29-Apr-2006 -- The 22N 25E confluence, correspondent to the tri-point boundary between Egypt-Libya-Sudan, has a very interesting history. The today independent nations of Egypt, Libya, and Sudan inherited unchanged the boundaries established during the colonial era. The boundary between Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was agreed on the 19th January 1899 by the Government of Great Britain and the Government of the Khedive to be coincident with the parallel of 22N. Following the Italian-Turkish war in 1911, Libya became an Italian colony. By the Egyptian-Italian Accord of 5 November 1925, the southern terminus of the Egypt - Libya boundary was established at the point of latitude 22N and longitude 25E. On 20 July 1934, the Italian-British-Egyptian Agreement, finalized in Rome by a note exchange, fixed the boundary between the Italian colony and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan along the 25E meridian southward up to its intersection with the 20N parallel.
In 1933, Captain Oreste Marchesi of the IGM (Italian Military Geographic Institute) was sent to the Jabal `Uwaynāt to survey the massif. Field operations lasted eight months and the first detailed map of the region at 1:100,000 scale was produced. Count Ludovico di Caporiacco, a professor in zoology from the University of Florence, joined the topographic mission. He kept a diary that was published in 1934 (Caporiacco (di) L., 1934 - Nel cuore del Deserto Libico. A Cufra, a Auenat ed oltre con la spedizione Marchesi - Garoglio, Firenze).
According to Caporiacco's memories, Captain Oreste Marchesi in 1934 built a cairn at the 22N 25E confluence. Although not really descriptive, Caporiacco's note does not suggest any difficulty was met in reaching the place. Thanks to the 17 November 2005 visit by Dave Morrison and party, we know that the 22N 25E point is 150 meters uphill, in a quite steep place. No sign of previous visitors was found by Dave where the GPS finally zeroed.
On 29 April 2006 I tried with my friends to reach the 22N 25E confluence point starting from Libya: our attempt was motivated by the wish to find and document the Captain Oreste Marchesi Cairn. On the field, at Lat 22.01181466 - Long 24.98634967, we found an old boundary iron pole with the writings EGYPT/LIBIA on the opposite sides of the arrow shaped mark. The writings on the rusted iron mark were reduced to phantoms but still readable (LIBIA without "Y" is the Italian form of the name). Lying on the ground we noticed an old empty bottle of glass (a wine bottle). The pole was undoubtedly placed by Italian military surveyors. The same model of pole is testified by published pictures shot on 3 September 1934 south of the Jabal `Uwaynāt, where a joint Italian-British commission marked on the flat serir the boundary between the Italian colony and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Actually, the pole is about 1.6 km west of the 25E meridian, within the Libyan territory. The Italian topographers likely fixed the pole where they established the 25E meridian, possibly in 1933 or 1934.
At short distance to the SW (Lat. 22.00989889 - Long 24.98858730) we found a cairn, presumably Captain Marchesi's one. It was apparently quite old; we noticed, in fact, faded traces of white paint on the stones. The practice to white-wash the stones used by the Italian topographers is attested by a report on the boundaries' verification written in 1934 by Colonel Enrico De Agostini, the head of the Italian delegation. In the hope of finding a message in a bottle, like the one left by the Marchesi team of topographers on the summit of Jabal `Uwaynāt (Cima Italia), we carefully examined the void interior of the cairn but found nothing. The cairn is about 1.6 km NW from the place of the true Confluence as pointed out by the GPS (cf. map of the region). From the cairn we shot a picture toward the 22N 25E confluence point, 200 m uphill on the slope of a remarkable gully, but we did not reach it due to a lack of time.
Of course, the expedite topographic methods used by Captain Oreste Marchesi were not as accurate as the modern GPS devices. Anyway, we are reasonably confident we found the 22N 25E confluence point established and marked by Captain Oreste Marchesi in 1933.