A river in drought: consequences of a low Nile at the end of the Old Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

It is thought that a significant factor in the fall of the Egyptian Old Kingdom was the occurrence of a number of lower than average inundation events that led to a decline in agricultural output, causing a famine that undermined the authority of the government. However, very little consideration has been given to how a lesser volume of water may have impacted upon the Nile itself. This composition investigates the potential for ecological change that may have developed as a consequence of a lower river. Since a lower river exhibits less force, its physical properties should change, which would in turn alter the chemical and biological factors that are expressed. A low Nile should therefore have resulted in changes to the distribution and abundance of plant life along the river. Four plants characteristic to Pharaonic times were investigated to see how they may have responded. Papyrus and Phragmites are suggested as plants that would benefit from a situation where the nutrients remained within the river, whereas Typha and Lotus display characteristic that benefit less when the river retains nutrients that would have normally been lost to the surrounding landscape.
LanguageEnglish
Pages446-460
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Ecology Research
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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drought
river
famine
nutrient
physical property
water

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Nile
  • drought
  • environmental response
  • climate change

Cite this

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title = "A river in drought: consequences of a low Nile at the end of the Old Kingdom",
abstract = "It is thought that a significant factor in the fall of the Egyptian Old Kingdom was the occurrence of a number of lower than average inundation events that led to a decline in agricultural output, causing a famine that undermined the authority of the government. However, very little consideration has been given to how a lesser volume of water may have impacted upon the Nile itself. This composition investigates the potential for ecological change that may have developed as a consequence of a lower river. Since a lower river exhibits less force, its physical properties should change, which would in turn alter the chemical and biological factors that are expressed. A low Nile should therefore have resulted in changes to the distribution and abundance of plant life along the river. Four plants characteristic to Pharaonic times were investigated to see how they may have responded. Papyrus and Phragmites are suggested as plants that would benefit from a situation where the nutrients remained within the river, whereas Typha and Lotus display characteristic that benefit less when the river retains nutrients that would have normally been lost to the surrounding landscape.",
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A river in drought : consequences of a low Nile at the end of the Old Kingdom. / Burn, John William.

In: Environment and Ecology Research, Vol. 6, No. 5, 2018, p. 446-460.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - It is thought that a significant factor in the fall of the Egyptian Old Kingdom was the occurrence of a number of lower than average inundation events that led to a decline in agricultural output, causing a famine that undermined the authority of the government. However, very little consideration has been given to how a lesser volume of water may have impacted upon the Nile itself. This composition investigates the potential for ecological change that may have developed as a consequence of a lower river. Since a lower river exhibits less force, its physical properties should change, which would in turn alter the chemical and biological factors that are expressed. A low Nile should therefore have resulted in changes to the distribution and abundance of plant life along the river. Four plants characteristic to Pharaonic times were investigated to see how they may have responded. Papyrus and Phragmites are suggested as plants that would benefit from a situation where the nutrients remained within the river, whereas Typha and Lotus display characteristic that benefit less when the river retains nutrients that would have normally been lost to the surrounding landscape.

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