Friday, December 10, 2010

Water Systems Connected Nile and Central Africa

Alice C. Linsley

New evidence suggests that the Nile's famous floods were much more extensive than previously thought — in fact, they spread nearly 100 miles west of the river and created "mega-lakes" in the ancient desert.

A team of American and Egyptian researchers have used Space Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) data to determine the floods the Nile is famous for started at a much earlier time — 250,000 years ago — and were much more extensive than originally thought.

Newly processed topographic data from the 1980s and 1990s show drainage channels that extend more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of the Nile that end abruptly in the desert, where an ancient lake would have had its shoreline.

Read it all here.
Ted Maxwell of the National Air and Space Museum believes this is how the Nile Valley and central Africa were once integrated. It took a long time for these water systems to shrink. The region was still wet in the time of Kain and Seth. The connection of the major water ways, controlled by rulers and chiefs, could explain how the House of Nok (Nigeria) and the House of Set (Nubia) became the controlling houses of that region.
On the west side, the Nile probably connected with the Chadic Sea which in turn connected to the Benue and Niger Rivers of Nigeria. This is the region of Noah's flood. About 8500 years ago, the Chadic Sea was about 600 feet deep and sustained boating and fishing industries. The average fishermen used canoe dugouts which they could carve themselves, but nobles used boats constructed of marsh reeds lashed together and sealed with pitch. As a ruler, Noah probably had a fleet of boats on constructed in this way.

The western Nile watershed extended well into the Sudan. This explains why the Sudanese always have thought of the Nile as their river. The Sudanese-born BBC commentator, Zeinab Badawi, expresses the Sudanese view of the Nile:
"Ideologically, I wouldn't say that there are any huge differences between the Sudanese and the Egyptian governments certainly, and there is a huge affinity between the people. I think that the biggest source of friction and potential tension between Egypt and Sudan has been in the Nile, and how the waters of the Nile are used. The feeling that a lot of northern Sudanese might have is that the Nile actually in a sense runs much more through Sudan than it does through Egypt. Sudan is the biggest country in Africa. It's the tenth biggest in the world, the size of western Europe. It is the land of the Nile, and maybe there is a kind of brotherly resentment by the northern Sudanese that the Egyptians have in a sense claimed the Nile as their own, whereas the Sudanese in a sense feel they are the proper custodians of the Nile, because after all, most of its journey is through the territory of Sudan." (From here.)

African Sheer Zone
Rifting combined with prolonged rains caused this entire region to flood. Lake Chad is located at the boundary of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. Between 12 and 10 thousand years ago, the Nile connected to the Chadic and Niger water systems through a series of shallow lakes in the Sahara Desert. This explains the common plant and animal species found in all three water systems.

The black mahogany Dufuna dugout was found in the Sudan buried 16 feet under clays and sands whose alternating sequence showed evidence of deposition in standing and flowing water. The dugout is 8000 years old. By comparison, Egypt's oldest boat is only about 5000 years old.  Peter Breunig (University of Frankfurt, Germany) has written this description of the Dufuna boat: “The bow and stern are both carefully worked to points, giving the boat a notably more elegant form”, compared to “the dugout made of conifer wood from Pesse in the Netherlands, whose blunt ends and thick sides seem crude”. Judging by stylistic sophistication, Breunig reasons that, “It is highly probable that the Dufuna boat does not represent the beginning of a tradition, but had already undergone a long development, and that the origins of water transport in Africa lie even further back in time.”

Related Reading: An African Reflects on Biblical Names; When the Sahara Was WetBoats and Cows of the Proto-SaharansBoat Petroglyphs in Egypt's Central Eastern Desert; 70,000 Year Settlement Found in Sudan; Mega-Nile was 17374.6 Square Miles

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