than 25 years ago Geoffrey Freeman and Anthony Mills started a research project to study all human activities in Dakhleh Oasis, in the desert west of the Nile Valley, which appear go back at least 400,000 years. Inhabitants of the oasis burried their deceased in the surrounding desert, just outside the oasis, according to the customs of the period. During the Roman occupation of Egypt many areas were developed for agriculture (cf. the Fayum depression) much as this is happening today. To accomodate the increased number of inhabitants several temples were built, including the temple to Amun-Nakht and Augustus at Ein Birbiyeh.
Additional remarks:
This project would not have been possible without the support of the Dakhleh Oasis Project and the Supreme Council of Antiquities.