Egypt Exploration Fund.
Kasr el Banat, Harit, and TJmm el Atl, were below the level of the second
plateau, and which, according to Linant's theory, were between the time of
Amenemhat I. and Herodotus, on dry ground, while, according to Major
Brown's theory, they were under water. It is obvious that here an oppor-
tunity was directly given to the excavator to verify one of the two theories.
If Major Brown's theory was right, these sites could not possibly be older
than the time of Herodotus when Lake Moeris still existed on a large scale,
while on Linant's theory there were likely to be remains going back to the
time of the Xllth Dynasty, when he supposed the second and third plateaus
to have been reclaimed.
The result of our researches in the Fayum has been to confirm the theory
of Major Brown in every particular. Bacchias we found in 1896 to be
Umm el Atl, close to one end of the Birket el Kurun, and still the
point at which caravans from the north enter the Eayum. They then
cross the Fayum keeping the Birket el Kurun on their right and Arsinoe
(Medinet el Fayum) on their left, and leave the Fayum for the Small Oasis
near the other end of the lake by Kasr el Banat and Kasr Kurun, which, as
we have shown, if not Dionysias itself, must be in the immediate proximity
of it. That the Lake Moeris which Ptolemy knew was the modern Birket
el Kurun, as Major Brown's theory required, and no imaginary reservoir,
is now clearly demonstrated.
The six sites in the Fayum which we have excavated, tell the same tale.
In none of them was there a trace of anything older than the third century
b.c. The oldest houses are of the Ptolemaic period and are built on desert.
Two of the sites, Theadelphia and Philoteris, as their names testify, were
founded in the reign of the second Ptolemy, when, as the Petrie Papyri
have shown, a great reclamation of land from Lake Moeris took place, and
Euhemeria, Dionysias, Karanis, and Bacchias no doubt date from the
same reign. Yet, according to Linant, the ground on which all these sites
stood had been dry since the time of Amenemhat I.
To sum up briefly the history of Lake Moeris. Originally the lake filled
the whole basin of the Fayum, the first reclamation being carried out by
Amenemhat I., who built the great dam at Illahun, where the Bahr Yusuf
enters the province, and recovered the high ground near the entrance as
far as Biahmu, and a point between Ibshwai and Agamiin. This remained
the Pharaonic province until the time of Herodotus, when the water still
came up to the colossi at Biahmu. Subsequently all the land now cultivated
below the level of the Pharaonic province was reclaimed, chiefly in the
reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, when Lake Moeris was reduced nearly to
the size of its modern representative, the Birket el Kurun. The literary