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Wadi Sora & Karkur Talh
15th - 29th November, 2003
NOTICE: The rock art photos on this page are strictly copyrighted ! No photo may be copied / used for any purpose without written permission.
Day 1 - 3. Cairo - Wadi Sora
We made record speed along our normal itinerary, sleeping in Dakhla the first night, and making camp near the Prince Kemal el Din monument, after crossing the Selima Sand Sea on the second night. By noon on the third day we were in Wadi Sora.
Day 4-5. - Wadi Sora area
We started off visiting the sites discovered during our October 2002 expedition.
We made several visits in different light to the magnificent new site discovered by Massimo Foggini and Ahmed Mistekawy in May,2002.
(We have visited this site already in February 2003, however at the time it was kept confidential due to the wishes of the discoverers. A brief site overview is now available in the Rock Art section, however it cannot do full justice to this site that is certainly the most important rock art discovery in the whole Sahara in recent years.)
One afternoon with Jean-Loïc we made a long walk in the maze of rocks and wadis to the north of Wadi Sora
Our only new find was a series of engraved giraffes near the site found in February 2003, and Jean-Loïc found a series of very faint but interesting paintings in a shelter we found in October 2002.
Based on satelite photos, an area east of Wadi Sora looked promising for finding new rock art sites. We moved there on the afternoon of the 5th day. Initial surveys revealed nothing but a beautiful landscape, a cluster of Fagonia arabica in a sheltered wadi, and extensive neolithic settlement.
Day 6. - Western Gilf - Karkur Talh
In the morning we continued our search, and found three rock art sites with paintings. The first contained cattle pastoralist scenes painted over older 'wadi sora' style figures. On the floor we found very strange engraved warriors in a style not seen before in the area. In the last shelter there is a scene in the classic 'wadi sora' style, including examples of the strange 'headless beast' well known from the Foggini/Mistekawy site.
In the afternoon we drove to Karkur Talh, to our base camp in the southern branch.
Day 7 - 11. - Karkur Talh
We spent the next five days wisiting the known localities, and taking the opportunity to explore some unvisited areas.
Several new discoveries were made in the lesser side valleys, the upper section of Karkur Murr, and the broad plain east of the valley just south of the Egypt/Sudan border.
A unique find was made by Zayed in the main valley, on a rock several metres above the vlley floor. The very faint, but extremely well made engraving was rather difficult to make out, however the telltale pointed tail below the circle gave a clue: a large turtle (about 70cm high), accompanied by two smaller giraffes. Certainly there is no similar known representation in the eastern sahara.
Day 12 - 13. - Karkur Talh - Abu Ballas
After visiting the sites near the entrance of Karkur Talh we started north, camping by the south eastern Gilf Kebir the first night, and visiting "Hill with stone circles on top" and Abu Ballas on the second day, before making camp at the foot of the Abu Ballas scarp.
Day 14 - 15. - Abu Ballas - Dakhla - Cairo
Our return journey was planned to allow a visit to the Khufu/Redjedef inscriptions discovered by Carlo Bergmann. The route proved to be dismal, we covered 150 kilometres in over six hours ! However the torture was worth it, seeing this lonely ancient egyptian outpost, made for some unknown purpose over 100 kms from any inhabited place, is a unique and moving experience.
We reached Dakhla by the evening, driving up to Cairo the following day.