A chance to look at pyramid evolution, from the very first at Saqqara, the experiments of Sneferu at Meidum and Dahshur, and the very largest at Giza, then their giant Middle Kingdom counterparts in the Faiyum at Lahun and Hawara.
FAIYUM TO AMARNA
Chris Naunton accompanies this new tour throughout and will give illustrated talks along the way.
The Faiyum was of particular significance in the Middle Kingdom, being the site of the 12th Dynasty Capital, Ity-Tawy (although we don’t exactly know where it was). To the south, Middle Egypt lay in-between the great centres of power for most of Egyptian history but for a brief period in the late 18th Dynasty it was the site of the capital, Akhetaten, the city built by Akhenaten and Nefertiti.
We look at pyramid evolution, from the very first at Saqqara, the experiments of Sneferu at Meidum and Dahshur, and the very largest at Giza, then their giant Middle Kingdom counterparts in the Faiyum at Lahun and Hawara. The Faiyum was of particular significance in the Middle Kingdom, being the site of the 12th Dynasty Capital, Ity-Tawy (although we don’t exactly know where it was). To the south, Middle Egypt lay in-between the great centres of power for most of Egyptian history but for a brief period in the late 18th Dynasty it was the site of the capital, Akhetaten, the city built by Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Egypt eventually became a part of the Muslim world and we visit its first capital following the Arab conquest: Fustat.
- Sunday 23rd October 2022
Fly London to Cairo with EgyptAir and on arrival we check in to the first-class Crowne Plaza Hotel for two nights on room and breakfast basis.
- Monday 24th October - The Giza Plateau
After a relaxed breakfast we will head to the Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau. There will be time, for those who wish, to buy entrance tickets to the Great Pyramid of Khufu and any extras open on the day. Time to explore the entire site and view the great Sphinx. We return to the hotel early afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
- Tuesday 25th October - The Faiyum
We leave Cairo and head south to the Faiyum and Lake Qarun. First we travel to Dahshur where we have entry to both the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. Next to Meidum for entry to the pyramid and a chance for the adventurous to enter ‘Mastaba 17‘ through the famous robbers tunnel. We travel with lunch boxes from our hotel today. Late afternoon we check in to the historic Helnan Auberge Hotel directly on the shore of the Lake. This hotel, most famous for the hunting parties of King Farouk, will be our base for two nights on breakfast and dinner basis.Tonight Chris will give us a guide to pyramid evolution and the importance of the Faiyum region. (BLD)
- Wednesday 26th October - Lahun and Hawara Pyramids
We head straight to Lahun to view Senusret II’s mud-brick pyramid and associated tombs. Recently restored the pyramid is now open to the public. Next, to the Pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara. It was here that Flinders Petrie unearthed the famous Roman Period portrait mummies and excavated the ‘Labyrinth‘ as described by Herodotus. We return to our hotel for a refreshing lunch break.Finally, we will have the chance to contemplate how important the Faiyum was for its agriculture in Ptolemaic and Roman times with a visit to the town of Karanis. (BLD)
- Thursday 27th October - To Minya
We head south to Minya and on our travels we visit three fascinating sites. First to the rarely visited rock-cut Fraser Tombs dating to the Old Kingdom with time to enter several tombs. Next, to the Middle Kingdom rock-cut tombs of Beni Hassan high in the cliff face. These tombs are highly decorated with vivid colourful depictions of daily life and warfare. Finally we move on to Speos Atemidos where we see Hatshepsut‘s temple and other small shrines. We travel with a lunch box today and late afternoon we check in to the Nefertiti Hotel in Minya for three nights on breakfast and dinner basis.This evening Chris will give a talk on Flinders Petrie and his work at Hawara.(BLD)
- Friday 28th October - Amarna
Middle Egypt lay in-between the great centres of power for most of Egyptian history but for a brief period in the late 18th Dynasty it was the site of the capital, Akhetaten, the city built by Akhenaten and Nefertiti. It was built in a few years as a home for the royal family and tens of thousands of others, but then abandoned almost as quickly. Today we will see as much of this fascinating city as possible including the Royal Tomb for Akhenaten himself. We have a lunch box and will have a break to picnic in the Rest House where we can use the facilities and buy hot and cold drinks. After dinner a get together with Chris to talk about Amarna. (BLD)
- Saturday 29th October - The Necropolis of Meir
Another rarely visited site today as we travel to Meir for the 6th to 12th Dynasty nomarch tombs. This stunning site on the hillside is home to tombs with some fascinating and well preserved reliefs. Then to Tuna el Gebel where we find another of Akhenaten’s Boundary Stelae in the cliffs. We visit the tomb of Petosiris with its Greek style decoration and enter the Baboon and Ibis Catacombs nearby. Again we travel with lunch boxes and after dinner tonight we meet for a look ahead at our return to Cairo. (BLD)
- Sunday 30th October - Return to Cairo
Before we leave for Cairo we take a short trip to Mallawi where the Museum houses an interesting selection of artifacts from local excavations. Travelling again with lunch boxes we drive back to our hotel, The Crowne Plaza in Cairo. We check in for our final three nights on room and breakfast basis. (BL)
- Monday 31st October - Saqqara
A full day at Saqqara with entry to the Step Pyramid, the Southern Tomb, the Serapeum and many of the most important mastaba tombs on the site. We take a break for a relaxing lunch at the Sakkara Palm Club. (BL)
- Tuesday 1st November - Old Cairo
We head in to the city and begin with a visit to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Fustat. This newly opened Museum is now famously home to the Royal Mummies but also provides a look at Egypt‘s rich history from the time of the Pharaohs to the modern day. We take lunch at a local restaurant and return to our hotel late afternoon after a fascinating journey to Middle Egypt. (BL
- Wednesday 2nd November - Home
We take our transfer from the hotel to Cairo Airport for our direct flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)
Chris Naunton is an Egyptologist and author of Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt (Thames and Hudson 2018) and Egyptologists’ Notebooks (2020).He has appeared in numerous television documentaries, regularly lectures on a wide variety of subjects around the UK and online, and is a frequent visitor to Egypt. He was Director of the Egypt Exploration Society from 2012 to 2016, President of the International Association of Egyptologists from 2015 to 2019, and is now Director of the Robert Anderson Trust.
B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
AWT is an agent of Jules Verne. These Air Holiday Packages are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. JV's ATOL No. 11234
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