Recensione in: Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer
The volume presents all the data collected during the cycle of research conducted by the Italian Archaeological Mission in the Farafra Oasis between 1990 and 2005. The 29 multidisciplinary essays contained in this book provide a detailed picture of the population of the Farafra Oasis, hitherto one of the least well known within the Western Desert. Farafra became particularly important during the middle Holocene, the period when climate conditions were most favourable, with later brief humid episodes even in the historic periods. The results of the long-term research cycle presented here, combined with data from the survey of the whole Wadi el Obeiyid still in progress, allow the authors to identify changes in the peopling of the oasis and to define various occupation phases. The new chronology for the Wadi el Obeiyid is one of the main achievements of the book and, as demonstrated in the final chapter, is in complete agreement with the main cultural units of other territories in the Western Desert. On this chronological basis, the contacts between the latter and the populations established on the Nile are brought into sharper focus. The importance of the archaeological documents discovered at Farafra and, at the same time their fragility due to the deterioration of the physical environment and the uncontrolled human activities, make us fear for their conservation. We hope that this book, with its complete documentation of the precious nature of the Farafra Oasis landscape and its archaeological heritage, may help to promote more effective policies for its safeguard.