This is the end…

The Desert Networks project has ended already one month ago! It is with a little delay that we have the pleasure to announce several news concerning our last activities.

First of all the website has been completely revamped: The general aspect has been simplified by Virgile Brouard, our webmaster. The site is now accessible on mobile phones and tablets. The interactive map has new tools, including much more powerful chronological filters, which allow to filter sites but also routes by period or precise date.

And a new page has been created, thanks to the work of Menna El-Dorry and Efstathia Dionysopoulou: it is dedicated to the alimentation of the ancient inhabitants of the desert. This section display all the information about the food eaten in the desert, according to written and archaeobotanical sources. Work is still in progress to complete the information on the many plants, vegetables and legumes that were eaten, but the corpus is already impressive, with 155 foodstuffs listed, and more than 2000 mentions in the texts, and 459 botanical remains.

In addition, an article on the arrowheads of the Raphia soldiers found at the Ptolemaic fort of Abbad and Bir Samut has just been published in the last volume of BASOR:

It is impossible to go back over 5 years of research and beautiful encounters, but this project will have been the occasion for our team to make great progress in the study of the Egyptian Eastern desert. To give some examples:

  • a PhD thesis has been defended by Laura Aguer on the Greek ostraca of Bir Samut, under the direction of Hélène Cuvigny (IRHT, CNRS), in July 2022 (see here)
  • another PhD thesis is in the process of being completed by Isabelle Goncalves, on the exploitation and circulation in the desert during the New Kingdom, under the direction of Laura Pantalacci (Univ. Lyon 2, HiSoMA).
  • Analysis tools (database and GIS) have been created by Louis Manière and Noémi Villars
  • They constitute the foundations of the “Camel GoogleMap” created by Maël Crépy, Louis Manière and Bérangère Redon (, the first applications of which are currently being prepared for publication
  • Laurel Darcy Hackley and Jennifer Gates-Foster organised the “Pots and Pepper” conference in 2021 and conducted very innovative research on the desert economy, using landscape archaeology and phenomenology approach
  • The RS9 conference was organised in Lyon in 2019, and the proceedings have just been published with 5 articles by members of the project, about water management, transport amphorae, New Kingdom occupation, hard stone exploitation and an Indian coin
  • The project supported also 4 field campaigns at Abbad, Ghozza and Deir el-Atrash, with the MAFDO directed by Thomas Faucher, and then Maël Crépy. We carried out surveys on the natural resources of the desert which shed critical light on the men/environment interactions.

All this work has already resulted in the publication of 15 articles and two monographs:

  1. Marie-Pierre Chaufray, “Tituli ptolémaïques du désert oriental égyptien”. New Approaches in Demotic Studies: Acts of the 13th International Conference of Demotic Studies, edited by Franziska Naether, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 39-92.
  2. Maël Crépy, Bérangère Redon, “Début et fin de l’usage intensif des chameaux dans le désert Oriental d’Égypte. Ce que disent les ostraca des premières caravanes dans la région au IIIe s. av. J.-C. et les récits de voyageurs des dernières grandes traversées chamelières au XIXe s.”, Ethnozootechnie 106, 2019
  3. Thomas Faucher, Bérangère Redon, Adam Bülow-Jacobsen, Maël Crépy, Hélène Cuvigny, Jennifer Gates-Foster, Isabelle Goncalves, Mariola Hepa, Damien Laisney, Joachim Le Bomin, Julie Marchand, Alexandre Rabot, Markos Vaxevanopoulos, Noémi Villars, “Désert Oriental (2020)”, BAEFE 2020,
  4. Bérangère Redon, Damien Agut-Labordère (ed.), Les vaisseaux du désert et des steppes – Les camélidés dans l’Antiquité (Camelus dromedarius et Camelus bactrianus), MOM Editions, 2020
  5. Maël Crépy, Thomas Faucher, Bérangère Redon, Joachim Le Bomin, Louis Manière, Julie Marchand, Alexandre Rabot, Noémi Villars, “Désert oriental (2021). Stathmoi et metalla. Exploiter et traverser le désert oriental à l’époque ptolémaïque”, BAEFE 2021,
  6. Jennifer Gates-Foster, Isabelle Goncalves, Bérangère Redon, Hélène Cuvigny, Mariola Hepa,Thomas Faucher, “The Early Imperial fortress of Berkou, Eastern Desert, Egypt”, JRA 34/1, 2021, p. 30-74,
  7. Louis Manière, Maël Crépy, Bérangère Redon, “Building a Model to reconstruct the Hellenistic and Roman Road Networks of the Eastern Egyptian Desert: a Semi-Empirical Approach Based on Modern Travelers’ Itineraries”, Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology 4, 2021, p. 20-46
  8. Louis Manière, Maël Crépy, Bérangère Redon, “DATA PAPER Geospatial Data from the “Building a Model to Reconstruct the Hellenistic and Roman Road Networks of the Eastern Desert of Egypt, a Semi-Empirical Approach Based on Modern Travelers’ Itineraries” Paper”, Journal of Open Archaeology Data, 8(1), 2021, p.7 DOI:
  9. Caroline Durand, Julie Marchand, Bérangère Redon, Pierre Schneider (ed.), Networked Spaces: The spatiality of networks in the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean, MOM Editions, 2022,
  10. Caroline Durand, Julie Marchand, Bérangère Redon, Pierre Schneider, “Space and networks. The Red Sea model”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  11. Shailendra Bhandare, Hélène Cuvigny, Thomas Faucher, “An Indian coin in the Eastern Desert of Egypt”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  12. Julie Marchand, “Early Islamic soft-stone vessels. Production and distribution on both sides of the Red Sea”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  13. Isabelle Goncalves, “Exploiting and crossing the Egyptian Eastern Desert during the Pharaonic Era”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  14. Maël Crépy, Bérangère Redon, “Water resources and their management in the Eastern Desert of Egypt from Antiquity to the present day Contribution of the accounts of modern travelers and early scholars (1769‑1951)”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  15. Jennifer Gates-Foster, “Third century BCE supply networks and Ptolemaic transport amphoras from ‘Abbad and Bi’r Samut in Egypt’s Eastern Desert”, RS9 proceedings, MOM Editions, 2022
  16. Bérangère Redon, Thomas Faucher, “Recent Discoveries of BE Arrowheads and Joppa Coins in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: In the Footsteps of the Ptolemaic Army”, BASOR 388, 2022,
  17. Maël Crépy Louis Manière, Bérangère Redon, “Roads in the sand: Using data from modern travelers to reconstruct the ancient road networks of Egypt’s Eastern Desert”, in Tuna Kulayci (éd.), Archaeology of the roads, forthcoming,

To end up, we would like to thank our colleagues and friends, in particular the Trismegistos team and the members of the Berenike (univ. Delaware and PCMA) and Sikait projects. Many thanks to the IFAO for its support in Egypt and contribution to our mapping tools.

A huge thank to HiSoMA (UMR 5189, Lyon), the Rhone-Auvergne delegation of the CNRS, for the management of this huge project! To the MOM (Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, Lyon), for the IT support. And all our gratitude to the ERC for having made this project possible.

Bérangère Redon, PI of the project

PS: This is not the end of the project, as we have gathered so much data that we now have years of work ahead of us! We are also continuing to go to the Eastern Desert, hopefully next January. See you soon for the continuation of our exciting adventures!!

Citer ce billet
Desert Networks (2022, 2 décembre). This is the end… ERC Desert Networks. Consulté le 29 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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