Saturday, 8 April 2017

The final session heard a summary and closing remarks from Penny Wilson and Joanne Rowland, with further comments by Hisham el Leithy, Mohamed Ismail, Manfred Bietak and Mohamed Abdel Maksoud. The workshop closed with thanks to the Egypt Exploration Society - Cédric Gobeil and Essam Nagy and grateful thanks for the organisation of the Center for Hellenistic Studies at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, especially Mohamed Kenawi who really made the whole event possible.

His team worked tirelessly to make everything run smoothly in the last two days: Nada Mahdy, Haytem Mahdy, Mark George, Justina Waghy, Mohamed el Moghraby - they were always helpful, and always ready to help.

In the evening the Center provided a speakers dinner for 62 guests at the famous Fish Market restaurant along the corniche in Alexandria.

On the Saturday the DSW trip went to Taposiris Magna where they visited the temple of Ptolemy IV (perhaps originally Ptolemy II), the rock cut tombs nearby in the cemetery and then had lunch in a bedouin tented restaurant. It was a perfect end to a wonderful three days.

We look forward to meeting all our colleagues in 2019.

There will be a summary publication in Arabic and English, published as a PDF within the next three months - it will be available for download through the website of the Egypt Exploration Society:

Thanks for following us

Penny Wilson & Jo Rowland

Friday, 7 April 2017

The final paper of the conference is by Fatma Keshk who is talking about archaeological knowledge and local communities in Egypt. She highlights the difficulties faced in the public dissemination of archaeology and communicating heritage of the past to a wider audience. 'Egypt' is in fact a wide topic of different regions, information and approaches so the issue is very BIG. In this case what do people in the Delta know about their heritage and what do other people in Egypt know about it? Perhaps the levels of knowledge and groups of people can be targeted specifically: those who live near sites, communities and professionals. She gave examples of projects from Elephantine, Sinai where there have been exchanges of knowledge between historians and archaeologists.
Fatma presented a very passionate discussion of the living heritage cultural landscape of Egypt with the links of continuity and outreach in the Delta eg at Buto.
If we open the box and look at community and public/outreach archaeology - what will come out?
Mad coffee break as the last chance to make new friends and contacts.

Now Giuseppina Capriotti Vittozzi is talking about Tell Maskhuta in Wadi Tulimat the link between the Delta and the Red Sea, previously investigated by Naville, Clédat and...... Petrie!
Important in Dynasty 26 and 27, a Phoenician sarcophagus from the site shows an important presence from outside Egypt. Work began in 2015 to make an extensive map and geophysical (magnetic) survey and showed a large structure on the north part of the site under a tell. Excavations followed last season and uncovered a wall, preserved to a height of 6m. It was recorded by photogrammetry and computer modelling to give detailed information about the phases of the structure.

A second trench outside the fortress, west side found buildings with ovens, a LP/Ptol jug -complete. Another building lies underneath this structure. Digital recording can be used to build 3D models with a high level of accuracy.
Giuseppina finished with a reflection on her first visit to the site and the hard work that lay in front of the team at that time, thanks to Dr Mohamed Abd el Maksoud.
Another of the team Warda el Naggar is now discussing the ovens from Tell Dafana. They are of different sizes, some are of unfired brick, some partly fired and some totally fired - they can be grouped outside buildings or singly inside structures. Some have broken storage jars around them perhaps as a barrier. Tanur-type ovens are also at the site - also singly or in groups and a variation on this type has a hole near the base. Ash was thron out in a heap around the ovens. Some ovens were refurbished with new walls. Warda then discusses the purpose: bread tray sherds were found inside the ovens (doqqa type) as well as platters perhaps for dough preparation nearby, as well as grain and water storage jars -with large lids. Grinding stones also attest to bread making. The type of oven is very comparable to tamurs in construction and use.
Warda is one of the rising young archaeologists working in Egypt today.

To the east of the Delta plain is Tell Dafana, now under investigation by Sayed abd el Alim and another site first studied by Petrie for the EES and dated to Dynasty 26. The team's excavations focussed on the enclosure walls with buttresses, the main gate, mud-brick foundations of a temple and two series of rectangular magazines where slag from weapon manufacture was found. The pottery included Greek, Phoenician and Levantine storage amphora and finewares. The army had found a stela of Amasis in Year recording a campaign to the east of Egypt. On the west a proposed rail line meant that large-scale rescue excavations had to be carried out revealing a large Saite settlement with tower houses, later used as a cemetery. A ramp or glacis on one side seems to be a protection of the site from the Pelusiac waterway and/or attack. A large casemate building was found many beakers with lids, fire-dogs, red-slipped cylinder jars, pot-bellows - all typical of the Saite period - as well as terracotta horse riders, female figures and faience amulets.
Nicky Nielsen is now talking about the new project of Liverpool University at Tell Nebesheh, once investigated by Petrie, the ancient settlement of Imet in the north-east Delta. Preliminary excavations on the east of the site located mud brick walls with a plaster platform, with a dense sequence of buildings underneath it. Finds from the area; fragments of faience vessels, amulets, Persian horsemen, female and male fertility figures and some limestone 'trial' pieces - including and image of Horus the child (Harpocrates). Pottery dates to the 6th-5th c. BC onwards. A rare stamped handle with the name Charis was found.

The talk highlighted how much early survey projects can be followed up by further work to expand the knowledge base.
Everyone has come back for lunch and now Henning Franzmeier is now discussing the Pelizaeus Museum work at Qantir-PiRamesses. After the work of Edgar Pusch in creating a magnetic map, the question was - where to excavate next in a capital city with numerous archaeological features?
A monumental structure was chosen next to the village.  In a test pit, the team found a workshop with moulds for the manufacture of amulets and Merenptah's cartouche; there were carnelian and jasper waste; underneath was a large wall with multi-phase silo and D.19 pottery - confirming the magnetic image.
For a second area the magnetic image was not yet confirmed by excavation, but walls were found. Underneath the walls were pits containing pottery, fired bricks, unusual horizontal-wavy-handled pot, fragments of raised relief in limestone, Mycenean pottery fragments, glass vessel fragments. A deeper pit contained a quarter of a blue glass ingot and yellow ochre fragments and then painted plaster fragments and lime-mortar. It seems to be a construction site linked to the mounmental building.
Henning has shown how much unexpected material lurks beside the 'known' structures - including footprints of children in the mortar mix.

Remaining at Tell el-Basta, Rabea Reimann turns to the ceramics at the site, describing in detail the different ceramic fabrics visible at the site, and the functional groups of wares present. Rabea is explaining the new scientific analysis of the ceramic fabrics - both pXRF and thin section analysis. The aims of this research, she explains, are into the production process and origin of clays - hopefully clarifying where the ceramics were made as no pottery production area is in evidence until now at Tell el-Basta. We are now looking at graphs which help to geographically understand the distribution of clays, as Rabia talks about her methods of detecting imported wares, including from Aswan. She also explains the difficulties of this type of analysis and in being able to discern clay provenance between different Delta sites. 

Rabea Reimann at the start of her talk
Eva Lange takes us back into the Delta focussing on the site of Tell el-Basta and results of recent geomorphological work. Eva and her team's work has been bringing together maps from the early 19th century with modern coring work to help understand how the site would have looked when it was founded - and why the area was chosen. Eva is giving details on former work at the site by Labib Habachi and also that carried out by el-Sawi in 1970, looking at a possible administrative building. Eva's presentation includes plans from this earlier work and a discussion about how we can interpret some of the plans made during this work - notably in view of what is seen on the ground today. Eva is giving us an overview of the various cemeteries that relate to the early settlement at the site - which range in date through the Old Kingdom, right up until after the reign of Pepi II. Eva now comes to tie up the known information from the site with the drill core survey aimed at locating new information about the Old Kingdom settlement. Eva is explaining how their new geomorphological data can help determine their relation to previous considerations on river branch locations in the region.

Eva introducing the new geomorphological investigations at Tell el-Basta.
Refreshed after the coffee break, Moustafa Nour el-Din is now taking us across to the Sinai to Serabit el-Khadim to discuss the work of the Egyptian mission at the Temple of Hathor. Moustafa is explaining about the work of the Inspectorate in the area - including work in surrounding wadis with rock inscriptions. A conference 'the Antiquities and irs role in the development of Sinai' was held by the Inspectorate in November 2016. This included a training programme relating specifically to fieldwork in desert areas. Moustafa is telling us about how the training operated between field trips and also classroom-based lectures, and also the approach to surveying the region, from remote sensing to site-visits. We are hearing about new evidence from the work of Egyptian and foreign missions in the wider region - from the 1st Dynasty onwards. We are now hearing about Site Management in the Serabit el-Khadim area - and the active programme involving the local community, school visits to the archaeological sites, including well sites. The inspectorate is also active in new excavations in the area - and working for the protection of the Hathor temple at Serabit el-Khadim.

Moustafa Nour el-Din talking about the important work needed at the Temple of Hathor 
Mohamed Ismail brings us back in time again to the Old Kingdom, with the focus on his talk the reign of Sahure. Great archival drawings are also shown – from the Ministry archives. The nomes (provinces) of the Delta are focal to the talk – and Mohamed Ismail is bringing us new information from the Abusir excavations of the Egyptian mission in the causeway and pyramid complex. There is a list of 200 funerary domains represented in the newly uncovered scenes - which give us new information on the functioning of the nomes. Mohamed is comparing the new lists possible, with those from Borchardt's drawings - which give us more data and a clearer understanding as to the expansion of nomes through time. We are also hearing about much later evidence from the New Kingdom for names given to  provincial territory - which is now visible in the Sahure reliefs - and clarifies the directionality for reading the order of nomes. Mohamed is speaking about how it now becomes clear that the number of nomes grew from the time of Sahure to the time of Niuserre, which is totally new information. 

Henning Franzmeier introduces Mohamed Ismail.

New interpretations from the blocks from the Sahure Complex.

Plant remains are the focus of Claire Malleson's presentation - our final on Tell el-Retaba, now focussing on the 2nd-3rd Intermediate Period. Claire is explaining the environmental differences within the Wadi Tumilat, where Tell el-Retaba is situated, notably the more sandy lands with raised areas at a place where the Wadi narrows. Moving to the plants remains in general, we are learning how incredibly rich the site is for charred plant remains and now about the processes which resulted in their deposition. Claire is describing how archaeological contexts can tell us about the 'field to fire' pathway. This approach is giving a really holistic view of the varied activities at the site, and how bigger pictures can be drawn about varied activities on site, and fit within the wider environment. Focussing on the different contexts at Tell el-Retaba from ovens and kilns to grinding installations, Claire brings us details on a whole series of processes from the threshing of grain through to processing and cooking. She leaves us with an interesting look at depictions of New Kingdom forts in proximity to water - and thinking about the local environment of the Retaba fort.

Claire Malleson introducing us to the site

An enticing lecture title - tea or coffee? Something to eat?  Not quite time for the coffee break - but Anna Wodzinska is moving forward in time to talk about the Ottoman evidence from Tell el-Retaba. There is pottery from the Hyksos 'period' onwards, through 18th Dynasty, Third Intermediate and Late Period (as we have just heard), but also Ottoman. Contexts include ovens, and also the chronologically indicative Ottoman pipes. Even tobacco seeds have been found - and coffee cups! Moving onto the pottery, Anna is telling us about some of the cooking vessels - notably some that have been in constant used which we can see from the heavy burning. Apparently some of the technological aspects of the utilitarian cooking ceramics are similar across wide regions - even beyond Egypt. We have a really clear idea about how people were living and consuming during the Ottoman period in the Eastern Delta - and Anna finished with some tantalising suggestions as to what the evidence implies - transitory inhabitants, but the purpose remains unclear, at least for now.

Anna Wodzinska showing us some of the Ottoman pipes from Tell el-Retaba.

Some comparative data!
Slawomir Rzepka has now taken centre stage to tell us about the latest work at Tell el-Retaba. We are just hearing about excavations of Third Intermediate Period houses. It seems that in one of the houses there were unfired clay loomweights, so possibly and area connected with weaving. Backing this idea up, are the limestone loomweights found in large numbers. There is much variety in the finds from these houses - including possibly a Sekhmet faience amulet, and a scarab. Slawomir showed us the finds that dominate - limestone bowls. We are also just learning about the relationship between sites in the area - Tell ed-Dab'a, Tell el-Maskhuta and Tell el-Retaba - and how we now know that Tell el-Retaba was inhabited during the Late Period ... this includes a substantial thick-walled building ... a tower house?  A nice link with yesterday's paper from Manuela Lehmann!

Very exciting to hear from Mariusz Jucha about research at Tell el-Murra  Incredible material that is really bringing a lot of new data to the question of the transition through the Predynastic and into the Early Dynastic - particularly the difference that can be observed between sites within close proximity. Mariusz shared with us the result from different areas of excavation and discussed the important element of missing time phases at the site - but also the importance of realising that sites shift over time, possibly due to climatic elements. This talk also showed how important survey work has been conducted in the area which is also bringing many new sites into our knowledge, not only for the Old Kingdom surface finds, but also starting to reveal earlier periods.  Definitely watch this space!

Mariusz Jucha showing us other early sites around Tell el-Murra
Good morning from the Bibliotheca!  Powerpoints are being uploaded and we are nearly ready to start our morning session - which will (as yesterday) start with prehistory!

Ptolemy II also greeted us to the library this morning in the glorious Alexandrian sunshine - and we'll be with you for the duration of the day!

Thursday, 6 April 2017


One of the oldest societies working in Egypt and the most unique as it is a charity funded by its enthusiastic and loyal subscribers, the Society was founded by Amelia Edwards to record and document the archaeology and history of Egypt.
To celebrate its birthday, the British Consulate in Alexandria held a reception in their garden, hosted by the Consulate General Wendy Freeman and the Director of the EES, Cédric Gobeil. Canapés, soft drinks and further collegiate discussion - the perfect end to an intensive and busy day.

We have a brief advertisment for the formation of the Delta Association from Eva Lange.
Aiman Ashmawy is presenting a description of the work at Heliopolis-Matariya, once the most sacred site in Egypt and now threatened by urban development, sub-soil water and garbage. Action was taken by the Ministry of Antiquities to excavate the temple area, although work had been taking place there already. Initially talatat blocks of Akhenaten were found there and statue base, confirming the location of the temple of the Aten at Heliopolis. As the work continued they found many fragments of blocks, pedestals and colossal statues

There are some stunning images of the sections: 13m of garbage, 2m of Ottoman domestic dumps; then the pharaonic material. The scale of the task matches the scale of the ancient site.

Amazing story of the finding of the quartzite colossal statue, its excavation, removal of water and then bringing it out of the water and eventually taking it to the GEM. But who was it? the first thought was Ramesses II, but study has suggested Senusert I or Amenhotep III. But the inscription on the back was Psamtek I and this is logical, that he adopted earlier 'archaising' traditions, which made it so difficult to date on stylistic grounds. But details show it is from Dynasty 26 and also it is a seated statue.

Penny Wilson read out Irene Forstner-Müller's paper on the fluvial landscapes of Avaris based on the analysis of geological and geophysical surveys, excavation and objects. The work is refining the precise plan of the city and the extent of the harbour in the 13th Dynasty when it seems to have been very active, into the 15th Dynasty. Then it was abandoned, filled in by sediments and rubbish and the area was reoccupied in the Ramesside period as part of the city of Pi-Ramesses.
In the last 5 workshops, Irene has shown us the developing study of the site as more detail emerges of its different areas over time.
Professor Manfred Bietak is now delivering his paper on the spiritual roots of the Hyksos elite, research bringing together and synthesising a multi-variate set of information. His focus is on 'sacred architecture' in the East Delta with Bronze Age culture, particularly Tell el Daba, Avaris. His discussion begins with the seals and seal impressions from Syria in MBA, then onto the Near Eastern type temples from Avaris - broad-room type, bent-axis temple next to an Egyptian temple- for sky goddesses and perhaps Hathor. Many of the comparable temples come from Northern Syria and Mesopotamia, but not so much in Southern Levant. He suggests the spiritual home of the people at Tell el Daba at the time of its non-Egyptian temples was in N.Syria-Mesopotamia: one for Astarte and one for the Storm-god -  a gendered duality.
The talk showed the extent to which Egypt and the areas to the north were inter-connected - but how did that happen? Watch this space!

Manuela Lehman is discussing Tower Houses - which proliferated over the Delta and elsewhere in Egypt, although often only the foundations survive. Such houses are still built in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman to give an idea of the way cities of tower-houses may have looked. The house seems to have been built from the Late Period to the medieval period in fact - a good example of how once something is recognised archaeologically, suddenly they turn up all over. In the British Museum are tiles from For Shalmaneser, Nimrud dating to the Late Period - relatively unstudied until Manuela recognised that aside from a battle scene with Libyan prisoners, river there were tower houses in Egypt date to c. 670 BC. Other Assyrian battle scenes show similar compositions and perhaps ultimately derive from Ramesses II at Qadesh. Another depiction has just been recognised in a site in Middle Egypt - with drain pipes, as noted in legal papyri with law suits when they damaged neighbouring houses.
This paper shows the further work that Manuela has carried out on this topic in the last two years - it seems to be very broad.
Everyone was enjoying the coffee break! We had a list of over 200 people who wanted to come to the workshop and I think we have now reached that number of people who are actually here - old and new friends!

Ismael Awad is now talking about the mapping of Lake Maryut, south and south west of Alexandria. The lake is now largely dry, having been drained, so its ancient appearance is important in order to understand the topography of Alexandria's hinterland. He has collected a large body of old maps of the area in order to document the changing appearance of the lake. The Geomar project is a collaborative project to make a complete archaeological map of the western Nile delta and Wadi Natrun. 122 sites have been collected in the area with basic data, maps and put into GIS software. The maps range from the 1799-1803 French Commission to Geological Service maps of the 1940s. Now modern satellite images can be obtained from 1968 onwards to looks at the changing land-use, including development of the karm-landscape. Examples show how valuable looking at all of the information is when it's put together in identifying sites and how they have changed - often not for the best. The early results have often been ground-truthed to test the validity of the method and resolve other problems
Despite many difficulties in getting all the data together - the results are impressive and are our best 'complete' dataset in a GIS programme so we know where everything was/is/might be and how sites can be protected.
The work is an excellent off-shoot of the Delta Survey project - in a grown-up form!
Urska Furlan continues with the work at Kom el Waset by describing the terracotta horses from the 'House of the Horse', including one 'Persian rider', warrior figures with Greek accoutrements. Such figures occur throughout Egypt from 6th century BC and also in Cyprus and Greece. In Egypt they are found in domestic contexts although they could be ex-votos to martial deities, or used as toys for children. Other finds from the house include: beads, cowrie shell-beads, wedjat-eyes, amulets of god, Bes, Upper Egyptian crown and a striding bronze king or child-god. From such a domestic context the amulets seems to cover a range of uses from protection of women and children, to decoration or individual offerings to gods. Fragments of terracotta naked female figurines also were found here, as well a very male figure. The emphasis on fertility is common in other Late Period-hellenistic sites in Egypt and from one 'room' - perhaps a focus for a domestic cult/ritual room!  The varied material from this houses is a wonderful window into the material culture and 'stuff' of everyday life and perhaps stories, wishes, hopes and aesthetics.

Still in the Western Delta, Cristina Mondin, describes the work of the Italian Archaeological Mission at Kom el Ahmer/Kom Waset -  a double mound site, north of Damanhur. Previous work has produced limestone-lined cistern, a fired brick rectangular building with round structure inside it and early Islamic fragments mean that there was activity at the site until the 9-10th c. in the Islamic period. In Unit 4, 20m by 20m, many small walls were found dating to the Early Roman period, once decorated with painted plaster and thousands of glass fragments came from here. One room seemed to be an amphora store for 43 vessels - Egyptian types, some African Red slip-ware and coins dating it to late 4th c. AD. Unit 5 dates to the foundation of the site around 6th c. BC and a 7m thick wall runs through the unit. At Kom el Waset, a temple has been located with bronze objects including parts of statuettes; a bath-house complex, with a double tholos (circular bath with individual seats) and a tower-house. In the latter there were many horse terracottas, Greek fineware pottery, shells, bronze objects and amulets. The talk finished showing the team at work - a very varied and large team using many techniques to investigate the site.
The first paper of the afternoon is given by Mohamed Ali Hakim and Ahmed Said al Kharadly on their work at Tell Abaqa'in, one of the fortresses of Ramesses II on the western side of the Delta. Previously worked on by Labib Habachi, Susanna Thomas and surveyed by Joshua Trampier, the current mission of the Ministry of Antiquities has followed the main enclosure wall of the temple. Within the fort are 'domestic' areas with ovens and storage facilities, as well as the famous wells. Working on mud brick in muddy soil is very difficult, but the team have been successful in carefully delimiting structures. Mohamed Ali is sharing his infectious enthusiasm at the discovery of the south-western corner of the fort, with its round-tower, and foundations onto the local sandy-soil, reminding us that this was the western 'desert' frontier of Egypt. Scarabs give the name of 'King' Tawosret, dating the end point of the fort to her reign.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the first floor of the Bibliotheca, with view over the sea and the location of the Ptolemaic Royal Quarter. It doesn't get any better than that! The photo shows some of the delegates at the workshop on the balcony of the restaurant.
Great to see such a large audience during the first day of presentations in Alexandria!
Remaining in the area, Sherif Mohamed Abd el Monem brings us to Taposiris Magna to discuss the results of the joint Egyptian-Dominican Republic collaboration. The focus is on trade networks, reaching reached as far as the Indian Ocean, and south to Koptos. Sherif opens with what we know from the classical authors, bringing us up to date with the site in its modern environmental surroundings. The site has been excavated by Egyptian and international missions since 1905. The periods under discussion are the Ptolemaic and Byzantine, with recently located local transport amphora being shown by Sherif, and their distribution in the Mediterranean and Levant showed in relation to trading networks across the region.

Sherif discussing one of the amphora types from Taposiris Magna
Heading north to the Mareotis area, we are introduced by Marie-Francois Boussac to the work of the French Mission working since 1998, and by classical authors to the production of the wine in the region. Wine production dates back to the 4th millennium BC in the Delta - and Marie-Francois is telling us about attempts to relate the presentation of wine producing areas cited in texts, to the archaeology on the ground. Work has focussed around Taposiris and Plinthine to the west of Alexandria. Fragmentary finds from Plinthine have included those from various periods from the 18th Dynasty onwards, although the ancient toponym is unknown as yet. We are looking at wine producing technology with a new wine press from the Late Period. - using comparative analysis with comparative examples from the eastern Delta, as well as tomb representations (e.g. Nakht) to help reconstruct how it functioned. Great interpretations from the ceramic finds looking at imports/exports and who was drinking the wine!

Inspiring to hear about plans for training of young Egyptian colleagues in our presentations and also see new collaborations forming as we go along this morning!
Everyone is refreshed from the coffee break and we are with Dr Pascale Ballet to hear about her recent work at Tell el-Fara'in/Buto. Pascale is explaining Imperial Roman pottery firing processes, presenting comparisons with Roman practices in northern Europe. Recent excavations at Buto are looking back to an area excavated by the EES in the 1960s, where new field investigations have been carried out by Pascale and her team. The team has been working in a multi-period area, with Ptolemaic contexts, with dating via the presence of mid-late Ptolemaic coins, and remains of hypercaust and tholos, proving evidence for Roman bathhouse technology. Further tholos - Ptolemaic - were found during the work of the Ministry of Antiquities. The Graeco-Roman - Byzantine period is the key chronological focus, with early Islamic material also having been located. The methods include field survey transects, and have helped to model the evolution of Kom A at Buto - establishing the spatio-temporal relationship across the area, with results from the Late Period onwards. The results of recent excavations are leading to new interpretations as to the functional use of areas by the community. Incredible to see the new evidence for kilns at the site, and the former EES excavation results alongside the new. Upcoming work will involve an environmental assessment of the area - which involves collaboration with our speaker this morning - Andreas Ginau.
Pascale Ballet addressing the audience

Welcoming colleagues this morning and introductions! Prof.Serageldin, Mohamed Kenawi, Hisham el-Leithy and Cedric Gobeil.

Remaining with environmental data, we move to our second speaker Andrea Ginau, looking at 'What settlements leave behind: compositional data analysis of pXRF data on Holocene sediments in the Nile Delta' which focusses on work around Buto and Kom el-Gir in Kafr el-Sheikh.  This is the work of Andreas, Robert Schiestl, Daniel Steiniger and Juergen Wunderlich. Andreas describes the material that they have been looking at and their aims to link settlement history with environmental data. Sciene application@ is being show to explain how the Digital Elevation Model has been put together and how they are able to use ISAT laser satellite data to fix the vertical accuracy of the data to less than one metre. Andreas is now showing on the regional map the location of their drill core transects and their location close to expected channels. Andreas is explaining the formation of the Holocene Delta and now focussing on the Buto region and how the coring transects have been successful in providing us with new information regarding the channel locations. The survey work of Robert Schiestl and recognition of sites in the region ties in very well with the location of channels close by. We are learning about the results of geochemical signatures within the data, which has also enabled new data to come from former excavation areas.

Dr Cristina Mondin invites our first speaker, Dr Mennat-Allah El-Dorry who starts appropriately at the beginning in the Neolithic with our work at Merimde Beni Salama - which consists of archival research and also new research in the field at Merimde. The focus is on the archaeobotanical remains from Merimde and Menna is telling the audience about her field methods for recovering plant remains, and the importance of what was and was not recovered during the excavations from the 1930s. Menna has been looking at the plant remains in museum collections and has been able to discover a couple of species, including millet previously unknown at the site. This new research is bringing together lines in reports and other publications with actual plant remains as Menna is telling us about what how we can reconstruct past processes given the condition and location of the plant remains - and the presence of weeds. We are hearing about the importance of examining the whole assemblage as this will provide information about the various stages of processing and storage of plant remains at Merimde in the past, and how ethnographic analogies can perhaps help. Menna rounds up her talk linking back to the opening lecture to the state of current research - including challenging our preconceptions through new methods - including residue analysis and AMS radiocarbon dating on the older material from Junker's work in the 1930s; as well as the value of looking in detail at animal dung and what it can tell us.

We have a packed house here in the auditorium!

The workshop is dedicated to colleagues who have sadly passed away during the last year, Prof. Moustafa Abbadi, Prof. Abdel Halim Nur el-Din, Dr Karl Heinz Priese and Ms May Trad.
The new director of the EES, Dr Cedric Gobeil announces our celebration of 135 years of the EES working in Egypt, and describes how the EES was set up as a fund to help support work in the Delta. Cedric has given thanks to the British Academy who support the Delta Survey, and to the Bibliotheca for our first workshop in Alexandria; and acknowledged the setting up of the Delta Survey and organisation of the workshops by Patricia and Jeffrey Spencer, and the recent passing of its organisation over to Penny Wilson.
Dr Hisham el-Leithy, representing the Minister of Antiquities, is now speaking about the history of the Egypt Exploration Society's work in the Delta, and wishing us all much success for the workshop.
Dr Mohamed Kenawi of the Bibliotheca and our organising committee, has now taken the stage and is talking about connections between Alexandria, the Mediterranean and the Delta, and the topics and time periods that we will be hearing about during the next two days. Mohamed is speaking about the fruitful collaborations and training initiatives for inspectors from the Ministry of Antiquities, enabling us to work together into the future.
The workshop is now being opened. The Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Prof. Ismail Serageldin is welcoming us to the Library and Alexandria.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

We have arrived at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and everything is set up and ready to go for the 5th Delta Survey Workshop!  Colleagues are starting to arrive for what promises to be a very exciting workshop. We will continue with posts throughout the day so that you can follow the lectures!