, oasis (1996 est. pop. 25,000), in the Libyan Desert, central Egypt, c.200 mi (322 km) south-southwest of Alexandria. Connected by numerous caravan routes with the Mediterranean coast, the Nile valley, and Farafra oasis, it lies in a basin c.60 mi (97 km) long and 25 mi (40 km) wide, and is surrounded by hills. El Bawiti is the main village. Dates, olives, apricots, oranges, grapes, wheat, and rice are grown; iron ore mined in the oasis has been the main source of the Egyptian iron and steel industry centered in Helwan
since the mid-1970s. In 1999 a spectacular 2,000-year-old Greco-Roman cemetery with perhaps thousands of mummies was discovered in a 2 sq mi (5 sq km) area within the oasis. Many of these were bedecked with precious metal and the site is now known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies. Dinosaur remains have also been found there.
See Z. A. Hawass, Valley of the Golden Mummies (2000).
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