Bonn Great Sand Sea | GEO Sahara Expedition 2000

Together with Cologne University an expedition was organized and carried for GEO Magazine during Winter/Spring 2000. Its purpose was to trace, document and collect Desert Glass in the Great Sand Sea between Gilf Khebir and Siwa oasis, an area 1000 km by 1000 km  adjoining Libya in the West and Sudan in the South.

GEO Expedition Route to Gilf-al-Khebir
GEO Expedition Route to Gilf Khebir
This is the Area of Research | Egypt
The Area of Research | Egypt

This glass is almost as hard as diamond and was assumed to be the  scarab material on Tut-Anch-Amuns pectoral shown in Cairo National Museum. Glass production needs more than 1000 K heat, impossible in those days but ancient literature reported about something alike found in the Great Sand Sea.

Tut-Anch-Amuns Death Mask and Scarabee in Cairo | Egypt
Tut-Anch-Amun’s Pectoral in Cairo’s National Museum Features a Scarab Scraved from Desert Glass | Egypt

For decades Cologne University was in charge of climate research all over Africa.  During the Acacia SFB 389 project in the 1999-2000 field season Rudolph Kuper and Stephan Kröpelin, Heinrich-Barth-Institut,  were tracing and documenting Lord Almáshys research in and around Gilf Khebir. He is one of the most important Sahara researchers and  originators of climate change theory assuming that Sahara was not just arid but fertile every 10.000 years. His proofs were findings of wall paintings and engravings showing giraffes, rhinos, lions and even swimming people, meaning: fertility and water.

Some of the Engravings found in Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Some of the Engravings found in Gilf Khebir | Egypt

His publications led to dismission from the German Archaeological Society due to silliness. He became Director of Cairo National Museum. Also, during WWII, Almáshy had been spying for or the German and British Miltary in that area. Today, he is an aknowleged scientist and his life was the basis of the great movie “The English Patient“.

Kröpelin made contracts with Uwe George, a founder of GEO journal, as a journalist, Carlo Bergmann, a scout of ancient tracks and traces with his camels and Raoul Schrott, a travel and history book writer.

Carlo Bergmann and his Camels | Egypt

We were in charge of organisation and  technology and brought 2 Mercedes G270, gift of the company, from Stuttgart to Cairo via Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Haifa to Egypt. About 20 people forming the campaign met in Cairo’s German Archaeology Institute at Zamalek and arranged for permits and papers together with merchandizing lots of food for 2 months.

This caravan drove to the University’s excavation base in Dakhla, Western Desert organizing baking, watering and car maintenance before starting the campaign in 3 groups: The scout, 5 investigators exploring sites and directions and the excavators documenting, excavating and deploying antique goods.

Cologne University Post in Dakhla | Egypt
Dakhla Camp and the White Desert | Egypt
University Post in Dakhla and View of White Desert | Egypt
There are Animals, too, in Dakhla | Egypt
New Front Axle for Mercedes G | Egypt
And Spare Tires | Egypt
Andrew Scott does a Good Job on Water Supply in Dakhla | Egypt
South African Andrew Scott does a Good Job on Water Supply in Dakhla | Egypt
Good to Bake enough Bread and to Dry it in Dakhla | Egypt
Good to Bake enough Bread and to Dry it in Dakhla | Egypt
Supplies for 12People over 3 Weeks in the Desert| Egypt
Supplies for 12 People over 3 Weeks in the Desert| Egypt
Furthermore Deflating Tires before Entering Sand South of Dakhla | Egypt
Deflating Tires before Entering Sand Seems Useful South of Dakhla | Egypt
Even this Is not a Guarantee in the Western Desert | Egypt
Even this Is not a Guarantee in the Western Desert | Egypt
One of our Camps in the Desert | Egypt
Visitor at Night in the Desert | Egypt

Carlo searched for ancient caravan routes through the desert, originating from Paharao times, most of them starting in the  Nile Valley leading South East into Sudan and Chad. In those days B.C. camels were not available in Egypt. Instead, donkeys needing lots of water and food on their way were means of transportation. Ancient caravans put directions and alamats and water supplies along thier routes, some of them still found and traced by Carlo today in this vast area. Donkeys were replaced by camels only after Cambyses II and his Persian troops had conquered Egypt about 500 B.C. making desert travelling much easier.

Alamat as Ancient Way Sign through the Western Desert | Egypt
Pharaonic Directions in the Western Desert, found by Carlo Bergmann | Egypt
Pyramid Made by Wind Corrasion, not Pharaos, close to Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Pyramid Made by Wind Corrasion, not Pharaos, close to Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Just Missing Rally Paris Dakar Cairo 2000: 400 Vehicles Passing Gilf Khebir without any Left-Overs but Lots of Tracks near Muth | Egypt
Finally: Traces of our Scout Carlo without Phone Contact for Days because of Battery Problems, Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Carlo is with his Caravan Approaching Great Sand Sea | Egypt
His Camels are Thirsty but we Supply Water and Food | Egypt
Camels and Carlo Thirsty and Hungry  but there is Water and Food Supply now | Egypt
Survival is Worth Being Celebrated in Gilf Khebir| Egypt
Survival is Worth Being Celebrated in Gilf Khebir| Egypt
Water Jugs Left Overs after 3000 Years of Wind Corrasion in the Desert | Egypt
More of them at famous Abu Ballas’ Feet, “Father of Jugs” West of Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Message in the Bottle by Theodore Monod for Stephan Kroepelin at Abu Ballas| Egypt
Message in the Bottle by Theodore Monod for Stephan Kroepelin at Abu Ballas | Egypt
Aquaba Pass leading up to Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Raoul Schrott, Stephan Kroepelin and Uwe George on Top of Gilf Khebir just above the Cave of Swimmers Viewing Aquaba Pass and into Sudan | Egypt
Sone Age House with wonderful Viwe over Seal Playa, Chalk Remainders of a former Ocean ai Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Sone Age House with wonderful View over Seal Playa, Chalk Remainders of former Ocean at Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Needles and Ostrich Egg Pot, Household Reamaiders about 15.000 Years old at Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Needles and Ostrich Egg, Domestic Appliance left 10.000 Years B.C. at Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Benzine Can left by Lord Almashy in 1932 at Aquaba | Egypt
Wind Art at Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Wind Art at Gilf Khebir | Egypt

 

Emergency due to Extreme Diesel Consumption: Good to  Receive the Coordinates of Water and Diesel by Satellite Phone, hidden 25 Years ago at Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Great Sand Sea Dune Bands Viewed from a Gassi, about 1000 km long and 200 m high each, North of Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Way upto Gilf Khebir through Kalkur Talh thought to be Almashys Zarzura... | Egypt
Way upto Gilf Khebir through Kalkur Talh thought to be Almashys Zarzura… | Egypt
We seem to make it up to the Platform of Gilf Khebir | Egypt
We seem to make it up to the Platform of Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Almost the Most Wonderful Campsite on Top of Gilf Khebir with View over the Great Sand Sea | Egypt
Again Stone Age Drill and Scraper left behind in Gilf Khebir | Egypt

The expedition finally succeded: Desert Glass was found consiting of thousands of pieces including raw material, glass tools and arrowheads, most of them broken and left behind. That material was covering an area of 60 km by 20 km.

The origin of Desert Galss is controversial. Most scientists linked the glass to impact features, such as zircon-breakdown, vaporized quartz and meteoritic metals, and to an impact crater and ejecta saying that desert glass was outcome of a near collision between the earth and some meteorit about 26 million years ago due to the heat  melting sand.After cooling glass was the result.

And Finally Desert Glass all over Covering an Area 60 km by 20 km North of Gilf Khebir | Egypt
Greenish Colour of Great Sand Sea Desert Glass | Egypt
Happy Uwe George Shooting for his GEO-Article | Egypt
Happy Uwe George Shooting for his GEO-Article | Egypt
Scout, Explorers and Workers Meet and Celebrate Success of the Expedition close to Dakhla | Egypt
Scout, Explorers and Workers Meet and Celebrate Success of the Expedition close to Dakhla | Egypt
The Group was Lucky Finding a 3000 Year Old Jug Transportation Basket, World’s Oldest now in Cairo’s National Museum | Egypt
This is the Hard Part of the Campaign - Measuring and Documenting the Findings | Egypt
Hard Part of the Campaign – Measuring and Documenting the Findings | Egypt
Plus Securing, Wrapping, Packing and Transportation to Dakhla Base | Egypt
Redesign is Due for Stephan Kroepelin, too, after Return from Expedition
Reshaping in Dakhla is Due for Stephan Kroepelin, too, after Return from Expedition | Egypt
Crossing Western Desert on the Road to Siwa | Egypt
Crossing Western Desert on the Way Home via Siwa | Egypt
White Desert on the Way back to Cairo | Egypt
Camping close to Siwa Oasis | Egypt
Camping in the Great Sand Sea close to Siwa Oasis | Egypt
View over Modern Siwa from the Top of Old Town | Egypt
View over Modern Siwa from the Old Town | Egypt
Persian Amun Temple Ruins said to be the Place of Coronation of Alexander the Great close to Siwa | Egypt
Persian Amun Temple Ruins Said to be the Place of Coronation of Alexander the Great close to Siwa | Egypt
Old Siwa City | Egypt
Old Siwa City | Egypt
Another Temple Wall and Al Akhsa Mosque in Jerusalem on the Way back Home | Israel
Temple Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem on the Way back Home | Israel
Al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mountain in Jerusalem | Israel
Back to Piraeus by Ship from Haifa | Israel
Back to Piraeus by Ship from Haifa | Israel