top of page

Hansjoachim von der Esch in Siwa

Hansjoachim von der Esch was a German explorer in Egypt and Libya. From 1929 to 1939 he worked representing a German enterprise in Egypt. During this time he made several expeditions into the Libyan Desert and from 1934 to 1935 he accompanied the Hungarian explorer Laszlo Almasy on his motorized expeditions.

Esch tried to trace the route taken by the Persian king Kambyses during his attempt to conquer the oasis of Siwa. He discovered a series of big stone heaps which he attributed to the Persian army and interpreted the remains of thousands of jars at the "pottery hill" of Abu Ballas, discovered in 1917, as a water depot for the army. Somewhat later, he tried to explore the zone with a camel train. After a successful test expedition with Senussi nomads, accompanied by the English explorer E. E. Evans-Pritchard, he learned that the British authorities of Egypt, in the wake of growing tensions between the UK and Germany, had issued orders to the Senussi not to put camels at the disposal of foreigners. That put an end to his expeditions in Egypt.

In 1941 he published his experiences as an explorer and his archaeological findings and theories in the book "Weenak – die Karawane ruft" (Leipzig, 1941). The title, a combination of Arabic and German, means, "Wherever You Are, The Caravan Call.

bottom of page