Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
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Lake in the north west of the Faiyyum that in ancient times was fed from the Nile by the Bahr Yussef. Exists now in smaller form as the Birket Qarun. Originally seasonal due to the flooding of the Nile, Pharaohs as far back as the Twelfth Dynasty undertook excavation work to enlarge both the Bahr Yussef and Lake Moeris to regulate the water supply and irrigate the surrounding area. As a result the Faiyyum became one of the most fertile parts of Egypt. To make use of this potential, under Ptolemy II Lake Moeris was partially drained by means of a dam, reclaiming large amounts of rich alluvial soil. This encouraged extensive new settlement in the area. With the silting up of the Bahr Yussef, Lake Moeris was much reduced in size.
The name Moeris is derived from the Egyptian name 'mer wer', meaning 'Great Canal'.
See also entry for 'Bahr Yussef'.
Posted at Nov 30/2010 04:02PM:
ian: A body of water prone to salination and thus not serviceable for agricultural projects. It was attractive for certain wildlife and fishing (though not today).