Archaeology Odyssey 3:1, January/February 2000

Destinations: The Oasis of Amun Siwa, Egypt

Across the Great Sand Sea lies an ancient necropolis, an oracle of the gods and a melted city.

Archaeology Odyssey

For the ancient Berbers who traveled across the parched desert on camels, the fertile oasis of Amun Siwa was a paradise; for modern travelers, it’s a trip back in time.

Sixty-five miles from the Libyan border, in Egypt’s barren Sahara desert, Siwa lies in a fertile depression about 60 feet below sea level. It is surrounded by enormous dunes, shaped like pyramids or flat-topped plateaus, that seem to stretch into the sky. Approaching the Siwa oasis on the road from Cairo, we see trees and shrubs begin to dot the landscape; then, suddenly, Gebel el-Mawta, the Mountain of Death, appears like an ominous stony guardian over the desert sand.

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