From Dakhla down to Yam? – New Light on the Abu Ballas Trail
Rudolph Kuper, Frank Förster, Heiko Riemer
When the Abu Ballas Trail was discovered in 1999/2000,
this most ancient Egyptian desert road was followed up
by Carlo Bergmann from Dakhla Oasis as far as the Gilf
Kebir plateau and subsequently investigated and
documented by the ACACIA Project of the University
of Cologne. Its final destination, however, remained
a matter of speculation: Kufra (as Almásy suggested)?
Darfur? Or via Jebel Ouenat to Ennedi?
Now in 2008 Mark Borda and Mahmoud Marei found in
south-eastern Jebel Ouenat a hieroglyphic rock inscription
mentioning the founder of the Middle Kingdom, Pharaoh
Mentuhotep II (11th Dynasty, 2046 - 1995 BC), and two
countries bringing “tributes” to him: Yam and Tekhebet(en).
This brings up again the much-discussed question about the
location of Yam, recorded as the target of the trade expeditions
of Harkhuf, 6th Dynasty governor of Upper Egypt, and placed by
most authors somewhere in Nubia. Now it may be located 600
km west of the Nile Valley in Jebel Ouenat itself (?) or even
further south in Darfur or in the Ennedi mountains in Chad,
impressively demonstrating ancient Egypt’s far-reaching
political ties and another “Corridor to Africa”.