Physical Landscapes of Ancient Egypt

Uploaded by techEIU on 18.04.2012

♪ [music playing-- no dialogue] ♪ ♪
>> male speaker: Good afternoon one and all
and welcome back to the continuation of the symposium
on Ancient Egypt.
This afternoon is the first of two presentations.
We have Dr. John Paul Stimac, the Dean of the Honors College
here at Eastern and certainly a well-known geographer
and geologist, here to discuss with us more things.
We find in each session there are things of reminder
and there are things that most of us have no idea of
or haven't thought of for a very long time.
You know, I was thinking in this morning's presentation
about when was it that I learned some of these things.
I have to go back to the sixth grade social science class
for some of it, which I'm like that's pretty sad that you
go through 16 years of school and when they were talking
about important historical information, they were feeding
it to sixth graders and fifth graders; thus, the famous
television show of course, but to present this speaker,
I will give you to Dr. Wahby.
>> Dr. Wafeek Wahby: Thank you.
Welcome to this session of the Ancient Egyptian Symposium:
A Futuristic Look through Ancient Lenses.
Here is the question for you that will
introduce us to our speaker.
Who comes first, landscape or people?
Okay, thank.
What did you say?
>> Dr. John Paul Stimac: I didn't hear an answer yet.
>> Dr. Wahby: The answer will come from here.
People are going to a landscape that influences
them, and they can change the landscape influencing back,
and here is Dr. John Stimac, Dean of the Honors College.
Thank you very much.
>> Dr. Stimac: Thank you very much.
[audience applause]
>> Dr. Stimac: I'd like to thank you all
for attending this afternoon.
I know you have other things that you could be doing
this afternoon, but I do appreciate you taking
time out from your busy schedule.
Today I'd like to talk to you about the fiscal landscapes
of Ancient Egypt.
During the introduction, the question was which came first,
the landscape or the people?
And what I'd like to propose to you is that
actually the landscapes influence the people.
Landscapes came first, and I was the former chair of the
department of geology/geography.
I am, by training, a structural geologist,
so I'm a little partial to the geology aspect.
However, geography is going to be very important
in this afternoon's talk.
We'll talk about rivers, we'll talk about some geology,
we can't get away from that.
We'll also talk about some of the culture and some of
the people of Ancient Egypt.
Let me just go back to that previous slide first.
If you can see, I'm going to turn off
the lights a little here.
Okay, that should bring out the slide a little bit better.
This is just a satellite image, this is MODIS.
It's one of the platforms that NASA uses to
image the earth from space.
This is just a MODIS image from space over central Egypt.
Here you can see the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula,
Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile Delta takes that very classic Delta shape, hence,
the name for Deltas, where they enter large bodies of water.
Nile River, this green stretch running
down through eastern Egypt.
On both sides of the Nile, very barren landscape.
You have large areas of open sand right through here and
mountain ranges in eastern Egypt and in the Sinai.
We'll be focusing on that this afternoon.
If you look at just a shaded relief map of Egypt
and the surrounding area, this is just a representation of the
topographic height or the elevation of the land surface.
You can see a couple of different things.
Sea level is going to be this blue.
Anything that's below sea level is going to be this
very, very dark green or it's going to be at sea level.
So, this area right here is known as the Qattara Depression.
It's actually the lowest point in Africa that's about
400 feet below sea level; that's well below sea level.
There actually have been studies and proposals
to use this large inland basin for fresh water or
for a viaduct from the Mediterranean.
There are also some other depressions in the south of
Egypt and that's where I'll be focusing on here.
Nile River.
This large body of water right here is Lake Nasser, okay.
It begins at Aswan.
The Aswan Dam was a project that was--they built the dam
in the mid to late 1960's.
It was a collaborative project between the Egyptian government
and the former Soviet Union or USSR.
They built the damn to harness the water for hydroelectric
power but also to stop the annual floods of the Nile.
It was successful in both cases.
As I said, I'll be focusing primarily on this southern part
of Egypt this afternoon.
Again, this is just a digital elevation model.
It's a representation of the elevation of the topography
in southern Egypt.
So, here, you can see Aswan Dam,
this is Lake Nasser in this light blue.
Regions of high elevation, over 400 meters about sea level.
Regions of low elevation right here.
Qattara Depression would be up in this region, okay.
This particular paper by Maxwell in 2010 focused on an area
just to the north and west of the Nile River,
which is actually lower in elevation than the Nile River.
The proposal was that a lot of the area here had once flooded
when the Nile River was backed up, and
there's a lot of evidence that supports that claim.
This is really just an overflow basin that came through this
wadi or this canyon.
The Nile river backed up in to here.
So, this became a large, we're talking very large,
holding basin for then Nile River.
Then, it slowly drained.
Once it got down to the sea level or the level at which
it can drain, this, then, became a isolated lake.
That lake is going to be very important for the history of
Egypt and our people.
These are two models, computer generated models, showing where
the lake may have extended during that early time period.
Here's that wadi, or the inflow/outflow.
Nile would have comer here, backed up at one of the
cataracts, backed up and flowed into here.
If it backed up and filled the lake to this high lake stand at
247 meters above sea level, the lake would have been this large.
Over 68,000 square kilometers.
This would have made it one of the largest lakes in the world,
let alone in Africa.
Slightly lower lake level at 190 meters above sea level, still
would have been a very sizable lake.
There would have been connection all the way from the south of
Egypt, to central Egypt, going up into northern Egypt as well.
The question is why was this research done.
This was done in 2010, the actual research was done
in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
Why was this model done?
We could do this using GIS, that's Geographic Information
Sciences, any where in the world if we wanted to.
Well, there were some lines of evidence that supported
the fact that this used to be a lake basin and that
lake basin also supported early populations in the region.
I'll step back for just a second.
Right now, if you look at this part of
Egypt, this is annual rainfall.
So, these are, you can think of them as lines of equal rainfall;
it's isohyets, okay.
In this part of southwest Egypt, Egypt is outlined right here.
This part of southwest Egypt, on average,
it gets zero millimeters of rainfall per year.
Even all the way into the north of Egypt, south of Cairo,
it gets as little as 5 millimeters of rainfall a year.
Egypt gets almost 100 millimeters of rainfall a year.
All the way south, near Khartoum, in the Sudan,
gets 100 millimeters of rainfall a year.
That's a current climate pattern,
a current rainfall pattern.
During the pleistocene, anywhere between a million years ago
and a half million years ago,
this pattern was actually shifted.
It was shifted to the north about six degrees.
So, this bullseye, where it was getting zero rain, was actually
further to the north up here.
This part of southern Egypt right here
was receiving upwards of 100 millimeters of rainfall a year.
That amount of rainfall allowed for agriculture to flourish.
Also, allowed for grazing animals.
So, the early population from this region was able to harvest
and cultivate cattle, sheep and some of the cereal grains.
This map shows some of the depressions, okay.
The Qattara Depression is located right up here.
The depression I want to focus on this afternoon is this one,
the Selima Depression, in very southern Egypt.
Some of the larger plateaus.
If you notice, the Nile River Valley is actually at the base
of a plateau; it's in a valley.
There's also this natural funnel through the wadi that
I showed you on the previous digital elevation model,
through the wadi, into the Nile Valley,
then down the Nile Valley.
Pay particular attention to this location, Nabta, okay.
That's an actually important archeological and astronomical
site that I'll focus on in just a second.
When this lake did drain, the natural funnel was
to the east and to the north.
When the lake started to drain, when rainfall patterns started
to shift, people followed water.
Water is life, so they started to follow the water this way,
towards the Nile.
So, the early people that was in this part of the world, anywhere
between 100,000 and 50,000 and even 10,000 years ago,
started to migrate towards the east and down the Nile Valley.
There's Nabta.
This is location of a megalithic site.
Other megalithic sites that you might be
familiar with include Stonehenge.
This is a site where early people arranged megaliths,
large rocks, in a certain formation and they used it for
astronomical observations.
They were able to predict, for example,
the flooding of the Nile.
They were able to predict the flooding of the Nile.
They were also able to predict when the Nile would recede.
That allowed them the opportunity to plant crops.
This is one of the first of the agrarian societies to develop.
It started about 6800 years ago.
Also, at this site, early religious practices
were developed.
Here they started to raise and cultivate cattle and sheep,
as I mentioned.
They also considered cattle to be there sacred animal.
They actually had, at this site, sacrifices of cattle.
So, there were some ceremonial burial of
cattle, both young and old.
It tells archeologists and anthropologists the importance
that the people placed on, first of all, the cattle,
but the significance that they would give up such a livestock,
such a valuable piece of livestock, to their gods.
So, they were very, very concerned with
and influenced by the flooding, the annual flooding,
of the Nile River.
Cattle, one thing you think of when you think of cattle,
especially wild cattle, are probably their horns.
The horns of the early cattle were very important for
protection of the cattle itself and protection of the people.
People used the entire cattle.
Well, the cattle also lends itself to the development
of early religious cults, if you will, in the region.
People created deities that had cattle-like features.
Here's Isis, the Mother God for the Egyptian pantheon of
gods and goddesses.
You can see the horns from cattle.
She's typically depicted with this, with the sun disc of Ra,
in the center.
She's the mother god to the other gods and goddesses.
So, during this time, about 6800 to 7,000 years ago, people
started to develop not only a domestication of wild stock,
wild life, but also the ability to harvest grains
and they started to develop religious cults or identities.
This is just an overall map of the Nile starting very far
south, all the way north to the current Aswan Dam, then,
heading further north.
The Nile is unusual, just to give you a little history,
the Nile is unusual.
It's one of the most major rivers to flow north,
it's one of the few rivers that flow north.
There's probably only one or two other major rivers in the world
that flow north, the Mackenzie in Alaska is one of them,
but it does flow north.
It goes through a series of cataracts, or large gorges,
where the river will step down.
So, these are natural barriers to people trying to migrate up
along the river, south along the river, in this case.
Also, it's a natural barrier to people migrating south,
down stream, along the river.
So, you would actually have to get out, portage around that
cataract or that gorge, and put your boat in
and then go down again.
So, there are natural barriers.
Other natural barriers that are found in the region.
You have the Western Desert on the western edge of the Nile
and to the south into Nubia or into Ethiopia.
You have the Eastern Desert and a series of mountain ranges that
I pointed out previously.
You also have the Red Sea.
Then you have the Mediterranean sea to the north.
So, once people are situated in the
Nile River Valley, they are very isolated.
Normally, that leads to a society that doesn't develop
very readily because there's very little outside trade.
However, in this particular case,
it led to a society that flourished.
There's a number of reasons for that.
It's very protected.
As I said, there were natural barriers on all four sides.
They also had just a little trade north and south because
you had to go with the winds to the south or you had to deal
with some of the cataracts heading north along
the Nile Valley.
When the other benefits just happen to be abundant
natural resources along the Nile proper,
and in the mountains to the east.
So, even though they were isolated,
they had their natural resources.
There was abundant water.
They also had very fertile land immediately adjacent to
both sides of the Nile.
Now, if you step away from that area, as you saw in the
very first photo, barren landscape, desert,
arid mountains.
These are some of the natural resources found along the Nile.
In the south, you have abundant gold deposits.
Up in the mountain, you find tin, gold, amethyst.
Also, along the area because of the mountainous terrain,
you find lots of natural stone: granite, natron, alabaster,
jasper, lots of limestone, basalt.
All of these are going to be very important to
the egyptian society, to the early egyptian society.
Each of these, especially the rocks, the granite, limestone,
the basalt, all of these will weather at different rates and
they have different colors.
So, it's very easy to assign different importances to them.
Here's a brief, very brief, history of Egypt,
from about 3100 BCE to about 525 BCE.
So, the predynastic phase before 3100.
Isolated city-states, not even city-states,
maybe towns along the Nile.
During the old kingdom, you actually had a pharaoh that
started to unite upper and lower Egypt.
Upper Egypt is upper relative to the Nile, so it's
in the south of Egypt.
You have Lower Egypt, which is lower along the
Nile, which is in the north.
So, you had the first unification of Upper and Lower
Egypt during this Old Kingdom.
This is when you started to have the pyramids and
large monuments being built.
Middle Kingdom, I told you this area was an isolated region.
It was isolated.
To start this society, to start the Egyptian society,
this isolation was actually a benefit, but once society,
once culture started to build, it also was a problem.
It was isolated in a sense that if there were any invaders,
once they got into your region, it was very difficult
to expel the invaders.
So, you started to see the invaders from the northeast,
from say, crossing over the Sinai Peninsula.
As soon as those were expelled at the end of the Middle Period,
you had the New Kingdom.
This is probably the part of ancient Egypt that you're
most familiar with.
The greatest pharaohs during the New Kingdom.
You also saw invaders from the south.
Kush Empire started to develop along the Nile but in Ethiopia,
in Sudan region.
So, they also used this isolated region and the fact that
the Nile was navigable going north, going
down stream, to their advantage.
So, the Kush were able to invade from the south,
you had the Assyrians from the northeast.
You also had some people coming across the sea,
primarily the Greeks and Romans; that was much later though.
So, the Kush invaded the upper Nile.
They started to assimilate the Egyptian culture.
Even to this day, if you're in the southern part of Egypt,
they will refer to themselves as Nubians.
They will not refer to themselves as Egyptians.
There are typically more Black African, as opposed to northern
African, in terms of complexion, in terms of your ethnicity.
They did adopt many of the Egyptian practices.
This is one of the reasons why the unification during the
Old Kingdom and, then again, re-unification during the
New Kingdom was so successful.
Those pharaohs adopted local practices,
local religious practices.
Any large empire that's very successful will do this,
as opposed to imposing there own practices.
The Roman Empire, the reason it was successful in Europe,
it adopted local practices and customs.
It didn't try to impose everything from Rome.
They knew that wouldn't work.
This is primarily going to be about, or has been
about so far about, the physical or geomorphic
features that are important.
So, we've talked about some of the mountains,
we talked about the Nile River Valley.
We can't ignore the deserts, the Western Desert
and the Nubian Desert.
You have a lot of, what are known
as, depositional features in deserts.
These are you typical sand dunes or you sand seas.
You see photos of Saudi Arabia.
It's nothing but an ocean of sand.
Same thing with Namibia in southern Africa.
That is a sand sea or an erg.
A lot of these terms come from that region, so they're Arabic
in their word history or they are from north Africa
or even south Africa.
They also have what are known as erosional features.
These could be where all the sand is blown out the region
and nothing but large pebbles or flat stones are left.
These are typically called regs or serirs.
You may also have what are known as yardangs.
These are yardangs.
These are erosional features.
You have to remember this is an area of high winds, lots of sand
and think of what happens if you leave your car
out in a sand storm.
The paint is just abraded off, or if you're going
to clean your car, you sand blast it.
Same thing here.
We have what used to be a large lake, filled to at least
this depth, with mud, so you have mud stone right here.
Then, you had sand storms coming through,
starting to erode the mud and it erodes it into these very
unusual shapes.
Some of these are huge, we're talking 20 meters,
talking 65 feet tall.
So, these yardangs are very unusual.
They lend themselves, possibly, very easily, to ornamentation.
This is the Sphinx outside Cairo, actually, in the
outskirts of Cairo right now, near the Great Pyramid.
This is probably a yardang, you can see sedimentary units
in the back right here, some nice layered limestone.
You can see an erosional channel right there.
But the Egyptians wanted to decorate it,
they added ornamentation to it.
So, they went ahead added a headdress, a face, a nose,
and they did this with fascia stone, some of the local stone
that was in their areas.
Again, they started using natural resources,
such as the white limestone.
Here, you can see some of the mud bricks that they used in
the paws, in the front paws, or along the sides.
You can just make out where they actually carved some
of the limestone here in the head of the yardang.
You can actually see what are known as cross beds.
You can see how the limestone was laid down
in a large lake or river system.
So, even this naturally occurring feature,
such as a yardang, was used by the Egyptians.
They also made use of other local materials.
Here, we have a large pyramid,
this is the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.
This is under renovation.
They didn't use the scaffolding like that.
But the Step Pyramid itself is a large mound, it was a naturally
occurring mound on the landscape, and the local
inhabitants who augmented, added mud, bricks.
Then, elsewhere in the temple, here, they used black granite on
a series of cobra heads on the side right here.
So, they used all these natural ingredients.
Again, these were resources that were locally available.
That's why the Egyptian empire and civilization was so
well-developed, it had everything it needed locally.
Even the granites, this is at Aswan near the Aswan Dam.
This is a red granite that they started to make into an obelisk.
They had it all cut out.
They had a top pinnacle cut and they started to cut along the
sides and a crack developed.
So, all their work was wasted.
It's not like you could easily re-cut this,
so they just left it.
It's now a major tour site in that part of the country.
As I said, there really is a juxtaposition of resources
and lack of resources here in Egypt.
You have what is, essentially, life: the Nile.
On both sides of the Nile, you have arid, barren landscape.
In the background, you can see a large cliff.
That cliff is limestones and sandstones,
but it's very well bedded.
In other words, it's laid down, layer upon layer, very well.
Here, you have a real nice deposit of mud.
That characteristic, sandstone, limestone,
and then mud on top of it.
Then, it's repeated; that cyclical nature is very
characteristic of a river flooding or a
large lake deposit.
So, you can see where the current level
of the Nile is here.
That's about 60 meters, almost 200 feet, up right there.
So, you can see how much the Nile has cut down into this.
So, this area, as little as 10,000
years ago, used to be a lake.
Even then, the town of Aswan in southern Egypt, you had that
juxtaposition of very fertile rich area, it's a very wealthy
area, and then you had the desert in the background.
As I said, they used local ingredients whenever possible.
You had the sandstone in the background
with a limestone facade.
This is a temple at Edfu.
So, you had the temple in the background,
some sandstone, maybe some limestone facade.
You also had black granite that was imported.
A little further away, the Hathor, right here,
would be down here, very small.
So, this is the main entrance to the temple.
You can see the core of some of these walls and the core of
this gate was out of this mud-brick or mudstone.
Then, it was covered in the very fine sandstone
or limestone that they could carve.
This is an obelisk, this was at the same location.
This was actually on it's side.
I rotated it up for you, kind of was disconcerting when it was
lying on its side.
This is just a red limestone.
You can see the Egyptians were very concerned with the
aesthetics of the rocks as well.
They used all their resources to the full advantage.
They realized that granite could take a very high polish
and they would polish it to a very high degree.
Limestone, if you chose the right limestone,
could also be very bright.
So, it's said that some of the pyramids at Giza were
covered in a white, almost an alabaster white, limestone.
It could be seen from miles and miles away.
This is a summary, both the climate
and the culture, of Egypt.
I want to bring it all together in these last couple slides as
a summary to kind of emphasize how climate, geography,
and culture are all tied together.
You can't study one without the other and it can impact
one another as well.
So, here, we just have the time scale on the left side.
For the geologists in the audience,
we have the quaternary.
So, we're primarily in the Pleistocene and the Holocene.
In terms of the culture, here we have the late paleolithic,
the neolithic, the predynastic.
So, this is before what you would consider the classic
Egyptian society, the pharaohs.
You had the Pharaonic Kingdoms.
Then, you had the Greeks and the Romans coming in,
the Byzantines, the Islamic Period.
Modern Period would be right at the very top.
This is what's happening, in terms of in society.
I don't know if you can make some of this out, but the sheep
were introduced from southeast Asia about 8,000 years ago.
So, that temple area, that megalithic site,
was somewhere right in this area up until about here.
This is where they started burying the cattle and honoring
them and sacrificing them.
At about 5,000 years, 5,000 to 4,000 years ago,
there was this exodus.
This exodus wasn't across the Red Sea, it was the exodus from
the large lake area that I told you about in the very beginning
because of the change in the climate.
The monsoons moved to the south, which meant
that large lake area started to dry up.
If it dried up, you no longer had water.
If you no longer had water, you no longer had life.
So, the people had to follow the water.
They followed the water to the Nile.
That exodus was during the predynastic period.
Right at the end of this, you started to get the Nile Valley
population explosion.
This is where you started to get these civilizations,
the societies, merging into one large Egyptian society.
On the right side, you can see what's happening
paleoclimatically, so what's happening in terms
of the weather and climate.
Very arid down here.
The lake started to fill.
This is when the sheep were first introduced.
You started to get the desertification,
or the aridification, of the area.
That's why the cattle, those very resource intensive animals,
were starting to be sacrificed.
They were trying to appease the gods, the early gods,
for example, like Isis, were trying to be appeased here.
They left that area, went into the Nile River Valley,
still arid in that area, except along the Nile itself.
You had the Old Kingdom collapsing.
So, not only did you have invaders from the north
invading Egypt to end the Old Kingdom, you also
had additional climate changes at that period.
So, you had additional climate change,
then, the climate started to get better.
So, you had the New Kingdom.
Finally, you started to get invaders from across the sea.
So, you had the Greeks and Romans.
You also had the Kush Empire from
the south coming in as well.
This is a core, I want to just jump just a little.
Here are the kingdoms on the left-hand side.
This is a core.
So, not only can we find this archeologically through
archaeological evidence and dating the archeological sites,
we can also find this out in terms of looking at the,
in this particular case, ratios of two elements,
Titanium and Aluminum, or Strontium isotopic ratios
in sediment cores.
These are proxies for rain or temperature.
So, we can see how, during the predynastic time,
high river flow.
There was lots of water available.
During the Old Kingdom, people moved into the
Nile River Valley, declining flow.
So, they had to move into the Nile River Valley,
where the water was still present.
The lakes were starting to dry up.
Fluctuating flow, somewhere in the Middle Kingdom Period.
Finally at the Old Kingdom, a little better flow and then it
started a decrease flow again at the end of the late period,
or the New Kingdom.
So, again you can see how climate is driving
the Egyptian civilization.
You can also see how resources drove the Egyptian civilization
to where it was.
So, in summary.
This area was originally populated by tribes primarily
from the south and the west.
So, from this part.
This was a very fertile region at that period.
Currently, this is the Western Desert; not very fertile at all.
Their success was tied to the availability of water,
whether it was originally found in this area or later,
along the Nile River.
That water, in turn, was tied to climate variability.
So, you can see how climate is actually driving the
rise and fall of the Egyptian civilization.
So, it was directly tied to not only their natural resources,
but to the natural boundaries: the current deserts, the sea,
and the cataracts to the south.
So, you can see how all three things
are intimately tied together.
You didn't have just the development of the Egyptian
civilization on its own.
It was tied directly to the landscape, which was also
tied to the climate.
Thank you.
[audience applause]
>> Dr. Wahby: Any questions?
Typically, students report that if they are not really
interested in geographic geology classes, it will be
one of his classes or 2 of his classes that you really
wanted to go get away with fast.
But thanks, you made it very interesting.
>> Dr. Stimac: Thank you very much.
>> Dr. Wahby: Even for [unclear dialogue].
Any questions?
I have two questions, so please jump in before me.
I know Dr. Baharlou has questions.
>> Dr. Allen Baharlou: That was a very
eloquent presentation, John.
>> Dr. Wahby: Say it again please.
>> male speaker: Oh.
That was a very eloquent presentation
and informative presentation.
The climate at the present time with all our advancement,
is it still affect.
Especially, I have been to Sinai Peninsula, and
all the religion concepts came because based on the climate.
Gods creates disasters and back and forth in Sinai Peninsula.
This still is affecting that area.
You travel extensively there, is that right?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes it is, it is.
Modern man, if you want to say modern man, is trying to affect
his environment by modifying the local environment.
The Aswan Dam is a wonderful example.
The Nile used to flood on a very regular yearly basis
and that was the basis for the red land and black land.
The black land was the very fertile land of
the river basin of the flood plain along the Nile River.
The Egyptians and the Soviet Union got together and decided,
look, we don't want a yearly flood.
It's like what happens along the Mississippi when we have too
much rain or too much snowfall in the upper Midwest,
you have these devastating floods.
It's a good thing.
We are modifying it, the Egyptians modify it.
You no longer have the yearly flood, but that means that if
you want the agriculture to extend away from the Nile in
either direction, where you want it to continue year round rather
locally in a very narrow strip, you have to start to
put in irrigation canals and extensive irrigation canals.
So, where they used to be able to farm and cultivate land for,
maybe, 10 kilometers on either side, where there's no longer
the irrigation ditches, it's maybe 1 kilometer, 2 kilometers
on either side of the Nile.
So, man does have a major influence on the local region.
Also, in the Sinai, especially in the Israeli portion of the
Sinai, the Israelis are doing irrigation projects, which are
using all the local resources, as in terms
of their water resources.
So, it's great for irrigation for that particular project
or for that particular area, but it is having a negative
or a detrimental effect elsewhere in the region.
The Dead Sea has dropped 30 plus meters in the last 30 years.
So, what used to be a shoreline resort and spa
is now 2 kilometers from the nearest part of the Dead Sea.
It's creating underground solution pits and tunnels,
so it's actually a hazard to walk in that area because of
the cavernous nature of the below ground area.
So, yeah, man can have a huge affect on the environment.
>>Dr. Wahby: More questions?
[unclear dialogue]
>> male speaker: One of the charts
toward the end that you showed, that was very interesting
when it showed how climate had changed
over about 10,000 year period.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yeah.
>> male speaker: Yes, that one.
I remember taking an ancient Roman history class at
Southern Illinois University and we talked about how the Romans
were terrified when Pompey, Caesar going for Pompey.
Two is when Pompey's son and the pirates got together
and they had to go after him, actually had to stop him.
Then, when [unclear dialogue] had gone after Antony.
One of the main reasons [unclear dialogue] was because
of the abundance of the grain from Egypt.
I'm looking at this chart here and I noticed by time the
Greco-Roman time period, it wasn't as rich as it was
earlier, which probably raised the prices up for grain,
which made them even more desperate to get these people.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes, and so that's
one of the reasons why the Greeks and the Romans wanted to
trade with the Egyptians to get access to those cereal fields,
to those grain fields.
Like you said, it was supply and demand.
So, in this case, climate had a huge effect on the supply,
which made the demand by the emergent empire,
the Roman Empire, that much greater.
>> male speaker: You infer from this evidence
that the Egyptian's culture and society
was directly linked to the landscape that they lived in,
the climate, the geography and all that.
Do you think that that could possibly, also,
be true of the entire Earth as a whole?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
This relationship between civilizations and water is found
throughout history and throughout the world.
So, if you look at the Sumerian-Babylonian
civilization, it's in the Tigris Fertile Crescent.
If you look at the Assyrian civilization, it's in
the northern Tigris, coming over into the Jordan area.
If you look at the Egyptians,
if you look at the Kush, to the south.
If you look at the, I forgot the group.
In India, they're very closely tied to the river system.
Same thing in China.
Most of the major civilizations in the world and in history are
tied very closely to the water.
You can also think of the Greek system.
The reason the Greek system was so well established
and developed was the fact that you had water;
it was a water-based trading society.
Look at the British Empire, the reason they were so successful
was because of the wide-spread water.
Britain, itself, is a very, very small land mass,
but they were so successful.
The one society, if you will, or, I won't say empire,
possibly the United States.
That would be the only one that would fly in
the face of that argument.
>> Dr. Wahby: Other questions, comments?
I have a question, if you could bring a map, please,
for us for the land of Egypt.
Any map I think.
>> Dr. Stimac: You want a topographic?
>> Dr. Wahby: Whatever, yes.
Yes, that is good enough.
When you mentioned that there is evidence of civilization that
lived here because of a lake or water and so forth
and they moved later on.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
>> Dr. Wahby: Is there any evidence,
to the best of your knowledge, that--other theories that
say that civilization started from here,
Sumerian, Mesopotamian and civilization started
in this direction, not this direction.
So, is there any history saying when this people arrived here.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes, there is evidence
to support the conclusion that people were down
in this area about 10,000 BC.
So, this was after the Sumerians probably came out through Syria.
>> Dr. Wahby: After?
>> Dr. Stimac: After, okay.
Also, there is some evidence, and I'm not that versed in it,
but there is some evidence that some civilization came along the
north coast, north Africa, then they came back down this way.
So, kind of migrated in this fashion.
This area is the lowest part of Africa, especially north Africa.
The development of the Sahara is intimately tied
to the climate changes and there were some areas over here
where the Sahara wasn't as well developed.
So, there is some thought that there was migration along the
north coast and back down this way as well.
But there are those two hypotheses how the Nile River
was populated, whether it was from the
south or from the north.
>> Dr. Wahby: Because to actually
think that these guys as they are coming
here, is this here correct?
The fresh water first here settled.
Some of them will go around the course
of the Nile water, following the water.
Then, they come here or whatever.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yeah, there is that idea
and it is supported.
It is supported because there are those small, I said
not quite city-states more of town localities along the Nile
but it wasn't any large, single civilization or society.
It didn't become a, I know we have a sociologist in the
audience, it didn't become a society, at least in my mind,
I'm using the term wrong, until it was coherent down here.
Yes, so those were much more isolated.
>> male speaker: It wasn't a single state,
it was a country or nation state.
>> Dr. Stimac: Correct.
It was more isolated, small little cities.
>> Dr. Wahby: Tribal?
>> Dr. Stimac: Tribal, yes.
>> Dr. Wahby: Now, back to these guys.
They settled here for how long you think?
>> Dr. Stimac: It's estimated that they
were probably in the region for about 2,000 years.
>> Dr. Wahby: Okay.
>> Dr. Stimac: So, from about 6800
to about 4800 or 4500 BC.
>> Dr. Wahby: Now, they buried their dead.
They buried their cows.
We saw the cows here that goes back to the tribe.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
>> Dr. Wahby: If somebody goes
archeologically and start digging here,
are ought to find some human remains buried here?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes, more and more
archeological digs are going in that area because
they are finding remnants of towns
and villages or larger established campsites,
around the edge of the lake or up in this region as well.
That's not just here but it's throughout the Sahara region.
The more work that is being done on north Africa, on Egypt,
Libya, the more they're finding the more extensive societies
and groups in this area, as well,
prior to the climate change.
>> Dr. Wahby: How much truth in the fact
that I read in an article that through
the satellite imaging, they discovered that there
were more freshwater lakes here, more agriculture.
Is this now barren?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes, I agree wholly with that.
There's a lot of evidence that supports that.
The satellite imagery, where you can actually get
the satellite radar imagery that penetrates many meters into the
sand, any concealed river beds, lake bottoms, things like that.
In some areas you can see communities,
especially when they're bringing ground penetrating
radar into the region.
You cant actually see development into the region.
>> Dr. Wahby: Please correct this
statement for me that I recall from memory.
They say, now, this is 95% desert, 5% agriculture.
Back then, at one time, next time, it was the other way.
It was 95% agriculture, it was like paradise,
then, it became barren.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes, they think that
transition from all green, the way it is on the map now,
without being coded to elevation,
but all green and very little bit barren space.
They think that transition may have occurred in as little as
200 hundred years.
So, climate change can change an area that quick.
>> Dr. Wahby: That quick?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
>> Dr. Wahby: Okay, one more question.
Anybody has any questions?
I don't want to dominate this.
Any questions here?
So, another, it's not discovery but real thing,
that there is a big water reservoir under this area,
where Libya is sucking water from here and
having their big project for the green thing.
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
>> Dr. Wahby: Now, the presence of this
big reservoir of fresh water here, any indications of
where did it come from and this big amount is really big.
>> Dr. Stimac: Let's see if I can, okay.
Aswan Dam would be about, I guess, right here, okay.
So, the southern border of Egypt would be,
maybe, right there, okay.
This lake probably acted as the recharge site for that aquifer.
The regional geology, if you look at the aquifer
and the dip of the porous beds, the sandstones and limestone,
is in this direction.
So, it would act as the recharge site here, then, it would filter
down into the aquifer and move down in this direction to here,
which would be under Libya.
>> Dr. Wahby: Allow me one more question.
With the photo that you have the sedimentation on
the eastern side, do you have this picture?
>> Dr. Stimac: Let's see.
>> Dr. Wahby: It is where you
said there is sedimentation.
>> Dr. Stimac: It should be, oh, right here.
>> Dr. Wahby: This one, yes.
When we said that evidence that this was a lake first
and this is deposit, do we have an extension of
the continuation of the rim of the lake?
Is this still around or did it just disappear?
>> Dr. Stimac: In some areas, it's
completely eroded, so we can't see where it formerly was.
What's interesting about the Nile Valley, it is a basin,
it is valley and it is since tilted.
So, the eastern side is raised up relative to the western side,
so we can see what used to be below the water surface
on the eastern side.
The western side is much lower.
That's been eroded.
The Nile is slowly moving to the east now.
>> Dr. Wahby: Is it true that the
eastern side, they believe that it is little blessed or
less blessed so they put their graveyards on the east side?
>> Dr. Stimac: Yes.
Although, the Egyptians, many of the funerary sites
are on the west side.
Yeah, because that's where the sun sets.
>> Dr. Wahby: Any other questions?
If you have more questions after we leave, email him.
You have his email on the website or email me or
Dean Lanham would be happy to answer questions and put it on
the website for the symposium after everything is done.
So, have it documented for generations
to come until they change the internet.
Now, let us give him a round of applause.
>> Dr. Stimac: Thank you.
[audience applaudes]
[no dialogue]