OIP 10.

Prehistoric Survey of Egypt and Western Asia, Vol. I: Paleolithic Man and the Nile-Faiyum Divide: A Study of the Region During Pliocene and Pleistocene Times.

K. S. Sandford and W. J. Arkell.

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The Nile Valley and the Faiyum are excavated in a plateau of Lower Tertiary rocks, a raised seabed, which forms the greater part of the northeastern corner of Africa. In Egypt the rim of this plateau crosses the Nile Valley south of Luxor, where the Cretaceous shales and Lower Eocene limestones are seen to rest unconformably on the Nubian sandstone. From here northward to the latitude of Assiut the Nile runs through a gorge cut in the Lower Eocene limestones, which (near Assiut) dip below the surface and are succeeded by the Middle Eocene, a more varied series of sands and clays, sandstones, and subordinate limestones. From Assiut to the Delta, before which the Middle Eocene in turn dips below the younger rocks, the Nile Valley is wider than in Upper Egypt, and its sides less precipitous, owing to the softer condition of the rocks. It is in this northern, more varied plateau of Middle Eocene sediments that the Faiyum depression is situated.

In tracing a Nile terrace which contained Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) artifacts, the authors were able to follow this terrace out of the Nile gorge, through the gap connecting the latter with the great Faiyum depression, and thus into the Faiyum itself. Here the Neolithic stage has not been covered by Nile alluvium; and below the Middle Paleolithic terrace the authors discovered a surprising succession of lake terraces, marking the successively lower levels of the shore of the shrinking Faiyum lake from Mousterian times down to the Neolithic. For the first time, therefore, we are now possessed of evidence which carries human development in the Nile Valley, and indeed in Northeastern Africa, from the earliest stages of the Paleolithic in Plio-Pleistocene times to the Neolithic of probably not more than eight or ten thousand years ago.

  • Oriental Institute Publications 10
  • Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1929
  • ISBN 0-226-62104-9
  • Pp. xv + 77, 25 figures, 11 plates, 1 map (printed in color on sturdy canvas, folded at end of book)
  • Clothbound 9 x 11.75 in / 23 x 30 cm
  • Out of Order