B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World


In January 2005, B.C. Archaeology introduced a new itinerary, with an emphasis on the Ramesside Period remains of Egypt, concentrating on the monuments of Ramesses II and his successors. The tour was very well attended and included 22 participants (slightly more than the usual number due to interest by former clients of the company, some of whom have now been back for a third trip to Egypt!): Maureen Ayers, Colleen Campbell, Sandra Cochrane, Jane and Mike Costello, Morel Da Ros, Christine and Robert Mair, Marie Markham, Kathryn Mc Dowell, Michelle and Cameron McLean, Robert Newman, Caroline Riddell, Yvonne Robinson, Margaret and Graham Weeks, Judy Wickert, Lyn Williamson, Colin and Shirley Willmott and Margaret Yeomans. The program was guided by Dr Michael Birrell and Amr Mohamed.

The tour began in Cairo with a visit to Saqqara where we saw the Step Pyramid and descended into the burial chamber of King Tety. At Giza a few members of the group went for camels rides. The day trip to Tanis in the Delta enabled us to wander around this spectacular site and also stop at Bubastis to see the newly discovered statue of Meritamun, daughter of Ramesses II.

In Luxor we stayed at the Nile Valley Hotel and visited a number of 19th and 20th Dynasty sites, including Deir el Medina and its beautiful tombs, the Ramesseum and the temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. The trip to Abydos was made memorable by a public performance of Tai Chi by some of our group members while we were waiting for the convoy to head off, greatly entertaining the local authorities. We also went by motor boat to Karnak and enjoyed our explorations of this remarkable site. A number of us went for a camel ride through the village, gaining a new insight into the lives of the local inhabitants.

The January 2005 tour at Medinet Habu temple © Michael Birrell

We then travelled south by bus to Aswan stopping to see the magnificent temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo. In Aswan we stayed at a new hotel called the Marhaba Hotel with excellent facilities and superb views over the Nile. We visited the beautiful Nobles Tombs, and some of us climbed to the summit of the Dome of the Winds for the spectacular panorama. In the afternoon we had a felucca ride around the islands and stopped to see the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener's Island.

The highlight of the trip was the very pleasant cruise on Lake Nasser from Abu Simbel to Aswan. We flew down to the famous temple built by Ramesses II and enjoyed wandering around the main temples with very few other tourists present. The following morning we departed for our cruise, each cabin on the cruise boat having a balcony and en suite. En route we stopped at a number of temple sites, usually accompanied by souvenir sellers with their pet crocodiles and scorpions for us to look at. At Wadi Es-Sebua a number of the group went on another camel ride! The service and food on the boat was first class and there was plenty of time to relax, read and chat.

Michael Birrell

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