Commemorating Prince Kamal el Din’s expedition to Gilf Kebir
In the Footsteps of the Prince
14 MARCH TO 26 MARCH 2014

Speakers - The scientific background on tour

Knut Krzywinski

I am a Norwegian associate professor and a botanist trained in vegetation history and with background from cooperative projects with archaeologist, geographers and anthropologists.

I have since worked in desert areas for more than 25 years and have initiated, headed and participated in major interdisciplinary projects with numerous expeditions to nearly all the remote arid regions of the Eastern Desert of Egypt and the Red Sea Mountains of Sudan.

Initially my focus was on desertification and climatic change, but over the years I came to see the desert and its resources as a cultural landscape where all permanent resources are used, shaped and maintained by its indigenous peoples and to conclude that the present landscape change is due more to changes within the cultures of its people than to climate change and other external forces. On my travels I have sought, located and described graves and monuments to deepen the historical dimension of the landscape. At present I am involved in a study of the interdependency of desert people and the trees, in particular the acacia, in Eastern Sahara.

Fekri Hassan

Professor Hassan has over 30 years of experience in the field of Archaeology and Anthropology. He currently holds the prestigious Petrie Chair of Archaeology at one of the
most outstanding centers of archaeological and cultural heritage management in Europe, the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. Professor Hassan is the Editor of the African Archaeological Review, and serves on the editorial board of many journals ranging from Holocene, which deals with Climatic Change, to Water Policy, revealing the breadth of Professor Hassan’s expertise. He has served on the editorial board of Antiquity, and has been elected Vice-President of the World Archaeology Congress. He is the honorary President of The Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organization (ECHO). In addition to his reputation as a distinguished scholar in archaeology with more than two hundred publications, Professor Hassan has devoted his time over the last 15 years to tackling issues of cultural heritage management. In 2001, he edited A Strategic Approach to Egyptian Cultural Heritage Management (sponsored by UNESCO WHC and UNDP).

Prof. Hassan is an avid fieldworker who has led and is still engaged in numerous expeditions to the Egyptian Sahara (Siwa, Farafra and Baharia Oases), Upper Egypt (Nagada), Sinai, the Red Sea Hills and East Delta (Kafr Hassan Dawood) in Egypt. Prof. Hassan combines his skills in archaeology with a geological background, which endows him with a scientific perspective and provides him with an understanding of geological hazards to cultural heritage as well as the tools to interpret climatic change and palaeoenvironments.


Sherif Bahaa

Dr. Sherif Baha El Din, is a leading ecologist and naturalist in Egypt and the Middle East. For the past 30 years he has been actively promoting nature conservation in the region, establishing the framework for the Egyptian Protected Area network and helped declare and manage many of the protected areas within (including Wadi El Gemal, the White Desert, Siwa and the Gilf El Kebir). He has a long interest and established knowledge of the Egyptian avifauna and herpetofauna, contributing many scientific publications in the field, including 8 new reptile and amphibian species and important faunal reviews such as the “Birds of Egypt” (1989) and “A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt” (2006). He has special interest in desert ecology, particularly the hyper-arid allocthonous (non-productive) ecosystems of the Sahara and their inhabitants.


Joe Hobbs

Joe Hobbs is a professor of Geography at the University of Missouri. He is a geographer of the Middle East with a expertise in the desert cultures and wildlife of Egypt. His doctoral dissertation focused on the interactions between Ma'aza Bedouin and their natural environment in the Eastern Desert. His book „Bedouin Life in the Egyptian Wilderness“ tells that story. He worked with several Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula and wrote a book entitled „Mount Sinai“ about the Bedouin, monks, pilgrims, travelers and environment around Jebel Musa. He served as the Team Leader of the Bedouin Support Programme in the St. Katherine Natural Protectorate project, helping to establish the community guard and ranger program for today's park. He is one of the members of the project studying relationsHe is a co-author of „The Birds of Egypt“.



Dr. Gidske L. Andersen is Norwegian botanist and vegetation- and landscape-ecologist with a specialized interest and training in GIS and Remote Sensing, and in how spatial and temporal information can help us to understand ecological processes. She has spent most of her professional life studying the cultural landscape dynamics, deforestation and desertification in the deserts of Egypt and Sudan. Gidske L. Andersen has developed methods to study recent ecological changes using spy satellite images from the cold war period as a baseline. She is interested in how trends in vegetation are related to pattern of changing nomadic landuse. She is also interested in exploring how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), the basis for indigenous landuse in deserts and arid land, can be a vital source for scholars of desert ecology and how loss of this knowledge after socio-economic changes and sedentarization affects the desert cultural landscape. She has participated in and been the principal leader of a number of research projects with focus on the perennial desert vegetation. She is currently working as a researcher at UNI Research in Bergen, Norway. 

Mahmoud Ashour

Mahmoud Ashour is an emeritus Professor of Physical Geography (Geomorphology) in the Geographical Department of Ain Shams University, Cairo. Before, he worked in different positions in Egypt and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom and in United Arab Emirates. He published plenty of papers in international journals as well as in Arabic publications. He participated in over 40 international and national Symposia and conferences. He is a member in different societies and committees. He participated in several research projects. His recent research project is called “Sand accumulations in Egypt”, a five years project in cooperation with 9 local and overseas institutions.

Steffen Kirchner

Steffen Kirchner is an german archaeologist (Egyptology and Sudanarchaeology), computer scientist and enthusiastic desert explorer. He is specialist in managing and visualisation of complex data structures and he works since the mid 1990s with major car manufacturers, scientific institutions and multimedia companies. Kirchner’s profession in combining archaeology and 3D-Design was infused in the development and organisation (project leader) of Cultural Heritage Management projects such as "Virtual Troy" and "Virtual Nile Valley", a 3D-real time reconstruction of ancient sites. Kirchner works as a freelancer and consultant in the field of software engineering and 3D-Design as well as media production since 2006. He organized and managed expeditions and flight safaris through fascinating deserts and areas of north eastern Africa (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia).

Emmanuelle Honoré

Emmanuelle Honoré is a French archaeologist holding a Ph.D from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne on the archaeology of the Gilf el-Kebir. She is studying the relationship of humans with nature during the Holocene, especially under the scope of anthropological and intellectual concepts. Among her works, she has proposed a stratigraphical approach for the paintings of the cave with headless cattle, WG 35 in the Gilf el-Kebir. She also completed a Masters degree both on Near Eastern and Egyptian archaeology. Dr Honoré is currently a post-doc member of the research team “Ethnologie Préhistorique” founded by A. Leroi-Gourhan in UMR 7041 of the CNRS (France). She is a scientific member of the research project on Saharan Refuge Areas during the Holocene. Rock art and prehistoric cognition are among her main research topics. In January 2014, she has organized the first World Congress on Rock Art in Africa in the musée du quai Branly in Paris with Dr Manuel Gutierrez, head of the research team on Africa (CNRS).

Luc Watrin

Graduated in Eastern and Egyptian archaeology from École du Louvre, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, École de Lattes (CNRS) and in Eastern languages and civilizations from INALCO, Luc Watrin is a field archaeologist. Since 20 years, he is working on Egyptian archaeology. In Lower Egypt, he was the first to propose a chrono-stratigraphical analysis for the prehistoric Nile Delta settlements. He is a specialist of chronology in the field of late prehistory and protohistory, especially of Buto/Ma’adi cultures, and of ceramic studies. Most of his scientific interests are dealing with interregional exchanges and cross-cultural comparisons. More recently, he is also working on the late Neolithic of the Egyptian Western Desert, in particular in the Great Sand Sea and the Gilf el-Kebir. He has published 80 papers and given numerous lectures in front of scientific audiences and also general public. Luc Watrin collaborates with research institutions such as the CNRS in France and the SCA in Egypt. He is currently President of the Group for Research in Europ on Eastern Archaeology (GREPAL). Due to his scientific career, in 2014, he is entering in the prestigious Who’s who in France.

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