The Project
Slide Show

Ababda guides near an ancient well

Traditional huts with matting (Copyright© H.M.Nouwens)

According to Pharaonic texts, 4200 year ago the Medjau inhabited the southern part of the Eastern Desert. During the reign of the Ptolemaic kings (332-30 BC), the people in this area were called Troglodytes. The direct ancestors of the Ababda may have been the Blemmyes, who conquered southern portions of the Roman province of Egypt after centuries of conflict. The good humored and hospitable Bedouin of the Ababda tribe have inhabited the Eastern Desert for many centuries now. The Ababda belong with four other tribes to the Bedja group, of which the great majority lives in Sudan. Many Ababda now live in towns and villages in the Nile Valley and the Red Sea coast, driving in pick-up cars instead of riding camels. Others, who cling to the traditional way of life, still move through the desert with their herds of goats and sheep. They travel from well to well, their camels loaded with water bags made of goat hide and disassembled huts of matting.

Ababda woman (copyright© H.M.Nouwens)
The Project: the Ababda Bedouin
the surveys
the excavations