This introductory chapter contextualises the subject of Nile navigation within the scholarly fields of Egyptian and maritime archaeology. It highlights the under-studied nature of the Nile as a navigated landscape, and explores the reasons for that omission – pointing to Orientalist historical narratives, a preoccupation with site-based terrestrial archaeology, maritime archaeology’s historical emphasis on boats and scuba-based activity, and the impact of the Aswan High Dam on our awareness of the Nile flood cycle. It outlines the three-part structure of the book, which in turn addresses medieval Nile geography; the navigational experience; and the placement of ports within the navigated landscape.
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