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Oriental Institute Communications (OIC)

OIC 28.

Bir Umm Fawakhir Survey Project 1993: A Byzantine Gold-Mining Town in Egypt.

C. Meyer, L.A. Heidorn, W.E. Kaegi, and T. Wilfong.

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The Oriental Institute continued its survey of the site of Bir Umm Fawakhir in Egypt with a short season in January 1993. The site lies halfway between the Nile and the Red Sea, or about five kilometers northeast of the famous bekhen-stone quarries and graffiti of the Wadi Hammamat. The 1992 project was a geological study of the area of Bir Umm Fawakhir. Since the only resources in this hyperarid desert are mineral, it explains why the Bir Umm Fawakhir town existed where it did and why. By far the most valuable resource was the gold carried in white quartz veins in the local granite, and the mountainsides around Bir Umm Fawakhir are riddled and trenched with ancient mines. The purpose of the 1993 season was to continue mapping the site, to expand the pottery corpus, to seek for some specific features not found in 1992 such as defensive structures and churches, and to carrry out a more general survey of the site's immediate vicinity. All of the present work consists of surface survey and mapping; given the amount of previous looting another goal was to preserve a record of the site as it now exists.


  • Oriental Institute Communications 28
  • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2000
  • ISBN 1-885923-16-3
  • Pp. xviii + 92, 59 figures
  • Paperbound 9 x 11.75 in / 23 x 30 cm
  • $40.00

Revised: October 7, 2013

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