Southeastern Section - 61st Annual Meeting (1–2 April 2012)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SHEW, Chelsea1, REYNOLDS, Elena2, LORENZ, Curtis2, MIGLIORE, Mark2, DEWITT, Clinton2, BOYD, Hunter3, BURGESS, Brian2, MOBLEY, Dean2, CHAPIN, Anne2 and REYNOLDS, Jim2, (1)Science Department, Brevard High School, Country Club Road, Brevard, NC 28712, (2)Science & Math, Brevard College, Brevard, NC 28712, (3)Science & Math, Brevard College, 1 Brevard College Drive, Brevard, NC 28712,

Eight students, three faculty, an alumna, and eight others undertook a 10-day Christmas Break 2010 field trip to Egypt titled “New Year’s on the Nile”. The trip focused on the importance of geology in ancient and modern Egypt. Logistics and an Egyptian guide were provided by EF Tours, Cambridge, MA.

The morning after landing in Cairo, the group flew to Luxor to visit the temples of Karnak and Luxor. The group lodged on a riverboat for the first of four nights.Day 2 visited the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Temple of Hapsetshut and other local sites at the base of the limestone cliffs. The boat disembarked after lunch and cruised upriver throughout the afternoon and into the night, allowing time for lecture and discussion of the archaeology, culture, and the now-buried, Pliocene, Nile River Canyon which was longer, deeper, and as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Docking at Edfu before dawn allowed an early visit to the eponymous temple. Cruising continued in the afternoon, passing Gebel Silsila, the Nubian Sandstone quarry site used for the Temple of Karnak. After dusk, a stop at Kom Ombo allowed a visit to the Crocodile Temple before continuing through the night to Aswan and the great unconformity between the Proterozoic Granite and the Cretaceous Nubian Sandstone.

Morning in Aswan was spent visiting the giant unfinished granite obelisk and the Aswan High Dam. In the afternoon, most people flew to the southernmost part of Egypt to visit the magnificent relocated temples at Abu Simbel above Lake Nasser. Upon returning to Aswan, the group embarked on a moonrise felucca sailing excursion on the Nile before returning to the boat for a shipboard New Year’s party.

New Year’s morning included a motor launch trip through the First Cataract to visit to a Nubian village on the edge of the Sahara Desert sand dunes. The return flight to Cairo provided long clear views across the eastern desert to the Gulf of Suez and Sinai Peninsula.

The final two days were spent in Cairo visiting the classic sites: the Pyramids of Giza and Sakkara, Memphis, the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel, and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, constructed of Tertiary limestone blocks. Shopping excursions were also abundant. Participants departed Egypt with a keen sense of how Egyptian culture developed in step with its geology.