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A River In ‘Drought'?

Environment and cultural ramifications of Old Kingdom climate change

John W Burn
Publication Year:
184 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 43 figures and 38 tables
BAR number:


While the idea of a catastrophic drought ending the Old Kingdom has been shown to be too simple an explanation, current research suggests that some climatic change was occurring at this time. Increasing aridity, developing since the third Dynasty, was punctuated with times of unseasonal rain. Both these events would have had some impact upon the environmental circumstances present in the river at that time. This book presents ecological analyses of the riverine habitat as it may have developed in times of excess nutrient load within the river. The environmental consequences of these changes are proposed, and the author traces changes in the tomb decoration repertoire to investigate the possibility of a developing environmental narrative that indicates a potential cultural response to the climatic changes occurring at that time.

John Burn has a degree in Environmental Science and a Masters in Egyptian Art. His Ph.D combined these two fields looking for evidence of an environmental awareness displayed by the artists who decorated the tombs at the end of the Old Kingdom.

“I am delighted to see such a comprehensive and balanced study of this period about which much has been written. This book adds close observation and some excellent detail to the story of landscape change in Egypt and I expect that it will become an authoritative source for the topic.” Dr Judith Bunbury, University of Cambridge

Introduction (S3036_Burn_9781407358109_-_Introduction.pdf, 377 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (S3036_Burn_9781407358109_-_ToC.pdf, 228 Kb) [Download]