Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


PARIZEK, Katarin A., School of Visual Arts, The Pennsylvania State University, 8 Borland Building, University Park, PA 16802,

Rising water levels and accumulation of evaporate salts continue to damage/destroy archaeological treasures along the Nile, delta and oases. The High Dam prevents annual flooding, provides needed electricity and allows year round agriculture, while flood irrigation causes rising ground water levels. Some tile drains and canals are inadequate to handle increased volumes of irrigation return flows and waste waters. Costly water- control projects were long overdue. Multiple level drains and pumping stations at Karnack, Luxor and West Bank temples and monuments, multiple dewatering wells at Esna Temple, ongoing efforts at the Osireion, Edfu, Kom Ombo and other temples are examples of such projects.

Agricultural expansion on Nile terraces and desert is exacerbating environmental concerns. From 1998 to 2002, 6,742ha of the planned 11,736ha Wadi El-Saya’ada Reclamation Project near Edfu was brought under cultivation up to 50m above the Nile. Surface pools within the Hierakonpolis Temple-Town site increased from 3 (1999) to >33 (2005) and the mean depth to water table decreased from 4.2m (1898), 2.2m (1967) to 1.0m (2005). Nile flood plain and terrace escarpments farmed for millennia are now salinized and hundreds of mudbrick structures destroyed, e.g., El Ghaba and Saya’ada el Qibli. The ancient Mudbrick “Fort” World Heritage Site, on the second Nile terrace near the Temple-Town, is threatened. Parcels reclaimed during 2001-2010 are now idle, portions of new settlements flooded and abandoned. These observations foretell Egypt’s plight as lands along the western dessert road, Aswan to Abydos and elsewhere are brought under cultivation without adequate science-based consideration. Egypt’s rate of population growth cannot be sustained without the import of water, i.e., Congo Basin, but at what of cost?