TELL EDFU, Egypt
Fertility figurine with baby on back
Tell Edfu, one of the most well-preserved ancient towns in Egypt, houses the remains of what once had been the capital of the 2nd Upper Egyptian province. Continuous occupation over several millennia led to the constant build-up of settlement layers, creating an artificial mound, or a tell, of considerable height. Tell Edfu is one of the rare places where nearly three thousand years of ancient Egyptian history are preserved in the stratigraphy of a single site - therefore, it provides an enormous potential for increasing our understanding of ancient urbanism in Egypt, a topic that is still poorly understood since it relies almost entirely on archaeological data. Few ancient Egyptian settlement sites are currently accessible and even fewer have been excavated and published.
Remains of columned hall with silos
The past excavation seasons at Tell Edfu have focused along the eastern part of the tell, which yielded evidence for the early administrative center of the town. The first finds by Dr. Nadine Moeller and her team have already proved to be spectacular, such as the large grain silos that are so far unique in the Egyptian archaeological record. For the first time, it has been possible to discover archaeological settlement remains that complement the already abundant ancient administrative textual sources.
The budget for each field season at Tell Edfu is spent mostly on airfares and salaries for specialists - such as zoologists, archaeo-botanists, and ceramicists - and workers. Further research and analysis of new data, such as taking samples for radiocarbon dating, and post-excavation work after each field season, like preparing materials for publication, are parts of the project that are currently underfunded. Adopting Tell Edfu as a dig can increase the output possibilities of the project by funding more researchers and providing for efficient and accurate data processing after each season.
Nadine Moeller has been working on numerous excavations in Egypt since 1998. Her main research interests are settlement archaeology, urbanism, and climate change and its effects of ancient societies. Nadine studied at Heidelberg, Germany, and Cambridge, where she received her PhD in Egyptian Archaeology. She has been directing the excavation at Tell Edfu since 2001, and started working at the Oriental Institute in 2007.
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Revised: February 7, 2012