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Angus Graham

PhD University College London Humanities Year of admission: 2013

Reconstruction of the Egyptians' ancient canal system
In Egyptian tombs, there are scenes showing temples with large harbours / ceremonial lakes in front them, which were connected to the Nile via canals. Angus Graham will reconstruct the ancient waterscapes around Luxor, and investigate how the channels were used and what impact they had on ancient Egyptian culture.

Egyptian illustrations from antiquity show huge processions of Theban gods as they approached temples in 50-meter-long boats. Ancient sources suggest that the part of the Nile Valley surrounding today's city of Luxor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had an infrastructure of canals and ceremonial harbour basins. But no one has yet succeeded in proving that those waterways really existed.

Angus Graham, Honorary Research Associate at University College London, will attempt to identify what this ancient water landscape looked like and what functions it had. For example, the canals are likely to have enabled the transportation of construction stone and monoliths weighing hundreds of tonnes to temples.  The waterways presumably have also played an important part in religious ceremonies. In the project, Angus Graham will use geophysical and geo-archaeological methods to map the 7500 hectare area of the Theban floodplain. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, he will move to Uppsala University. 

Photo: Sue Graham