Africa Praehistorica 25, Köln 2011
El Kharafish. The archaeology of Sheikh Muftah pastoral nomads in the desert around Dakhla Oasis (Egypt)
With contributions by Frank Darius, Stefanie Nussbaum, Nadja Pöllath, Reinhard Ehrmann, Małgotzata Daszkiewicz, and Gerwulf Schneider
- 360 pp.
- 316 figures
- 61 tables
- 21 maps
- hardcover, half linen-bound, size 21 x 28 cm
The presence of the Sheikh Muftah pastoral nomads in Dakhla Oasis (Western Desert of Egypt) has been known to archaeologists for some time; but until recently there have been few detailed studies of their camp sites.
This book is a substantial contribution to the archaeology of this early pastoral nomadism in the eastern Sahara. The excavations and surveys conducted between 2002 and 2006 in the frame of the ACACIA project of the University of Cologne, and directed by the primary author, at El Kharafish and at other sites throw new light on dating, subsistence, and environmental background of the Sheikh Muftah pastoral nomads in the 3rd millennium BC.
First and foremost, the book gives an account of the spectacular site of El Kharafish 02/5. Comprising more than 2,500 potsherds, nearly 400 retouched stone tools, and probably a total of more than 60,000 chipped flint pieces, this represent one of the largest Sheikh Muftah assemblages ever studied – and the first fully published.
The exceptionally good preservation of organic material resulted in a number of exciting findings, such as lots of animal dung and a well-preserved wooden fire drill, the oldest of its kind known from Egypt.
This book is not only an archaeological report, but the result of effective interdisciplinary research. On archaeobotanical grounds, Frank Darius and Stefanie Nussbaum provide, for the first time, evidence of the climatic and environmental conditions during the 3rd millennium BC in the Western Desert of Egypt. Likewise, archaeozoology, conducted by Nadja Pöllath, substantially contributes by identifying seasonality in the occupation of the site by means of bones of gazelles and birds hunted there.