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HEINRICH-BARTH-INSTITUT e.V.

in Kooperation mit der Universitt zu Kln

COLLOQUIUM AFRICANUM

Beitrge zur interdisziplinren Afrikaforschung Contributions to Interdisciplinary Research in Africa Contributions la recherche interdisciplinaire en Afrique

KLN

2009

Desert animals in the eastern Sahara: Status, economic significance, and cultural reflection in antiquity

Proceedings of an Interdisciplinary ACACIA Workshop held at the University of Cologne December 14 15, 2007

Edited by Heiko Riemer, Frank Frster, Michael Herb & Nadja Pllath

HEINRICH-BARTH-INSTITUT

HEINRICH-BARTH-INSTITUT e.V., Kln 2009 Jennerstrae 8, D 50823 Kln http:/ /www.hbi-ev.uni-koeln.de This book is in copyright. No reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of the publisher.

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Bibliothek Die Deutsche Bibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http:/ /www.dnb.ddb.de

Financed by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Cover and front pages of the first and fifth chapters show details from the painted relief in the mastaba of Mereruka in Saqqara reproduced after P. Duell, 1938, The mastaba of Mereruka, Part II. Oriental Institute Publications 39 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) pl. 153. For the Workshops logo on the title page see pp. 33 34

Digital image editing and Layout: Lutz Hermsdorf-Knauth Typeset: Ursula Tegtmeier Copy editors: Carol Laidler, Franziska Bartz Printed in Germany by Hans Kock GmbH, Bielefeld ISBN 978-3-927688-36-0

Contents

Foreword by John Newby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editors preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Workshop programme and participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction Michael Herb & Frank Frster From desert to town: The economic role of desert game in the Pyramid Ages of ancient Egypt as inferred from historical sources (c. 2600 1800 BC). An outline of the workshops inspiration and objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In the desert and on the rivers shore: Archaeozoological evidence from Late Palaeolithic to Pharaonic times Veerle Linseele & Wim Van Neer Exploitation of desert and other wild game in ancient Egypt: The archaeozoological evidence from the Nile Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nadja Pllath The prehistoric game bag: The archaeozoological record from sites in the Western Desert of Egypt . . . . . . . . . Past and present: The distribution and behaviour of desert species

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Nicolas Manlius Historical ecology and biogeography. An example: The Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Hubert Berke Scope and behaviour of flight in Saharan gazelles: A remarkable change between 1850 AD and the present . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Jens-Ove Heckel The present status of hartebeest subspecies (Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp.) with special focus on north-east Africa and the Tora hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus tora) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Protein and prestige: The hunt for desert mammals throughout time Dirk Huyge & Salima Ikram Animal representations in the Late Palaeolithic rock art of Qurta (Upper Egypt) . . 157 Heiko Riemer Prehistoric trap hunting in the eastern Saharan deserts: A re-evaluation of the game trap structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 Stan Hendrickx, Heiko Riemer, Frank Frster & John C. Darnell Late Predynastic/Early Dynastic rock art scenes of Barbary sheep hunting in Egypts Western Desert. From capturing wild animals to the women of the Acacia House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Laure Pantalacci & Josphine Lesur-Gebremariam Wild animals downtown: Evidence from Balat, Dakhla Oasis (end of the 3rd millennium BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245 In the realm of gods and concepts: Cultural reflections on desert animals in ancient Egypt Salima Ikram A desert zoo: An exploration of meaning and reality of animals in the rock art of Kharga Oasis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 Dirk Huyge Detecting magic in rock art: The case of the ancient Egyptian malignant ass . . . . . 293 Martin Fitzenreiter On the yonder side of bread and beer: The conceptualisation of animal based food in funerary chapels of the Old Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309 Joachim Friedrich Quack The animals of the desert and the return of the goddess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341 Comparative chronology chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362 Biographies of contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365

Foreword

Ever since a boy I have been fascinated by ancient Egypt. I recall poring over colourful books covered by mysterious hieroglyphics and the most wonderful paintings depicting life along the Nile Valley all those millennia ago. Always a lover of nature and wildlife, it was impossible not to be impressed by the symbology and obvious power of animals in ancient Egypts life, art and religion. Exquisite paintings, too, depicting the diversity and abundance of natural resources plants, fishes, birds and larger animals and the obvious indication of their importance and undeniable role in sustaining ancient Egypts culture, religion, economy and dining table. Whether by fate, design or just pure luck, my relationship with Egypt and more broadly, the Sahara, was boosted unexpectedly when I left Europe as a young post-grad and was catapulted into northern Chad as a young wildlife biologist in the early 1970s. The rest, as they say, is history and ever since then I have become totally embroiled in deserts, their wildlife and conservation. Unknown to many, the Sahara not only supports a surprising diversity of superbly adapted life forms but many of these are among the most threatened species on earth. Another significant fact is that by and large these species are virtually ignored by the conservation community, focussed as it increasingly is on the supposedly more glamorous mega-rich biodiversity centres or hot spots. One consequence of which is an almost total ignorance and disinterest in areas deemed to be of lesser importance, including some of the hottest spots of them all, the deserts of the world. To address this sad state of affairs a small group of desert aficionados joined forces in 2004 to create the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF). And it was as director of SCF that I received an invitation to attend the workshop so ably organised and orchestrated by the ACACIA team and colleagues from the University of Cologne. What excitement and what childhood memories came flooding back! As an attempt to bring together scholars of different disciplines to initiate and explore an interdisciplinary approach towards a better understanding of the role and significance of desert wildlife in the culture, religion and economy of the eastern Sahara millennia ago, the workshop was a complete success. From palaeozoological research going back over 20,000 years to the details of wildlife numbers entering trade, no stone was left unturned in seeking a better understanding of the role of desert wildlife in society and mans methods of obtaining it all those years ago. My own presentation on the current conservation status of todays desert wildlife was intended not only as a reminder of the threats faced by species familiar all those years

ago, but especially as a modest contribution to the dynamic and very exciting process fostered by the meeting of having the past inform the future, and the future the past. Research of this nature is very much a multi-dimensional challenge bringing together the vast amount of multi-disciplinary information and expertise focussed on the period itself, but also establishing working links with the content and relevancy of modern day information as input, background and reality check. Looking at things the other way round, from my own more modern day perspective towards the past, the meeting opened up some tremendous and hitherto unknown avenues of knowledge and research and was a real eye-opener. Whether in the past or today, the relationship between man and wildlife is exceedingly complex and as we know well today highly relevant to working out issues of survival and sustainability. We can still only speculate on the overall impact and significance of people on wildlife all those years ago, but we can be certain there was one even if only local in extent. Looking at todays abysmal record of environmental care it is with surprise and deep respect species such as the gazelles, oryx and Barbary sheep depicted by ancient Egyptians are still around today. What incredible adaptations and resilience to some of the harshest conditions on earth, let alone the price exacted by mans insatiable hunger and penchant for wiping things out. Yet, as it was in ancient times, there are still societies living in the desert that benefit from and exploit wildlife for food and cultural sustenance. In rather more sophisticated ways, its role in maintaining ecological stability and productivity, as well as providing us with valuable insights into the insidious processes of desertification and climate change are only just being realised. The past, the present and the future are but one and with each extinction the fabric of life is picked apart and weakened, our own lives impoverished and that of our children and theirs compromised. The Cologne workshop was a celebration of that life, one expressed from many perspectives and through many lenses. I sincerely hope my colleagues got as much pleasure and information out of my humble contribution as I got out of theirs! The workshop was a wonderful success and these proceedings are a valuable contribution and foundation to further understanding and I hope respect for deserts and their incomparable wildlife.

Gland (Switzerland), September 2009

John Newby Director Sahara Conservation Fund

Editors preface

This volume presents the proceedings of an ACACIA workshop on Saharan wildlife held in the Department of Geography at the University of Cologne, Germany, on 14th and 15th December 2007. The workshop was originally conceived by Michael Herb, and was subsequently organised by the editors. The meeting was held as a closing workshop on one of the various topics that had emerged from the interdisciplinary studies of the Collaborative Research Centre 389 ACACIA (Arid Climate, Adaption and Cultural Innovation in Africa) at the University of Cologne. For more than a decade ACACIA was concerned with changing climate and cultural adaptation in Africas arid zones from prehistoric to most recent times, and many avenues of research have been envisioned by Rudolph Kuper as one of its initiators.1 Between 1995 and 2007 ACACIA was generously funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council, DFG). We are deeply indebted to the DFG and its referees for also covering the expenses of the workshop and these proceedings. Starting from the question of how the huge number and diversity of desert game in ancient Egyptian sources, both pictorial and epigraphic, could be interpreted accurately, the workshop largely dealt with two major problems: Firstly, which species actually lived in the desert environments of north-east Africa during the past, and how their existence has been shaped by climatic developments and the impact of humans during the last 20,000 years? Secondly, to what extent can the cultural representation of desert animals in historical texts, depictions, and archaeological material be regarded as relevant data for reconstructing the actual status, distribution and economic significance of the individual species in the past? Furthermore, what do these anthropogenic transformations of the real animal world into human (visual) language, symbolism and mythology tell us about the iconographic, socio-economic, ideological and religious concepts of the human cultures involved? Although these questions have their traditional positions in different disciplines e. g., archaeozoology, which may reveal species that actually existed in the past, or Egyptology, which considers the facets of the cultural perception of wild animals we felt that giving sufficient answers needed a wider view across the borders of academic specialisation. The workshop, finally, saw the participation of scholars from the

1 For an overview of the various topics addressed by ACACIA see O. Bubenzer, A. Bolten & F. Darius (eds.), 2007: Atlas of Cultural and Environmental Change in Arid Africa. Africa Praehistorica 21 (Kln: HeinrichBarth-Institut).

following fields of research: geomorphology and climatology, biology, botany and ecology, zoology and veterinary medicine, archaeozoology, prehistoric and Egyptian archaeology, nature conservation, art history, and Egyptology. To some extent, this volume reflects the heterogeneous character of the many disciplines involved, but we are sure that the reader will discover the many cross-disciplinary links. Of course, we have not attempted to create a ready-made handbook on all the aspects of desert animals; for the time being, this is far from being possible. Rather, the workshop was intended to initiate sensitivity and discussion within an interdisciplinary forum. As always, at the beginning of such an endeavour there are boundaries set by different scientific terminologies, methods and ways of thinking, which must be overcome. However, we feel that this challenge was successfully met, despite some problems and questions that remain open. Owing to the open-minded atmosphere the participants created during the meeting and subsequent discussions, this approach has turned out to be appropriate for further studies. In preparing the contributions for publication, the authors were given the opportunity to extend or change the topic of their papers in order to incorporate any new aspects and ideas that arose during the workshop or subsequently. Many of those who presented a paper at the workshop (the original programme of which follows) submitted manuscripts for the proceedings. Moreover, we are glad to include some additional contributions by authors who did not attend the workshop (for further details see the introduction). The thirteen papers assembled here are arranged thematically in four chapters, preceded by an introductory paper outlining the workshops inspiration and objectives in more detail. A comprehensive chronology chart has been added at the end of the book, and we also took the liberty of inserting a number of cross-references on specific aspects discussed or mentioned in more than one contribution. First and foremost, our sincere thanks go to the participants in the workshop and to all those who contributed to the proceedings. Moreover, we are indebted to several people who assisted in the workshop and helped to finalise this book: We thank Olaf Bubenzer and Ulrich Radtke who generously provided the facilities of the Department of Geography at the University of Cologne for the workshop. We would also like to give particular recognition to Andreas Bolten who supported us with his technical and organisational skills during the meeting, as well as to Svenja Glden who organised the catering. Further assistance was kindly given by Franziska Bartz, Silke Hallmann, Gtz Ossendorf, Jacqueline Ruland, and Peter Schnfeld. Thanks are also due to Michael Bollig, speaker of ACACIA, for his welcome note, and to Werner Schuck, coordinator of ACACIA, for his help in numerous organisational matters. As for finalising the proceedings, we have to thank Martin Fitzenreiter as well as Franoise Labrique, director of the Egyptological Institute of the University of Cologne,

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for providing us with some high-quality scans for illustrations. Special thanks go to John Newby, director of the Sahara Conservation Fund, for his personal notes on the workshop and the proceedings. Furthermore, we are most grateful to Carol Laidler who edited the English, and to Franziska Bartz who assisted in the final correction of the papers. Last but not least, we highly appreciate the support of Lutz Hermsdorf-Knauth and Ursula Tegtmeier in bringing the manuscripts into print without their skills and dedication this volume would not have taken its current form.

Cologne, September 2009

Heiko Riemer Frank Frster Michael Herb Nadja Pllath

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Workshop programme and participants

Desert animals in the eastern Sahara: Status, economic significance, and cultural reflection in antiquity. Interdisciplinary Workshop held at the University of Cologne, Department of Geography, December 1415, 2007
Michael Bollig, University of Cologne, Institute of Cultural Anthropology, Germany Welcome speech of the ACACIA workshop on desert animals in the eastern Sahara Michael Herb & Frank Frster, University of Cologne, Egyptological Institute, Germany Desert animals in antiquity. From desert to town: Hunting in the Pyramid Ages of ancient Egypt (c. 2600 1800 BC) John Newby, Sahara Conservation Fund, Gland, Switzerland Desert animals today. The current status of Saharan wildlife: Status quo and what can be done about improving the situation Olaf Bubenzer, University of Cologne / Ruprecht Carls University Heidelberg, Department of Geography, Germany The eastern Sahara facets of the natural landscape and climate since 5000 BC Frank Darius, University of Cologne, Department of Geography, Germany / Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Cairo, Egypt Past vegetation zones of the eastern Sahara deduced from archaeo-botanical remains and current habitat features Veerle Linseele, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Center for Archaeological Sciences, Belgium Wild mammals in Predynastic Egypt: The archaezoological evidence from the Nile Valley Nadja Pllath, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Institute of Palaeoanatomy and History of Veterinary Medicine, Germany The prehistoric game bag: The archaeozoological record from sites in the Western Desert of Egypt Dirk Huyge, Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium Desert animals in the rock art at Qurta, Upper Egypt Salima Ikram, American University in Cairo, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology, Egypt Animals in the desert: An exploration of meaning and reality of petroglyphs in Kharga Jens-Ove Heckel, IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group / Zoo Landau in der Pfalz, Germany Status of the hartebeest subspecies (Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp.) with special focus on Northeast Africa Nicolas Manlius, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France Development of the distribution of Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in Egypt Birgit Keding, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Ties to the old ways of life: The role of wild animals in a prehistoric pastoral society at the southern margins of the eastern Sahara during the 4th and 3rd millennium BC Hubert Berke, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Scope and behaviour of flight in gazelle and antelope: A remarkable change between 1850 and the present

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Christian Leitz, Eberhard Carls University Tbingen, Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Germany Zoologische Informationen in nichtzoologischen Texten des Alten gypten Stan Hendrickx, PHL Hasselt / Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium Hunting in the desert during Predynastic and Early Dynastic times Martin Fitzenreiter, Berlin, Germany Jenseits von Brot und Bier: Fleisch in Ernhrungskonzepten des gyptischen Alten Reiches (ca. 26002200 BC) Joachim F. Quack, Ruprecht Carls University Heidelberg, Egyptological Institute, Germany Das Wild der Wste und die Heimkehr der Gttin

Further participants in the workshop


Wolfgang Decker, German Sport University Cologne, Institute for the History of Sport, Germany Angela van den Driesch, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Institute of Palaeoanatomy and History of Veterinary Medicine, Germany Rainer Hutterer, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, Germany Friederike Jesse, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Karin Kindermann, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany / Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Cairo, Egypt Stefan Krpelin, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Franoise Labrique, University of Cologne, Egyptological Institute, Germany Tilman Lenssen-Erz, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Stefanie Nubaum, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Gustav Peters, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, Germany Joris Peters, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Institute of Palaeoanatomy and History of Veterinary Medicine, Germany Peter Schnfeld, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany Petra Seibold, IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, Heidelberg, Germany Heinz-Josef Thissen, University of Cologne, Egyptological Institute, Germany Wim Van Neer, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Laboratory of Animal Biodiversity and Systematics, Belgium Bettina Ventker, University of Cologne, Egyptological Institute, Germany Hans-Peter Wotzka, University of Cologne, Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, African Research Unit, Germany

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