The University of Minnesota Eastern Desert Expedition had its beginnings in 1975, when co-authors George (Rip) Rapp, T. H. Wertime, and J. D. Muhly visited cassiterite (tin ore) mines in the southern Eastern Desert of Egypt. Near the farthest west of these mines, they were shown a group of pharaonic inscriptions by M. F. el-Ramly of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority. The inscriptions were photographed, and the photos were given to an Egyptologist to translate. Much later, in 1991, senior author Russell D. Rothe read about the photos in a footnote in an unrelated article. After obtaining copies of the photos from Rapp, he translated the inscriptions with the help of co-author William K. Miller and others. Over the next decade, Rothe, Rapp, and Miller traversed the 60,000-sq.-km area between the Nile and the Red Sea, mostly on foot, photographing inscriptions and systematically surveying the entire region. The results of their investigations of the inscriptional remains found in this vast, mountainous desert are here published for the first time; the corpus will be an important addition to our knowledge of the range and scope of the activities of the ancient Egyptians, especially outside the Nile Valley.
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