Virginia Emery, Adult Student Program Manager, Center for Adult and Returning Students, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Since 2011, the Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey has studied the geological history of the Nile River and its floodplain in the Theban area—home of the Valley of the Kings, New Kingdom royal mortuary temples, and Karnak Temple—and investigated how geological developments impacted and were exploited by the ancient Egyptians. The project has employed a novel blend of investigative techniques from geology (manual boreholes and percussion coring), geophysics (electric resistivity tomography and ground penetrating radar), and traditional archaeology (ceramics analysis) to explore the interaction of the natural landscape and the Egyptians. Using this suite of investigative techniques, the team has completed five transects stretching from the desert edge to the current Nile riverbank: four on the west bank and one on the east bank. The four west bank transects have revealed the presence of a secondary river channel passing in front of the royal mortuary temples that could have been used to transport construction materials, and the east bank transect has provided additional data to understand the geological development around the Karnak Temple complex.