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Ghoneim to Lead Egyptian Expedition 

UNCW Professor Eman Ghoneim Awarded International Grant by The Explorers Club and Warner Bros. Discovery.
UNCW Professor Eman Ghoneim Awarded International Grant by The Explorers Club and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Courtesy: Eman Ghoneim
UNCW Professor Eman Ghoneim
UNCW Professor Eman Ghoneim

Eman Ghoneim, UNCW Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, will lead an interdisciplinary team from the United States, Australia and Egypt to discover and map previously unknown branches of the Nile River near the ancient Egyptian Meidum Pyramid Complex.  

The expedition is funded by an Explorers Club Discovery Grant awarded to Ghoneim through a newly formed partnership between The Explorers Club and Warner Bros. Discovery.  

The Meidum Pyramid, built by Pharaoh Snefru, was the first known attempt in Egyptian history to construct a true, smooth-sided pyramid. The research team aims to explain the possible cause of the 4000-year-old pyramid’s partial collapse and abandonment in antiquity.  

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this grant from the Explorers Club and Warner Bros. Discovery. Aside from offering insight into the likely reasons for the abandonment of the pyramid in antiquity, this project will enable us to piece together a complete picture of ancient Egypt's former landscape and enable the full story of early inhabitants near the Meidum Pyramid to be told,” Ghoneim said. “Furthermore, research of this kind could drastically improve our cultural heritage conservation measures and raise awareness of these ancient sites in the context of modern development planning.” 

The team will collect geomorphological, geophysical and deep soil coring data and conduct radiocarbon dating. Ghoneim hopes to produce the first complete map of the ancient Nile branches near the pyramid site and determine if these former waterways were simultaneously active at the time of the pyramid’s construction. 

"The Explorers Club, together with Discovery, is thrilled to have Professor Ghoneim on board as one of our remarkable new grantees," said Emerald Nash, director of grants at The Explorers Club. 

The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society founded in 1904 that promotes scientific exploration and field study and has served as a meeting point for explorers and scientists worldwide. This unique collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery was established in 2020 to support innovative field research that is both scholarly in its contributions to science and educational to the public via multimedia offerings through TV, radio and print.  

Ghoneim is also the principal investigator of another three-year National Science Foundation grant, which uses space technology to uncover and map the ancestral Nile River course and adjacent buried ancient Egyptian sites.