Farafa in Egypt | Copyright: Giulio Lucarini Farafra is one of the oases of the Egyptian Western Desert, a large region made up of a series of shallow basins and depressions, which in the past functioned as communication channels between different North African regions. The Farafra depression, in particular, connects with the Fayum basin and the Nile Valley to the east, while further to the north, the Siwa Oasis represents a natural link with the Mediterranean littoral. Farafra can thus be considered as a strategic “buffer” area, between the Nile Valley and the Delta, on one hand, and the eastern Libyan coast, on the other. During the last decades, the archaeological investigations carried out by the Archaeological Mission in Farafra Oasis revealed an intense occupation spanning throughout the Holocene, with a peak corresponding to the Mid Holocene climatic optimum, around 6000 BC. The research in Farafra has mainly aimed at investigating the transition from hunting and gathering to foraging and pastoral economies. The results of our recent investigations along the course of the Wadi el Obeiyid, located on the Northern edge of the depression, confirmed the role of Farafra as an ideal context for analysing how the exploitation of Near Eastern domesticates was combined with the use of wild African resources, as early farming spread across Mediterranean regions. Moreover, our research showed clearly how during the Mid Holocene Farafra functioned as a crossroads for people and resources in the trajectories between the Western Desert, with a particular emphasis on its northern edge, and the middle Nile Valley. The lecture is organized in cooperation with the “Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften – Ägyptologisches Seminar” at Freie Universität zu Berlin. For more information on Giulio Lucarini please visit his personal profile at the University of Cambridge

Image above: Slab structure site at the Farafra Oasis, Egypt. Copyright: Giulio Lucarini