With donkeys, jars and water bags into the Libyan Desert: the Abu Ballas Trail in the late Old Kingdom/First Intermediate Period

Frank Förster

The so-called Abu Ballas Trail is a pharaonic donkey caravan route that connects the Dakhla Oasis with the Gilf Kebir Plateau, approximately 400 km to the southwest. Although one of its major archaeological sites, the eponymous Abu Ballas (‘Father of Jars’) hill with its large pottery depot, has been known since 1918, it was not until 1999/2000 that coherent evidence of ancient Egyptian advances far into the Libyan Desert came to light.

The numerous newly discovered sites and supply stations along the trail, mainly consisting of concentrations of large storage jars produced in Dakhla, are currently under investigation by the ACACIA project, a Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Cologne. This paper, presenting some of the results of the project, focuses on the material evidence, practical use and possible purpose of the trail in the late Old Kingdom/First Intermediate Period.

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To reference this article we suggest
Förster, F.,'With donkeys, jars and water bags into the Libyan Desert:the Abu Ballas Trail in the late Old Kingdom/First Intermediate Period ', BMSAES 7 (2007), 1–39, http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/research/publications/bmsaes/issue_7/foerster.aspx

Contact the author
FrankFoerster@gmx.de