History & Culture

Polish scientists will examine how climate changed in Egypt thousands of years ago

Polish scientists want to examine how climate changed in the Nile delta over the millennia. Head of the pioneering program that will also involve researchers from Egypt and China, is Prof. Leszek Marks of the Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw.

Group of researchers have just returned from reconnaissance expedition to the Egyptian Nile delta. Suring the three-year Nile Climate Change Project (NCCP) they will prepare the reconstruction of climate changes in the region over the millennia.

"We will drill a series of 40 meters deep wells near the lakes Mariut, El Brolus and El Manzija in the northern part of the Nile delta and Lake Karun (Birkat Qaroun) in the Fayum Oasis. We will obtain lake sediment core samples and subject them to lithological, palaeo-climatic, palaeo-ecological and chronostratigraphic analysis "- told PAP project coordinator, Dr. Fabian Welc from the Institute of Archaeology of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

Scientists are interested in the changes that have occurred during the Holocene. This geological epoch began shortly after the end of the last ice age, about 11.5 thousand years ago. The project will reconstruct a scenario of climate change at the local (Egypt) and regional (north-east Africa) scale. Researchers will reconcile the results with each phase of the development of civilization of ancient Egypt, especially in the context of sudden and catastrophic climate fluctuations.

"We are particularly interested in drastic climate changes in the third millennium BC, which contributed to the sudden collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt, disintegration of the Akkadian state in Mesopotamia and the abrupt end of the city civilization Harappa in India, referred to as the climatic event Bond 3" - said Dr. Welc.

The international team of scientists includes: Prof. Leszek Marks (Department of Climate Geology, Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw), Prof. Alaa Salem (Egyptian project coordinator, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kafr El Sheikh in the Nile Delta), Dr. Fabian Welc and Prof. Jerzy Nitychoruk,, lacustrine sediments expert (Department of Climate Geology, Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw). The project will also be supported by many other scholars from Poland, Egypt and China.

The three-year project is funded by a grant awarded by the National Science Centre to the Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw. The project has the logistical support of the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, through its research station in Cairo.

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