AIA Fieldwork Photo Contest 2021

Entry 41025

Submitted by Vincent P. Morel

Wadi el-Chagg

Wadi Hammamat Area, Eastern Desert, Egypt

Category: Archaeological Landscapes

In this remote part of the Egyptian Eastern Desert, the researcher explores an Ancient Cistern as he follows the footprints of the expeditionary comings and goings of men sent forth by Pharaoh. In a forest of stone, he pursues his quest for engravings that bear witness to past endeavors. If his first task as a researcher is to find the testimonies adorning forgotten rock faces, his main role is to analyze the writing act itself and the very necessity for ancient man to inscribe the harsh and inhospitable desert landscape. Cut in half diagonally, the photograph illustrates the researcher’s difficult quest. Standing at a converging point, he must close the gap between yesterday’s human activity in and around the cistern, and today’s lonely search—in this barren rockscape—for hidden (a fortiori invisible here) written remnants of one’s thirst: that of the body and that of attesting one’s achievements over the desert.

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