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d’archéologie orientale du Caire

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Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 101
2001 IFAO
38 p.
gratuit - free of charge
Les inscriptions d’El-Harra, oasis de Bahareya.

In 1973, a posthumous article appeared, written by A. Fakhry, where he speaks of three inscriptions of the Middle Kingdom which he had discovered at El-Harra, at the oasis of Bahareya, and which he thought had a connection with the presence of ancient miners. In 2001, this site was once again visited within the framework of a mission led by the IFAO to the oasis. Seven inscriptions near the entrance to the underground galleries were found there. Three of them referred to a local governor named Hebi, two others being offering stelae in the name of royal servants, mentioning the name of a divinity Opet. An examination of the area seems to eliminate the hypothesis of a mining development: the galleries found there are most certainly of a natural origin. On the other hand, the very presence of these caves could have given the place a remarkable aspect in ancient times. The place itself, situated on a knoll at the approach to the oasis takes on an undeniable strategic interest, as it allows surveillance of the roads coming from the Nile valley. If the inscriptions found at El-Harra are modest, they are, for the moment, the only written sources of the Middle Kingdom found at the oasis of Bahareya. Some of them could date from the beginning of XIIth dynasty, and constitute, for this reason, an important milestone in the hystory of this region.