SATELLITE AND HYDROGEOLOGIC OBSERVATIONS REVEAL IMMINENT DESTRUCTION, WORLD HERITAGE EGYPTIAN MUDBRICK "FORT", HIERAKONPOLIS: UPPER EGYPT
LANDSAT images (1998-2004) however, showed early development of the El-Saya’ada Canal, which raises water 50m above the Nile allowing reclamation of 6742 ha (v projected 11,736 ha) of desert by 2002 within 2 to >12 km of the “fort”. Google images show reclamation continues within and immediately adjacent to the Abu Sufian watershed to the south and west. Discord between surface and groundwater drainage divides will allow the Wadi to receive greater irrigation return flows as reclamation expands within and beyond these drainage divides. Lacking immediate intervention measures, this World Heritage Site will be destroyed as more terrace foundation soils become saturated as predicted by remote sensing and hydrogeologic site investigations. Gravity drains, sheet-pile or slurry cutoff walls, groundwater pumping or restricted reclamation are viable intervention options but time and resource commitments are of the essence as demonstrated by the widespread destruction of hundreds of mudbrick homes, salination and flooding of Nile flood plain and recently reclaimed desert. As in archaeological work, regional context matters. Satellite imagery provides time-sequencing spatial contextual data valuable to highly focused site specific geotechnical investigations.