25 Aug 2017


Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey. EES concession. Project director: Angus Graham, University of Uppsala.

Project overview

The EES / Uppsala University Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey continues to investigate and map the subsurface of the Theban floodplain on the West and East banks of the Nile in order to reconstruct the past landscapes and waterways of the Theban region. Understanding the changing location of the River Nile is of great importance for understanding the ancient cultural dynamics of Thebes. The Theban landscape was an interconnected one with water and land routes between key sites such as Karnak and Luxor Temple in the central part of the floodplain and the Temples (Mansions) of Millions of Years and the necropoleis on the Western Theban desert edge and hills. Our fieldwork in recent years has revealed the existence of one of these connections with the discovery of a secondary Nile-channel of New Kingdom age in front of the Ramesseum separated from the known position of the Nile in the 19th century C.E. by an extensive flood basin.

The work consists of geophysical survey (hand augering and percussion coring) to record the sedimentary record of the Theban floodplain. This work is complemented by geophysical and topographic survey.

Current season

In autumn 2017 the project is focussing its efforts at Karnak and the East Bank floodplain.

Further reading

Graham, A. 2011. 'Ancient Theban waterways', Egyptian Archaeology 38, 3.

Graham, A. 2012. 'Investigating the Theban West Bank floodplain', Egyptian Archaeology 41, 21-24.

Graham, A., Strutt, K. D., Hunter, M., Jones, S., Masson, A., Millet, M., Pennington, B. 2012. 'Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2012', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 98, 27-42.

Graham, A. and Strutt, K. D. 2013. 'Ancient Theban temple and palace landscapes', Egyptian Archaeology 43, 5-7.

Graham, A., Strutt, K. D., Emery, V. L., Jones, S., Barker. D. S. 2013. 'Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2013', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 99, 35-52.

Graham, A., Strutt, K. D., Hunter, M. A., Pennington, B. T., Toonen, W. H. J. and Barker, D. S. 2014. 'Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2014', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 100, 41-53.

Graham, A., Strutt, K. D., Toonen, W. H. J., Pennington, B. T., Löwenborg, D., Masson, A.,Hunter, M. A., Emery, V. L., Lindholm, K-J. Barker, D. S. and Johannson, C. 2016. 'Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2015', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 101, 37-49.

Graham, A., Strutt, K. D., Toonen, W. H. J., Pennington, B. T., Peeters, J., Emery, V. L., Barker, D. S. and Johansson, C. 2017. 'Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2016', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 102, 13-21.

Strutt, K. D., Graham, A., Toonen, W. H. J., Pennington, B. T., Löwenborg, D., Emery, V. L., Barker, D. S., Hunter, M. A., Masson, A., Lindholm, K. J. 2015. 'Manipulating mud: (re)constructing cosmogonical landscapes in the Nile Valley, Thebes, Egypt', Archaeologia Polona 53, 514-517.

Toonen, W. H. J., Graham, A., Pennington, B. T., Strutt, K. D., Hunter, M. A., Emery, V. L., Masson-Berghoff, A. and Barker, D. S., 2017. 'Holocene fluvial history of the Nile's west bank at ancient Thebes (Luxor, Egypt) and its relation with cultural dynamics and basin-wide hydroclimatic variability', Geoarchaeology. DOI:10.1002/gea.21631