Abu Ballas
Abu Ballas "Pottery Hill", was discovered by the surveyor Dr. John Ball in 1917, and was renamed Abu Ballas (which means "hill of pots") by the Egyptian explorer, Prince Kemal el Din. The pots have been recently dated by thermoluminescese to about 1500 BC, the time when ancient Egypt was still at the height of its power. This confirmed what was already known by the design of the pots.

The pots evidently contained water, meaning that this had been a water depot in ancient Egyptian times. But situated as it is, a hundred kilometres South West of Dakhla Oasis, invites us to question why the ancient Egyptians wanted to head out into the deep Western Desert? In recent times, mainly due to the efforts of the Austrian explorer, Carlo Bergmann, it has been established that Abu Ballas is just one in a long line of water depots stretching over 300 km from Dakhla Oasis down the Eastern Edge of the Gilf Kebir. Where the trail leads after that is a mystery that has yet to be solved. Did the trail lead over the Gilf? Did it by-pass the Gilf and head down to the oasis at Jebel Uweinat? We don't yet know.

Broken Old Kingdom pots When is was discovered, there were thousands of pots stacked in neat layers around the base of the hill. But the thousands of visitors since then who have carted off a memento have had their toll and now there are just fragments left.

A two inch long (50mm) white film canister in middle of the frame gives an idea of the size of the containers.

Small engraving This rather nice little engraving of a hunter with his bow, running after his prey, is situated in a small shelter halfway up the hill.

It was frustrating to watch the sun move around and cut off the hunter's right arm as I struggled to reload the camera with another roll of film!

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