Books on the Libyan Desert


"The Classics" - books on early exploration



ALMÁSY, László
Autóval Szudánba
(With motorcar to the Sudan)


Lampel, Budapest, 1929

Almásy's first book describing a motorcar trip from Alexandria to the Dinder river in southern Sudan in the company of Prince Antal Esterházy, leading up to a hunting expedition, which was the first to have been acomplished by an ordinary automobile on the Cairo - Khartum stretch. While this voyage does not directly relate to the Libyan Desert, it was here that Almásy gained his first experiences driving in the desert sands. The book, like all others that followed, appeared in the Magyar Földrajzi Társaság Könyvtára (MFTK) series.



ALMÁSY, László
Az Ismeretlen Szahara
(The Unknown Sahara)


Franklin Társulat, Budapest, 1935

Almásy's desert classic, describing his voyages and exploration in the Libyan Desert up to early 1934, appearing in the Magyar Földrajzi Társaság Könyvtára (MFTK) series. For a complete list of various editions and info on the english translation, see the Almásy books section.



ALMÁSY, László
Levegöben... homokon...
(In air... on sand...)


Franklin Társulat, Budapest, 1937

Almásy's second book on the Libyan Desert, describing his further voyages and exploration in the Libyan Desert up to 1936, but also including several episodes from earlier travels, appearing in the Magyar Földrajzi Társaság Könyvtára (MFTK) series.



ALMÁSY, László
Recentes Explorations dans le Desert Libyque


Royal Geographical Society of Egypt, Cairo, 1936

French language version of the Unknown Sahara, with some updated content. The standard reference on Almásy's discoveries in the scientific literature.



ALMÁSY, László
Unbekannte Sahara


Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1936

German language version of Unknown Sahara, combining selected (but not all) chapters from Ismeretlen Szahara and Levegöben... homokon..., using a number of previously unpublished photos by von der Esch.



BAGNOLD, Ralph A.
Libyan Sands


Hodder & Stoughton, London 1935 (re-printed Immel, London, 1987)

Bagnold's eternal classic, recounting the early desert ventures, and the subsequent major expeditions. If there is one book that manages to capture the essence of the "desert spirit", this is it. A new edition was released in the early nineties.



BEADNELL, H.J. Llewellyn
An Egyptian Oasis


John Murray, London, 1909

Beadnell was a member of the Desert Survey, a department of the Survey of Egypyt. Together with John Ball, he was the first to make a systematic study of the remote desert regions of Egypt. This scarce volume is the first general description of the Kharga basin, its people and history.



BREZZI, Giovanni
Cento giorni di prigionia nell'Oasi di Cufra


Mondadori, Milano 1930

In 1928 an Italian medical mission was invited to Kufra by the Senoussi. The small group led by Dr Giovanni Brezzi reached Kufra safely, but later were taken prisoner by the locals, only released after three month's negotiations. This very rare book is a first hand account of this little known trip and events.



CAPORIACCO, Lodovico Di
Nel Cuore del Deserto Libico


Garoglio, Firenze 1934

An account of the 1932 Marchesi expedition to Jebel Uweinat. Contains an interesting account of the ascent of the mountain and the discovery of the Ain Doua paintings (in Italian).



DUN, Major T.I.
From Cairo to Siwa - Accross the Libyan Desert with Armoured Cars


Schindler, Cairo 1933

A delightful artistic account of an 1932 military exercise with Rolls Royce armoured cars, including much information not found elsewhere on the manners and customs of Siwa, the british occupation in 1917, and a general description of the trials, misfortunes and achievements of the exercise that was quite out of the ordinary in it's days.



ESCH, Hansjoachim von der
Weenak - die Karawane ruft. Auf verschollenen Pfaden durch Ägyptens Wüsten


Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1941

Hansjoachim von der Esch was a travel companion of Almásy from 1934 to 1939 on a number of shorter trips and long expeditions. The book is an account of his desert travels during his decade long stay in Egypt.



FORBES, Rosita
Kufara, Secret of the Sahara


Cassel, London, 1921

The tale of a remarkable journey made in the company of Ahmed Hassanein Bey to Kufra, disguised as a bedouin woman. Rosita Forbes was the second european to ever reach Kufra, almost 50 years after Rohlfs.



Governo della Tripolitania e Cirenaica
L'Occupazione di Cufra


Tipo-Litografia del Comando R.C.T.C. della Tripolitania, Tripoli, 1931

The official account of the military occupation of Kufra by the Italian forces in 1931. While it's obviously intended as a piece of boasting military propaganda, glorifying one of the few (and in strategic terms rather insignificant) Italian victories in the colonies, it is a surprisingly balanced and interesting reading. Most of the book is in fact devoted to the history of the Kufra oases and their early exploration, detailed accounts of the numerous reconnaissance missions by air and ground that led to the first detailed mapping of the central Libyan desert, and the logistical preparations leading up to the actual attack.



HARDING KING, W.J.
Mysteries of the Lybian Desert


Lippincott, London, 1925

Account of King's travels in 1909-1912 south of Dakhla Oasis. While the travelogues are interesting, much of the information about the desert became outdated in light of Hassanein's discoveries by the time the book was published.



HASSANEIN BEY, A.M.
The Lost Oases


Century, New York & London, 1925

Hassanein's account of his five month camel journey accross the centre of the Libyan desert, and the discovery of the lost oases of Arkenu and Uweinat.



HOELLRIEGEL, Arnold (Richard Bermann)
ZARZURA, die Oase der kleinen Voegel


Zürich 1938

Richard Bermann's version (in german) of the 1933 spring expedition made with Almásy to the Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat.



JARVIS, Major S.C.
Three Deserts


John Murray, London, 1936

Jarvis had a long career at the Frontier Districts Administration, eventually becoming the governor of Sinai. He accompanied prince Kemal el Din on his first expedition to Uweinat. The book recounts the important places and events in his career.



LABORIE, Bruneau de
Du Cameroun au Caire par le désert de Libye


Flammarion, Paris, 1924

De Laborie was the third european to reach Kufra, during his journey from Tekro well (Ennedi) to Siwa, in the autumn of 1923. This hard to find book is an account of this remarkable, little known journey, just a few months after Hassanein.



MASON, Michael H.
The Paradise of Fools


Hodden & Soughton, London, 1936

A very hard to find account of W.B.K.Shaw's 1935 expedition by one of the participants.



ROHLFS, Gerhard
Drei Monate in der Libyschen Wüste


Cassel, 1875

The description of Rohlf's journey accross the Great Sand Sea, the first expedition to venture into the interior of the Libyan Desert. A facsimile edition was published by the Heinrich-Barth-Institut, and a french translation of all Rohlf's books was completed recently by Jacques Debetz (publ. Karthala). A present no english translation is available.



SZÉCHENYI, Zsigmond
Hengergö Homok

(Rolling Sands)

Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 1964

Account (in Hungarian) of a hunting trip in the company of Almásy to the Wadi Howar and the Meidob Hills in 1935, traversing the Darb el Arbain along it's full length from Selima Oasis to el Fasher. (A partial english translation is available on the Almásy CD.)


Rock Art



CAPORIACCO, L. di, P. Graziosi
Le pitture rupestre di Ain Doua


Edit. centro di Studi Coloniali e Institi. Geogr. Milit., Firenze 1934

A description of the rock art sites of Ain Doua, with detailed colour copies of all scenes.



GRAZIOSI, Paolo
Rock Art in the Libian Sahara


Vallecchi Editore, Firenze, 1962

A large format book dealing mainly with the rock art of the Fezzan, but there is a smaller section on Uweinat.



HINKEL, Friedrich W.
The Archaeological Map of the Sudan II.
The area of the South Libyan Desert


Akademie Verlag, Berlin, 1979

The first volume of a monumental undertaking (never completed) to record, map and catalogue with complete bibliography all known archaeological sites within Sudan. Hinkel never visited the area, he had to rely on published descriptions. Hinkel chose to follow Winkler's numbering for the Uweinat sites, resulting in a number of errors, ignoring Rhotert's site system as topographical information was lost during the war. Nevertheless, this work remains an invaluable compilation of all known sites prior to 1969. As an added bonus, Hinkel included the sites of Arkenu and the Gilf Kebir, as justly he considered them to belong to the same archaeological zone, despite the arbitrary frontier line.



RHOTERT, Hans
Libysche Felsbilder


Darmstadt, 1952

The definitive work on the rock art of Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir to this day, based on material collected during the 1933 autumn expedition with Almásy. Very rare to find.



VAN NOTEN, Francis
The Rock Paintings of Jebel Uweinat


Akademische Verlag, Graz, 1972

A large format book with many photos, primarily on the spectacular discoveries of the 1968 Belgian expedition to Uweinat. It's a bit annoying that the material is not organised in any way, it's just a description of many photos without any reference to which are at the same shelters. This book is very rare, takes years to find a single available copy.

 

WINKLER, Hans A.
The Rock Drawings of Soutern Upper Egypt II.


Egypt Exploration Society, London, 1939

The larger part of the book deals with sites on the west bank of the Nile and at the oases, the rest on the rock art of Jebel Uweinat. Winkler found many new sites unknown to Rhotert, but lumped several together under one number, and only published a few photos covering a fraction of his collected material, making the identification of many of his sites difficult or impossible. Most of his material rests in unpublished photographs in the archives of the Egypt Exploration Society. (Near impossible to obtain, a facsimile edition is in the works to be published early 2005)



ZBORAY, András
Rock Art of the Libyan Desert


Fliegel Jezerniczky Expeditions, Newbury, 2005

The result of a five year documentation project, the work is a complete catalogue and bibliography of all known (to the end of 2004) rock art sites in the Gilf Kebir - Jebel Uweinat area. Published on DVD, it contains the description of over 500 sites, with more than 7500 photographs. The DVD may be ordered on-line.



Le QUELLEC, Jean-Loïc, Pauline et Philippe de FLERS
du Sahara au Nil


Soleb Fayard, Paris, 2005

This large format book is the first publication since van Noten to discuss in detail the rock art of the Libyan Desert, covering all the major sites of Jebel Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir, including recent discoveries. The text is primarily by Lean-Loïc Le Quellec, with photos by Pauline and Philippe de Flers, the material was largely compiled during our November, 2003 expedition. The book is due to be published in October, 2005, it may be ordered on-line.


Explorer's memoirs and recent biographies



BAGNOLD, R.A.
Sand, Wind & War - Memoirs of a Desert Explorer


Tucson, 1989


Bagnold's autobiography, putting a heavy focus on WWII and the post-war research. The Libyan Desert trips are briefly mentioned, admittedly not to duplicate the contents of Libyan Sands.


BIERMAN, John
The secret life of Laszlo Almasy


Viking, London, 2004


Despite the title, no real secrets are revealed, Bierman's book is just a cut & paste excercise of secondary sources. However credit must be given to the fact that these sources are from at least four different languages, and it is the first true effort at a proper Almasy biography in English. Few new things will be revealed to those intimately familiar with the topic, and there are several disturbing errors and inaccuracies, but for the English speaking audience this will be a welcome summary of Almasy's life.


BOUSTEAD, Hugh
The Wind of Morning


Chatto & Windus, London, 1971


Boustead was an officer (later C.O.) of the Sudan Camel Corps, and accompanied Bagnold on the 1932 expedition. Much of the book is about the Sudan years and later the war in Abyssinia, but there is a half chapter on the 1932 trip.




CLAYTON, Peter
Desert Explorer - A biography of Colonel P.A. Clayton


Cargreen, 1998

A biography of Clayton written by his son, with many personal memories and stories, heavily focusing on the wartime activities with the LRDG. Unfortunately the parts on the Libyan Desert expeditions only quote already published sources, nothing new is revealed.



KUBASEK, János
A Szahara büvöletében

(Enchanted by the Sahara)

Panoráma, Budapest, 1998

Almásy's well researched biography, revealing many unknown details of his youth and post-war years. A big deficiency is that Almásy's desert travels are not treated systematically, it's easier to track his trips from his much fragmented writings, than from this book. Only available in hungarian, though the rumor is an english version is in the works.



MURRAY, G. W.
Dare Me to the Desert


George Allen & Unwin, London, 1967

Murray was a colleague of Clayton in the Desert Survey, and became Director after John Ball. The book focuses on the Eastern Desert, but there are several chapters on the Western Desert too.



TÖRÖK, Zsolt
Salaam Almásy


ELTE Eötvös Kiadó, Budapest, 1998

The life story of Almásy. While written in a narrative form, it is still the first biography to appear, with much research behind it. Digging through piles of uncatalogued documents in the Hungarian National Archives, Dr. Török brought to light the adventurous post-war years of Almásy's life, including hiw war-crimes trial and the subsequent escape from NKVD agents. For the time being only in available in Hungarian, a short English synopsis is available on Dr Török's website. Klaus Kurre is attempting to arrange a german edition, check out Salaam-Almasy.de for latest news.


LRDG and WWII history



ALMÁSY, László
Rommel seregénél Libyában
(With Rommel's Army in Libya)


Stádium, Budapest, 1942

Almásy's book describing epsodes from his War-time experiences in Libya. While places are either not mentioned or are disguised, the timeline is surprisingly accurate, several chapters describe the preparations leading up to, during and the aftermath of Operation Salam, his journey accross the Libyan Desert from Gialo via the Gilf Kebir to Assiut in Egypt to deliver the two German spies, Eppler and Sandstede. The hungarian original is extremely scarce. A german translation was published by Belleville, München, 2011.



EPPLER, John
Rommel's Spy


Macdonald & Jane, London, 1977

Eppler was one of the spies taken by Almásy accross the Gilf Kebor to Assiut in 1942 in the Operation Salaam. Eppler was a colorful character, and the book reflects this. The accuracy is very questionable, Jane Howard noted (in a letter to Bagnold) that the german and french versions (the english translation was based on the latter) have significant differences. Having met Eppler, his comment was "I never thought someone would read both". There is a chapter on the Salam kommando with Almásy.



GROSS, Kuno, Michael ROLKE & András ZBORAY
Operation Salam - László Almásy's most daring Mission in the Desert War


belleville, München, 2013

This book is the result of a multi-year collaborative research effort by the authors, following the trail of László Almásy, partially in the musty gloom of remote document archives, but also in a very real sense, in the scorching sands of the Libyan Desert. Our objective was to give a complete and balanced account of the activities of Almásy in North Africa during the Second World War, culminating in the daring Operation Salam which succeeded in delivering two German spies to Egypt across the vast Libyan Desert, practically under the nose of the enemy (order here) .



GROSS, Kuno
The Bagnold Sun Compass - History and Utilization


Books on Demand, Norderstedt, 2011

On earlier expeditons Bagnold found magnetic compass to be unreliable while driving in the desert, and for his next expedition to the Great Sad Sea in 1930 he designed a sun-compass that could be used whilst driving a vehicle. Later it became the standard instrument used by the LRDG, achieving unrivaled mastery in desert navigation. This little booklet finally provides the story of this simple but highly effective navigation tool, offering detailed technical description, as well as describing the complex science behind its seemingly simple use (available from desertstories.org).



GROSS, Kuno
Incident at Jebel Sherif


published by the author, Basel, 2009

In January 1941, while in the North the Desert War was raging, in the far south among some isolated hills two small mobile Special Forces units of the belligerent nations, the Autocompagnia Sahariana di Cufra and T Patrol of the LRDG (commanded by Patrick A. Clayton) clashed in what become known as the incident at Jebel Sherif. For the first time, all available reports and accounts have been gathered and evaluated, and surviving vererans interviewed, allowing the authors to draw the most probable conclusions about the sequence of events. The book provides not only full details about the incident, but also contains the account of the desert journey to and from this very remote location (available from desertstories.org).



KELLY, Saul
The Hunt for Zarzura


John Murray, London, 2002

Despite the name, the book is more focused on WWII military history than exploration itself. It is very well researched, digging deep into the archives, and there are a number of details on persons and events that have been previously suspected, but not supported by documents. Overall the book is a very good summary of all events leading to the formation and exploits of the LRDG, and Almásy's wartime activities with the Afrika Korps. Perhaps the most valuable part of the book is the uncovering of the truth behind Almásy's intercepted radio messages during Operation Salaam, and the seemingly inexplicable story of why in this case the Brits did not catch him. All this finally supported by archives documents, not just interviews and hearsay.



SHAW, W.B.Kennedy
The Long Range Desert Group


Collins, London, 1945

The definitive history of the LRDG from the time of it's conception to the end of the North African campaign.



O'CARROLL, Brendan
The Kiwi Scorpions


Token Publishing Ltd., Devon, 2000

A large format book focusing on the New Zealanders in the LRDG, full of personal details and many never before seen or published personal photos. An invaluable resource for the early days of the LRDG, when action centered on the Libyan Desert.



O'CARROLL, Brendan (ed.)
Bearded Brigands


Ngaio Press, Wellington, 2002

The personal diary of Trooper Frank Jopling, who was with the LRDG from the first sortie, and gives a superb first hand account of the daily activities. The diary was edited by Brendan O'Caroll, and contains 125 photos from personal collections. The book is available through the Ngaio Press website.




MORGAN, Michael
The Sting of the Scorpion


Sutton Publishing Ltd., Phoenix Mill, 2001

Another book based on the personal memories of LRDG veterans, this time those living in the UK.

 

Special Forces in the Desert War 1940-43

Public Records Office, London, 2001

The PRO published the official history of the special forces associated with the 8th Army, including unedited transcript of the War Diaries of the LRDG, SAS and other smaller units. It is a goldmine of detailed information.



PITTAWAY, Jonathan and Craig Fourie
LRDG Rhodesia


Durban, 2003

The story of Rhodesians in the Long Range Desert Group, including many personal stories of troopers from the desert operations, and 600 photos !

Geology



DESIO, Ardito et al.
Missione Scientifica della Reale Accademia d'Italia a Cufra (1931-IX), Vol. I - III


Reale Accademia d'Italia, Roma, 1934-39

Italian geographer, Ardito Desio (who later led the first successful assault on the second highest mountain in the world, K2) led a geological and paleontological expedition to Southern Tripolitania, that covered the Kufra group, Arkenu & Uweinat, then continued to the eastern Fezzan via Wau Namus. The results were published in a three volume series, detailing the geology, mineralogy and paleontology of the traversed regions. This is the first published account of the Wau Namus volcano.

 

BAGNOLD, Palph A.
The Physics of Windblown Sand and Desert Dunes


Methuen, London, 1941

During 1935-36 Bagnold made a serious study of the physics of sand motion, and made a number of corrobating experiments in the Libyan Desert during the 1938 expedition. This work culminated in the bublication of this book, which remains to this day the definitive textbook on the physics of sand movement in air. It's very detailed and technical, but Bagnold's superb style enables even a non specialist to enjoy much of the book, especially the second part that explains the creation, evolution and movement of the major types of desert dunes. (The book is very hard to find these days. Click here to read a paper by John Mangimeli on the Geology of Sand Dunes for a summary of the main concepts, all taken from Bagnold's book)



EL BAZ, Farouk and Ted A. Maxwell (eds.)
Desert Landforms of Southwest Egypt: A Basis for Comparison with Mars


NASA Contractor Report CR-3611, Washington D.C., 1982

A detailed report on the expedition undertaken in 1978 to the Gilf Kebir and Jebel Uweinat by a multidisciplinary team. While the main objective was geological survey, the report also contains chapters on archaeology, flora and wildlife. (The book is listed as available on the NASA STI website, but beware: for the USD 70 (US residents) /140 (foreign residents) you only receive a bad quality photocopy, NOT the original book!)



SAMPSELL, Bonnie M.
A Traveler's Guide to the Geology of Egypt


The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, 2003

There are certain books which captivate instantly - this is one of them. It is a delightful summary of this usually quite dry topic, expressed in a narrative form, with technical phrases kept to a minimum. The book offers a complete understanding of the complex geological history of the deserts of Egypt and the Nile valley, enabling travelers to easily identify and relate to the varied landforms and rocks encountered on the way. A must for any non-specialist desert traveler.



"Silica '96" Proceedings

Edited by:DE MICHELE, Vincenzo


Pyramids, Segrate (Milano), 1997

Papers presented at a conference held on July 18, 1996 on Libyan Desert Glass and related desert events. This compilation reflects the state of art in the knowledge on LDG, and presents all arguments and counter-arguments on the various theories attempting to explainin it's origins. A special issue of the Sahara journal.

(Click on cover for a list of contents)


Recent general works



MONOD, Theodore
La Desert Libyque


Paris, Arthaud, 1994

A well researched and well written book on the Libyan Desert, covering geology, prehistory, rock art, wildlife, history. While Monod did not write it, he did guide the true author (J.F. Sers) and it shows. A very good book, pity it's only available in french.



ABED, Wael
The Other Egypt


Cairo, 1998

The first available general english language book on the Wesern Desert, a good mixture of facts and narrative of trips taken by the author. Definitely worth reading.



DE FLERS, Pauline & Philippe
Egypt, civilisation in the sand


Paris, 2000

A superb large format photo album, half of it on the Western Desert oases, the rest on the Gilf Kebir and the Sand Sea



MONOD, Theodore, E. Diemer
ZERZURA L'oasis légendaire du désert Libyque


Paris, 2000

After Monod's superb book on the Libyan Desert, this one is rather a let-down. It's simply a translated compilation of text published elsewhere (mainly Geographical Journal articles), giving practically no new information. Monod died before it was published, his personal contribution was very little if any. It's only value is to french speakers who would have difficulty with the original english text.



BERGMANN, Carlo
Der letzte Beduine


Rowohlt, Reinbek, 2002

The tale of Carlo Bergmann's incredible solo camel journeys accross the deepest parts of the Libyan Desert. In 1987, leading his small caravan of a handful camels, Carlo Bergmann has walked from Dongola to Uweinat, then back to Farafra, a feat matching if not surpassing Hassanein's 1923 journey. Since then, he made a number of trips, always alone, to the Gilf Kebir and the Great Sand Sea, making one discovery after another that all others, speeding by in their vehicles missed. The book is only available in German, but hopefully an English edition will follow...



STASSE, Jean
Coup d'éclat au Sahara


Nevicata, Bruxelles, 2011

The hitherto untold story of the 1964-65 Belgian trans-Sahara expedition, the first successfull West to East crossing of the 'proper' Sahara as close as possible along the Tropic of Cancer from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The voyage passed by Jebel Uweinat, and prvided the stimulus for the 1968 Belgian Expedition.


Flora & Fauna



OSBORN, Dale J. and Karl V. Krombelin
Habitats, Flora, Mammals and Wasps of Gebel Uweinat, Libyan Desert


Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 1969 Number 11 (Washington, DC)

A small pamphlet describing the zoological results of the 1967 NAMRU-3 expedition to Uweinat



KHALIL, Rafik, Dina Aly
Egypt's Natural Heritage


Cairo, 2000

A beautiful photo album on the flora and wildlife of Egypt, including an impressively large section on the Gilf Kebir and the Western Desert. (Take care though when using as reference: a number of species are misidentified !)



RIEMER, Heiko, Frank Förster, Michael Herb & Nadja Pöllath (eds.)
Desert Animals in the Eastern Sahara

Colloquium Africanum 4

Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 2009

This highly illustrated volume originated in an ACACIA workshop held in 2007 at the University of Cologne. Fourteen papers are assembled under the topics of the state-of-the-art of archaeozoology in the Nile Valley and Egypt’s Western Desert from Late Palaeolithic to Pharaonic times; studies in historical and current species distribution, animal behaviour and conservation; the economic and conceptual roles of hunting and keeping wild animals, from prehistoric to dynastic times; and the cultural reflection of desert animals in ancient Egyptian society and religion.

This volume is available for purchase through the HBI bookshop

.

Guides



DRUMREICHER, André de,
Le Tourisme dans les Déserts d'Égypte


Alexandria / Paris, 1931

André de Dumreicher was a colonel in the camel corps of the Egyptian Coast Guard. His better known book is 'Trackers and Smugglers in the Deserts of Egypt' describing his adventures countering the hasish smuggling bedouin. This very rare book was sponsored by the Royal Automobile Club of Egypt, and is an amusing description and 'guide' to the western desert as it was known in the late twenties. Much of the book is devoted to ambitious development proposals, some of wich could have been written just a few years ago by any bureucrat in the current egyptian Ministry of Tourism.



SCOTT, Chris
Sahara Overland


Trailblazer Publications, Hindhead, 2000

THE definitive independent traveller's guide covering the whole Sahara. The only guide that covers the Western Desert of Egypt in detail.



VIVIEN, Cassandra
The Oases & Western Desert of Egypt


Cairo, 1990

A very good (and only currently available) detailed guide on the Western Desert oases. However the parts about the deep desert are sketchy and full of inaccuracies. A new edition was released in 2001 titled "Western Desert Handbook". It became bulkier and quality of information did not improve, I much prefer the original 1990 edition.


Archaeology & Prehistory

Note: only those books are listed here that have contents directly related to the Libyan Desert. For a complete bibliography of the prehistory of Egypt, the best source is Hoffman & Midant-Reynes

GENERAL WORKS



HOFFMAN, Michael A.
Egypt Before the Pharaohs


Routledge, London, 1980

The first comprehensive book on Egyptian prehistory to include a chapter on the Libyan Desert. Written in a popular style, Hoffman's book still remains the definitive introductory textbook on the subject. A must read for anyone seriously interested.



MIDANT-REYNES, Beatrix
The Prehistory of Egypt


Blackwell, Malden, 2000

The first general study of the topic to appear after Hoffman's work. Originally published in french in 1992, the english version contains a major revision to include new research. It's currently the most up to date book available on the topic, but rather scolarly, difficult to follow without proper background. For novices it's advisable to read Hoffman first, to grasp the core concepts



MONOGRAPHS & EXCAVATION REPORTS

 

CATON-THOMPSON, Gertrude
Kharga Oasis in Prehistory


The Athlone Press, London, 1952

A massive detailed report on three seasons' surveys and excavations at the prehistoric sites in the Kharga basin in the mid thirties. The first published account of any archaeological fieldwork in the Libyan Desert



ARKELL, A.J.
Wanyanga and an Archaeological Reconnaissance of the South-west Libyan Desert


Oxford university Press, Oxford, 1964

The archaeological results of the 1957 British Ennedi expedition to Northern Chad



HESTER, James J. and Philip M. Hobler
Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Libyan Desert


University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 92 (Nubian Series No. 4), April 1969

Record of two seasons' archaeological and geological fieldwork in the south-west of Egypt, at Dungul Oasis, Bir Nakhlai, and Bir Sheb



WENDORF, Fred and Romuald Schild
Prehistory of the Eastern Sahara


Academic Press, 1980

Record of the work of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition in the Bir Terfawi - Bir Sahara region and Nabta Playa during the seventies.



BANKS, Kimball M.
Climates, Culture and Cattle - The Holocene Archaeology of the Eastern Sahara


Southern Methodist University, Dallas, 1984

A revised dissertation by a graduate student who took part in the excavations at Nabta Playa

 

WENDORF, Fred, Romuald Schild & Angela Close
Cattle-keepers of the Eastern Sahara: the Neolithic of Bir Kiseiba


Southern Methodist University, Dallas, 1985

Record of excavations at the Bir Kiseiba site.

 

WENDORF, Fred, Romuald Schild & Angela Close
Egypt During the Last Interglacial : The Middle Paleolithic of Bir Tarfawi & Bir Sahara East


Perseus Publishing, 1993

The final report on excavations at Bir Terfawi and Bir Sahara by the Combined Prehistoric Expedition

 

WENDORF, Fred & Romuald Schild
Holocene Settlement of the Egyptian Sahara Volume 1: The Archaeology of Nabta Playa


Kluwer, 2001

The report on two decades of excavations at Nabta Playa



COMPILATIONS
(Click on covers for a list of relevant contents)



Contributions to the Prehistory of Nubia

Assembled by: WENDORF, Fred


Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 1965

The early results of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition, initially focusing on salvage archaeology in the Nile valley in Nubia ahead of the filling of the Aswan Dam reservoir. However already at this stage some exploration was made into the deeper desert, and this work, directed by Fred Wendorf, continues to this day.



Problems in Prehistory: North Africa and the Levant

Edited by: WENDORF, Fred and Anthony E. Marks


Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 1975

Papers presented at a conference held at the SMU, Dallas in 1973, with the aim of bringing together scholars and the fragmented information from all of North Africa and the Middle East



The Sahara and the Nile
Quaternary environments and prehistoric occupation in northern Africa
Edited by: WILLIAMS, Martin A.J. and Hugues Faure


Balkema, Rotterdam, 1980

A compilation of papers on the quaternary geology, climate, environments and prehistoric habitation of northern Africa ranging from the Atlantic coastland to the Horn of Africa, summarizing all main areas of research activities up to the date of publication


POZNAN STUDIES IN AFRICAN ARCHAEOLOGY SERIES
(Click on covers for a list of relevant contents)

Since 1980, the Poznan Archaeological Museum (a participant in the Combined Prehistoric Expedition) organises regular symposia on north-east African prehistory. The papers presented on the symposia are subsequently published in a book form. (Clicking on the covers will link to the contents pages at the Poznan Museum website.)



Origin and Early development of food-producing cultures in north-eastern Africa
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 1
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech & Michal Kobusiewicz


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 1984

Proceedings of the Symposium held 9-13 September, 1980



Late Prehistory of the Nile Basin and the Sahara
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 2
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech & Michal Kobusiewicz


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 1989

Proceedings of the Symposium held 11-15 September, 1984



Environmental change and human culture in the Nile Basin and Northern Africa until the second millenium B.C.
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 4
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech, Michal Kobusiewicz & John Alexander


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 1993

Proceedings of the Symposium held 5-10 September, 1988



Interregional Contacts in the Later Prehistory of Northeastern Africa
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 5
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech, Karla Kroeper & Michal Kobusiewicz


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 1996

Proceedings of the Symposium held 8-12 September, 1992



Recent research into the Stone Age of Northeastern Africa
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 7
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech, Karla Kroeper & Michal Kobusiewicz


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 2000

Proceedings of the Symposium held 23-26 August, 1997



Cultural Markers in the Later Prehistory of Northeastern Africa and Recent Research
Studies in African Archaeology Vol. 8
Edited by: KRZYZANIAK, Lech, Karla Kroeper & Michal Kobusiewicz


Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, 2003

Proceedings of the Symposium held 29 August - 2 September, 2000


AFRICA PRAEHISTORICA

The monograph series of the Heinrich Barth Institut of the University of Cologne, publishing the results of various research projects undertaken under the auspices of the Institute on African Archaeology and Environment, available for purchase through the HBI bookshop. The following issues deal with the Libyan Desert:



Forschungen zur Umweltgeschichte der Ostsahara
Africa Praehistorica 2
Edited by: KUPER, Rudolph


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 1989

The book addresses the reconstruction of the early- and mid-Holocene environments of the Eastern Sahara

(Click on cover for a list of relevant contents)



New Light on the Northeast African Past
Africa Praehistorica 5
Edited by: KLEES, Frank & Rudolph Kuper


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 1992

Contributions to a Symposium held by the Institute in 1990

(Click on cover for a list of relevant contents)



SCHON, Werner
Ausgrabungen im Wadi el Akhdar; Gilf Kebir (SW-Agypten), Teil 1 - 2.
Africa Praehistorica 8


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 1996

2 volume report of the survey and excavations in the Wadi Ard el Akhdar, in the southern Gilf Kebir



KEDING, Birgit
DJABARONA 84/13
Africa Praehistorica 9


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 1996

Report of excavations in the Wadi Howar, North-western Sudan



Tides of the Desert
Africa Praehistorica 14
Edited by: Jennerstrasse 8.


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 2002

Contributions to the Archaeology and Environmental History of Africa in Honour of Rudolph Kuper.

(Click on cover for a list of relevant contents)



LINSTÄDTER, Jörg (ed.)
Wadi Bakht
Africa Praehistorica 18


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 2005

Report of excavations in the Wadi Bakht, South-eastern Gilf Kebir



LANGE, Mathias
Wadi Shaw - Wadi Sahal
Africa Praehistorica 19


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln, 2006

Studies in the holocene settlement of the Laqiya Region (North-west Sudan), with contributions by J. Richter and W. Schuck.


Please let me know if I missed something !