ARCE Members Only: From Survey to History: The Region of Wadi el-Hudi through the Eras

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Presented by: Professor Kate Liszka; Benson and Pamela Harer Fellow in Egyptology and Associate Professor of History at California State University San Bernardino

  • 2:00 PM ET/ 9:00 PM EET
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Lecture Information:

Wadi el-Hudi is primarily known as the place where the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs sent large expeditions to gather bright purple amethyst to use in jewelry worn by royal women and the pharaoh’s inner circle. Yet, there is so much more to this region of Egypt’s Eastern Desert. Archaeologists, philologists, and historians have known about the amethyst and gold mining region of Wadi el-Hudi, since the work of Ahmed Fakhry in 1952. Fakhry, as well as later researchers Ian Shaw and Dietrich and Rosemarie Klemm, identified 155 inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom as well as 14 archaeological sites dating to the Middle Kingdom and (vaguely) the Roman Period. Nevertheless, the archaeology of this region of the desert has remained largely unstudied apart from the inscriptions found in the Middle Kingdom mining sites. 

Beginning in 2014, the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition has addressed this absence of knowledge by extensively surveying, mapping, and studying the archaeology of the surrounding region of Wadi el-Hudi. We have until now identified 46 archaeological sites within a 75km2 area and added 125 new inscriptions. Our survey work has defined and added several new nuanced chapters to the history of this region. This talk will discuss the unpublished history of the Wadi el-Hudi region based on our recent work, adding new information about the Paleolithic Period, the Predynastic Period, the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom, the Persian Period, the Late Ptolemaic and Early Roman Periods, the Late Roman Period, the Islamic Period, and modern activities. It will talk about the role of this region for mining, for pastoral nomads, and as a caravan route. The region of Wadi el-Hudi was integral to the history of the Eastern Desert throughout the eras, both for pharaohs’ jewelry, and so much more. 

Speaker Bio:

Kate Liszka is the Benson and Pamela Harer Fellow in Egyptology and Associate Professor of History at California State University San Beranardino. Since 2014, she has directed the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition to the Eastern Desert, along with Bryan Kraemer and Meredith Brand. She received her PhD in 2012 in Egyptian Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania with her study of the Medjay. From 2012-2015, she was a Costen Fellow and member of the Society of Fellows at Princeton University. Liszka specializes in studies of Egyptian-Nubian relations, border zones, and the Egyptian administration. For more information about their archaeological work, see www.wadielhudi.com