The Western Desert of Egypt during the Ptolemaic Period: a view from Dakhleh Oasis

2017-02-16T02:57:41Z (GMT) by Gill, James Christopher Reed
This thesis challenges the accepted view that there is comparatively little evidence for Ptolemaic Period activity in Egypt’s Western Oases. It looks beyond the meagre inscriptional evidence and focuses on the ceramic remains in order to determine the extent of Ptolemaic settlement in the oases and to offer new insights into the nature of this settlement. It presents an analysis of recently discovered Ptolemaic pottery from Mut al-Kharab in Dakhleh Oasis, as well as a re-examination of pottery collected by the Dakhleh Oasis Project during a survey of the oasis from 1978-1987. It also presents a discussion of Ptolemaic activity in Dakhleh, as well as a survey of Ptolemaic evidence from the wider Western Desert, specifically the oases of Kharga, Farafra, Bahariya and Siwa. This thesis rejects the widely held assumption that the Western Oases experienced a sudden increase in agricultural exploitation and a dramatic rise in population during the Roman Period, and argues that such changes had already taken place under the Ptolemies. This thesis presents a corpus of Ptolemaic pottery from Dakhleh Oasis, as well as a catalogue of Ptolemaic sites in the Western Oases. It thus represents the first major synthesis of Ptolemaic Period activity in the Western Desert of Egypt.