Recordings will be made available for those unable to attend the live sessions!        Banner image: Nile mosaic of Palestrina

This course introduces five settlements in Egypt that are missing or inaccessible today. From mythical desert wadis to submerged temples, we’ll explore the lost history of these places and the evidence for them. 

Each session will introduce attendees to an aspect of settlement or landscape archaeology before exploring a case study in more depth. There will be opportunities to ask questions and socialise during the course.

By the end of the course, attendees will be able to wow their friends with tales of lost cities in northeast Africa – surely the most popular dinner subject!

Image: Map of Cairo (16th Century CE)

This course is perfect for those wanting to build on their introductory knowledge. Some prior knowledge of Egyptian timelines and geography is recommended but not essential.



Carl Graves is the Director of the EES and completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2017 on the topic of the Middle Kingdom cultural landscape of the 16th nome of Upper Egypt. His previous research has focused on settlement archaeology and daily life in ancient Egypt.

Course Outline

Please note that main content will be delivered between 18:00-19:30, though some optional participation (quizzes, Q&A, etc.) may continue beyond that time. 

Thursday 21st September, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
Week One - The missing cities of the Middle Kingdom and the case of Itj-Tawy
The exact location of the long-lost capital of ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BCE) remains unknown. Founded by Amenemhat I, founder of the 12th Dynasty, it was probably located near to the Faiyum but why was it founded at all and what can we learn from the pyramids and cemeteries located nearby?

    Thursday 28th September, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
    Week Two - A submerged world: What happened to Buhen?
    A vast mudbrick fortress on the banks of the Nile constructed by the rulers of the 12th Dynasty. Unlike Itj-Tawy its location is well-known but, like many monuments in Nubia, it was submerged beneath the waters of Lake Nasser in 1964. What do we know of Buhen from archives held at the EES, and what was its original purpose?

    Image: Pompey's Pillar at Alexandria

    Thursday 5th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
    Week Three - The Mediterranean coast and Alexander’s lost capital
    Egypt’s most famous lost city, ancient Alexandria was submerged beneath the waters of the Mediterranean following a tsunami in 365 CE. Though underwater archaeologists are, today, rediscovering the lost city, much remains unknown. What did the palaces and tombs of the Greek Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt look like, and what happened to the famous Pharos lighthouse?

    Thursday 12th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
    Week Four - Missing or mythical? The oasis of Zerzura
    A mythical lost city said to be located in a desert wadi of the Libyan desert. Though several expeditions sought to find the city, none have succeeded and many have almost ended in tragedy. Tales of the Zerzura Club, espionage, and exploration, the search for Zerzura is by far Egypt’s most enigmatic tale of discovery – or lack thereof!

    Thursday 19th October, 18:00-19:30 (UK time)
    Week Five - Al Qatai: Ibn Tulun’s royal city
    Modern Cairo leaves little to the imagination, a combination of modern high-rise buildings situated alongside Medieval monuments. However, much of early Cairo remains hidden and, in many cases, lost forever. Founded by Ibn Tulun in 868 CE, Al Qatai was a monumental playground for the Tulunid dynasty with beautiful palaces and mosques. It was destroyed by the Abbasid caliphs shortly after its foundation, but it continued to influence the future growth of the Cairo we see today. In this session we will look at the legacy of Ibn Tulun, what remains of his city, and how much remains to be discovered beneath the land of Egypt.

    Image: Mosque of Ibn Tulun

    Recordings of the live sessions will be made available to attendees following the weekly session for those unable to attend in person. 


    Members of the Egypt Exploration Society can book at a heavily discounted rate. If you’re not yet a member but would like to join in order to receive this discount, then please ensure that you have already joined here. Subscriptions from members include a donation to support and promote Egypt’s cultural heritage. If you are a Cairo Associate, then please contact our Cairo Office to reserve your discounted tickets: [email protected] 

    Register for your place in advance using the links below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the course. Links for joining the event will be sent by email. If you do not receive your email, then please check your junk folders before contacting the Egypt Exploration Society. The course will be held on our Zoom platform and attendees will be able to interact by asking questions, using the chat and polls. It is not necessary to have a working webcam or microphone for this course. The online course will be complemented by Google Drive, where resources will be uploaded.

    Please ensure that you have read our guide to attending EES online events before the course begins.

    Book a place

    Ticket Quantity Price

    EES member - 50% discount

    Decrease Increase £60.00


    Decrease Increase £120.00

    EES student associate

    Decrease Increase £30.00