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Nearby Monuments

Nearby Monuments

About 2km beyond the cemetery of Bagawat in an ancient limestone quarry in the foothills of Gebel el-Teir, there are numerous graffiti inscribed on the faces of rocks and boulders. The graffiti, written in Demotic, Greek and Coptic, span over seven centuries and date from Ptolemy VIII through the Greek and Roman periods to the Coptic Christian era.

One Demotic graffito dating to the reign of Cleopatra VII mentions the ancient name of Kysis, which was the name of the town surrounding the fortress at Dush. Other areas of the wadis and slopes of Gebel El-Teir also contain graffiti dating from prehistoric to present times, but they are often difficult to access.

Also in the foothills behind Bagawat, a series of rock-cut tombs stretch for almost 1km in the side of the mountain. Although usually named as ‘Sixth Dynasty Tombs’ they are mostly unexcavated and show little evidence of belonging to the Old Kingdom.

Standing far out on the open plain west of Bagawat is a tall mudbrick tower which is known as Tahunet el-Hawa, or ‘Tower of the Winds’. The structure is presumed Roman although it has never been properly investigated or dated by archaeologists.

Measuring roughly 6m by 6m at the base and rising almost 12m in height, it once contained several floors connected by a staircase and is thought to have been a watchtower or signal post.

A single entrance on the south side gives access to the now-empty tower. Standing near the intersection of two important tracks, the structure may even have been used as a beacon to guide travellers along the desolate desert routes towards El-Kharga.