When Napoleon's expedition in 1798 sought to locate an ancient canal that linked the Nile River and Gulf of Suez, it may have been the beginning of maritime archaeology in Egypt. Since then, discoveries of ancient ships, shore side facilities, cargoes, and submerged artifacts - from the pharaonic temple at Abu Simbel to the Ptolemaic harbor at Alexandria - are exciting clues to the relationship between the ancient Egyptians and their maritime environment.
In this free slide-illustrated lecture, Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman, director of the University of Arizona Egypt Expedition, describes a wide variety of maritime cultural clues to understanding ancient Egyptians, among them the surprising Dynasty I boat burials at Abydos; cargo taxes; ingenious projects by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to circumvent geologic barriers and redirect waters for irrigation or transportation; and underwater discoveries that reflect the earthquake-shattered Ptolemaic harbor at Alexandria.
With their longstanding, necessary reliance on the Nile River, spring-fed oases, the Mediterranean and Red Seas, it should come as no surprise that ancient Egyptians chose to reflect the life-sustaining waters in their spiritual world through ceremonies, representational models, boat burials and funerary practices.
About the speaker: Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman holds a number of positions with the University of Arizona: Director of the University’s Egyptian Expedition; Assistant Research Professor of Dendrochronology; Curator of the Laboratory of the University’s Tree Ring Research collection; and assistant editor of the publication Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections. He is also president and founder of the Institute for Maritime Research and Discovery. He obtained his Ph.D. in Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. He has an avid interest in underwater exploration and is a leading researcher on the timber of ships and shipwrecks in an effort to better understand the relationship between the ancient Egyptian people and their culture/environment.