The Secrets of an Everlasting Oasis


“In this tiny island of green—with its shifting border of deadly sand, verdant farms, and buried water—rests the whole of human history and its future.” – Harry Thurston, Island of the Blessed

Scientists at the Dakhleh Oasis Project have been researching this ancient landscape since 1978. Through almost four decades they have studied the movement of humans across this part of the Sahara; they have uncovered lost towns swallowed by desert sands; found ancient wooden books and hundreds of papyrus documents and personal letters. All these discoveries are revealing the daily lives and unusual religious practices of a forgotten people.

For half a million years our ancestors have left a record of their journey through this land, which has sometimes been verdant, sometimes desert, but has always provided a dramatic backdrop for the natural art gallery they left behind—from prehistoric rock art to Roman wall paintings.

The DOP is unique in its scope and breadth of study. Its consortium of scholars includes archaeologists, anthropologists, zoologists, botanists, geophysicists, environmentalists, Classicists, Islamists, Egyptologists, conservators, artists and photographers. More than a hundred scientists come to the DOP each winter season. The project’s work has been publicised by the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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