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Frederic Caillioud (1819)

Drawing of Frederic Caillioud by Andre Dutertre (1819).

Frederic Caillioud (1787-1869) was born in Nantes, and studied in Paris as a minerologist. In 1813 he travelled to Constantinople to work for the Ottoman ruler, Sultan Mahmud II. Two years later, in 1815 Cailliaud went to Egypt where he worked, in two phases, until 1822 as the government mineralogist to the Viceroy of Egypt. There he explored oases and mineral deposits in the Eastern and Western Deserts, traced ancient routes to the Red Sea, and rediscovered the ancient emerald mines at Mount Zubarah. 

Caillioud also recorded a number of archaeological sites, including a group of temples and Roman forts in the large oasis of Kharga, near the Libyan Desert 100-150 km west of the Nile at Thebes. In a second journey he accompanied an Egyptian military expedition up the Nile into Upper Nubia (Sudan) as far as today's Ethiopian border. En route, Caillioud correctly identified the famous ancient site of Meroe. Overall, his archaeological and ethnographic findings in Egypt and Nubia were the most important since those of the 1799-1802 French Expedition, and expanded considerably on the range of sites in Description de l'Egypte.

Returning to France in 1822, Cailliaud first published the 2 volume Travels in the Oasis of Thebes in 1823, focusing on the numerous sites in the oasis of Kharga, which he was the first to report. He then published Travels to Meroe in 4 volumes (1823-7) , providing first detailed survey of ancient Nubian sites. For his work he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1824.

From 1836 onward, he served as Curator of the Museum of Nantes, and worked on a comprehensive study of Nile civilizations, entitled Research on the Arts and Crafts, and the Manners of Civic and Domestic Life, of the Ancient Peoples of Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia. This was eventually published in a small edition, but has recently been reissued.

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