<< Our Photo Pages >> Nabta Playa - Stone Circle in Egypt in Nubia

Submitted by Aluta on Tuesday, 30 September 2008  Page Views: 22540

Neolithic and Bronze AgeSite Name: Nabta Playa
Country: Egypt Region: Nubia Type: Stone Circle
Nearest Town: Wadi Halfa  Nearest Village: Abu Simbel
Latitude: 22.505800N  Longitude: 30.730300E
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
3 Ambience:
2Not Good
0No data.
no data Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
no data Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data

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Nabta Playa
Nabta Playa submitted by Andy B : Nabta Playa calendar in Aswan Nubia museum Image by Raymbetz, Creative Commons License (Vote or comment on this photo)
Stone Circle in Nubia

Basin in the Nubian Desert, occupied from about the tenth to the eighth millennium, BCE First huts, then burial of cattle in stone-roofed chambers lined with clay. Around the fifth millenium, BCE, construction began on a stone circle with alignments to astronomical points.

The original circle has been removed because of vandalism, and reconstructed in the Nubian Museum, with a replica built in its place. The original site is now threatened by a canal project. See comment.
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Nabta Playa
Nabta Playa submitted by Andy B : Megaliths from Nabta Playa displaid in the garden of the Aswan Nubia museum Image by Raymbetz, Creative Commons License (Vote or comment on this photo)

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Nearby sites listing. In the following links * = Image available
 87.5km SE 140° Buhen Stone Fort or Dun
 93.9km ESE 101° Abu Simbel Temple of Ramses II* Ancient Temple
 94.0km ESE 101° Abu Simbel Temple of Nefertari* Ancient Temple
 159.2km E 80° Tomb of Penout* Rock Cut Tomb
 159.2km E 81° Temple of Derr* Ancient Temple
 159.3km E 81° Temple of Amada* Ancient Temple
 189.0km E 80° Temple of Wadi el-Seboua* Ancient Temple
 189.2km E 80° Rock Cut Shrine to Hatshepsut and Thutmose III* Ancient Temple
 189.2km E 80° Temple of Dakka* Ancient Temple
 189.4km E 80° Temple of Maharaqqa* Ancient Temple
 221.8km SSW 192° Sedeinga* Pyramid / Mastaba
 234.1km S 190° Soleb* Ancient Temple
 235.0km ENE 68° Temple of Dendur* Ancient Temple
 266.9km S 184° Sesebi* Ancient Village or Settlement
 271.7km NE 53° Nubian Predynastic Reliefs* Carving
 271.7km NE 53° Temple of Dedwen* Ancient Temple
 271.7km NE 53° Kiosk of Kertassi* Ancient Temple
 271.7km NE 53° Stele of Seti I* Carving
 271.7km NE 53° Temple of Gerf Hussein* Ancient Temple
 271.8km NE 53° Temple of Beit El-Wali* Ancient Temple
 271.8km NE 53° Temple of Kalabsha* Ancient Temple
 277.4km NE 52° Philae Temple of Isis* Ancient Temple
 277.4km NE 52° Philae Temple of Emhotep* Ancient Temple
 277.5km NE 52° Philea Temple of Hathor* Ancient Temple
 277.5km NE 52° Kiosk of Trajan* Ancient Temple
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"Nabta Playa" | Login/Create an Account | 6 News and Comments
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Re: Nabta Playa by Anonymous on Friday, 25 May 2012
Co-ordinates taken from screenshot of GPS during Bauval's 2008 expedition - documented in "The Pyramid Code ep.03"
22.48944N, 30.59389E
22°30'22.15"N 30°35'51.72"E

Google Earth sat imagery is clear enough to show a track leading from the road to the playa, but stones are perhaps too small to be visible (or missing, per post above?)
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Megalithomania Grand Tour to Ancient Egypt, 13th - 27th October 2010 by Andy B on Thursday, 08 July 2010
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Join Robert Bauval for a 14-day grand tour of Egypt especially designed for megalithomaniacs! A great opportunity to be guided by one of the most popular and experienced authors on ancient and prehistoric sites in Egypt. Includes an exclusive trip to the astronomical Stone Circles of Nabta Playa.

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Re: Nabta Playa by Andy B on Thursday, 08 July 2010
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Nabta Playa is an internally drained basin that served as an important ceremonial center for nomadic tribes during the early part of 9560 BC. Located 62 miles west of Abu Simbel some 60 miles west of the Nile near the Egyptian-Sudanese border. Nabta contains a number of standing and toppled megaliths. They include flat, tomb-like stone structures and a small stone circle that predates Stonehenge (2600 B.C.), and other similar prehistoric sites by 1000's of years.

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Nabta Playa Complex by Andy B on Thursday, 08 July 2010
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Part 1

Part 2

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Re: Nabta Playa by Aluta on Tuesday, 30 September 2008
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This article was sent to me to be put on the Portal. I'm not completely sure it is the oldest astronomical complex, but the rest of the content is important, regardless.

Saving Nabta Playa

Will the oldest prehistoric astronomical complex in the world soon be under water?

by Robert Bauval, author of The Egypt Code

In 1998, an American anthropologist, Fred Wendorf, and his colleagues sent a letter to the scientific journal, Nature, setting off a worldwide wave of controversy. They announced that they had discovered Nabta Playa, a prehistoric settlement in Egypt’s Nubian Desert in 1974, and they were confirming it to be the oldest astronomical megalithic site in the world, predating Stonehenge by at least 1,000 years.

Who Were the Astronomers of Nabta Playa?

About 500 miles south of today’s Cairo, Nabta Playa is known to anthropologists as a ceremonial complex with several stone alignments directed to the rising of certain stars. The most important artifact is a stone calendar circle aligned to the summer solstice sunrise and the meridian (noon) passage of the sun. Carbon dating has established the presence of humans at the site between about 6,500 BC and 3,400 BC. Evidence shows that the mysterious people of Nabta Playa achieved a high level of astronomical knowledge, they domesticated cattle and engaged in agriculture millennia before previously assumed. When the southwestern desert of Egypt became super-arid, the population was forced to move to the Nile Valley––leading scholars to suspect that they triggered the rise of pharaonic Egypt when they settled in the valley.

Shocking Destruction of the Site

Wendorf and his team left the precious site of Nabta Playa unattended for the greater part of each year, and in recent years the site has become neglected and partially destroyed. When my colleague, the astrophysicist Thomas Brophy, visited the site in 2003, he was puzzled at the lack of fencing or signposts indicating archaeological importance. In 2007, I also visited Nabta Playa with a few friends and colleagues, as well as an officer from the Egyptian military and a local guide from the oasis of Bahareya. There, we also encountered the British Egyptologist, Dr. Nicole Douek, who was escorting a group of tourists in the Egyptian Sahara.

In 2008 on a return visit, Brophy found that the calendar circle had been dislocated and some of the stones were missing, and that a rubbish dump was evident. I returned this year, also, to assess the damage and confirmed the ongoing destruction. When I saw tracks of heavy vehicles and several open rubbish dumps, I went to the Nubian Museum at Aswan and met with Deputy-Director Ragheb, who informed me that upon instructions from foreign anthropologists in charge of Nabta Playa, he had moved three of the large megaliths to the museum. He believed the stones of the calendar circle were in their original positions, and he knew nothing of the rubbish dumps.

Later, I contacted Dr. Romuald Schild, the head of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition (CPE) in charge of Nabta Playa. He told me that unauthorized tourists had visited the site over the years and that they had tampered with the calendar circle and had also built a “New Age” stone circle. Accordingly, he was prompted to remove the calendar circle from its place, with instructions that it be reconstructed in the Nubian Museum, and he had a modern replica of the monument installed in the original location.

Schild said, “The calendar and other selected Nabta monuments were removed on February 18, 2008, in my presence, as well as in the presence of members of the expedition and a special high committee of the Supreme Council of Antiquities headed by an undersecretary of state. The entire removal was filmed and intensively photographed. The antiquities were taken to the Nubian Museum in Aswan in a convoy escorted by the police. Dr. Osama, director of the museum, receiv

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    Re: Nabta Playa by Anonymous on Thursday, 07 January 2010
    What a loss.... and what a travesty. The Egyptian government is clearly more interested in the tourist dollars that these antiquities draw in than in any serious scientific studies. They are "hell-on-wheels" in making foreign archeologists jump through administrative hoops before allowing any exploration but have no such controls on their own ham-fisted actions.

    Shame, shame on them.

    Jim Moody, PhD
    Vancouver, WA
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