The Western Wadis to the northwest of Malqata and the main Theban massif are a little-explored desert region of the west bank of the Nile at modern-day Luxor. It is in these wadis that the New Kingdom Research Foundation is currently focusing its activities. The area includes the wadis originally designated A to G by Howard Carter in 1917 and a series of further wadis stretching onwards up through the Wadi El-Agaala and the Wadi Bariya.

The rationale behind investigating these wadis springs from a desire to explore Howard Carter’s suggestion that this area was used as a burial ground for the XVIIIth dynasty royal family, many of whom remain unaccounted for. Signs of burial activity dated to the XVIIIth dynasty deep into the Western Wadis include graffiti, shaft and cliff-tombs, workers’ huts and funerary-ware. Roads, pathways and huts found across this landscape also indicate ancient human activity in this region.

Surveying the Western Wadis

During 2014, the New Kingdom Research Foundation undertook a geological survey of this area, a report of which is available in both Arabic and English.

As a continuing part of the survey, the NKRF is mapping and photographing the “huts”, roads, paths, graffiti, sherds, flint-working sites, tufla and mud-plaster pits and areas where colour for plaster has been mined in the area.

It has been necessary to be particularly careful to record ancient paths and roads where these are visible. Traffic in these wadis includes regular army patrols whose tracks have been added to in recent years by “safari tourists” and, during the revolution, bulldozers and four-wheel motorbikes. The same route to the site every day follows the western side of the Wadi Bariya, crossing to the eastern side just below the entrance to the Wadi el-Agaala. This route avoids the route of the ancient Farchout road which cuts across the WB1 site and heads diagonally right across the Wadi Bariya in the direction of Malqata.