Sheikh Abd el-Gurna (Egipt), 2015

Sheikh Abd el-Gurna (Egypt)

Dates of work: 5 February–1 March 2015

Director: Tomasz Górecki, archaeologist (National Museum in Warsaw)
Deputy director: Dr. Andrzej Ćwiek, egyptologist (Archaeological Museum in Poznań; Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
SCA representatives: Megahed Abd el-Mowgod
Architects: Anna Caban, Mariusz Caban (University of Technology in Wrocław)
Archaeologist: Patryk Chudzik (University of Wrocław)
Student-trainees: Adam Grylak, Marta Kaczanowicz (both Institute of Prehistory, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
Photographer: Maciej Jawornicki (freelance)
Restorer: Arkadiusz Ostasz (freelance)

(Joint description of seasons 2014 and 2015)

The season in 2014 was devoted to continued study of the ceramic assemblage collected from the Coptic hermitage from the beginning of excavations in 2003. In 2015, wine containers were examined, the objective being a study of their weight and capacity. Altogether 31 complete containers, mainly LRA 7, but also a few from Aswan as well as Aswan imitations, were weighed and their volume calculated, in order to be able to compare the results with other similar studies (amphorae from Edfu, Naqlun, Shenhur and Abu Fana). Vessel weight ranged from 3 kg to 6 kg, the capacity from 3 litres to 8 litres, thus they formed a fairly diverse assemblage in terms of their size.

Research on the Pharaonic structures, namely the tombs MMA 1151 and MMA 1152 (in which the hermitage had been installed in the Byzantine age), as well as on Pharaonic objects found on the site was supervised by Andrzej Ćwiek. The tombs dated to the Middle Kingdom but were reused in later periods.

Work concentrated in the shaft of tomb MMA 1152, already explored halfway in the past, aiming to explore and document the underground structures still filled with debris. A special construction of wooden beams was built over the mouth of the shaft to ensure safe passage of people and rubble removed from the underground. Exploration down to the end of a sloping corridor that starts at the bottom of the shaft yielded a large quantity of archaeological material, including fragments of mud-bricks, Pharaonic and Coptic potsherds, pieces of wood (probably also parts of coffins), pieces of cartonnages, textiles, ropes, strings and plaited wickerwork, fragments of small clay shabtis, faience beads, parts of faience amulets, as well as human and animal bones. Unique in this set was a piece of linen with remains of cartouches of Ptolemy XII, written in ink.

The mission is indebted to the Authorities of the Adam Mickiewicz University for supporting the research in the 2015 season: Rector Prof. Jacek Witkoś, Dean of the Faculty of History Prof. Kazimierz Ilski and Director of the Institute of Prehistory Prof. Danuta Minta-Tworzowska.

See also:

  • Górecki, T. (2016). Phasing out LRA 7 amphorae in favor of new wine containers: Preliminary remarks based on finds from excavations in Naqlun. In A. Łajtar, A. Obłuski, and I. Zych (eds), Aegyptus et Nubia Christiana. The Włodzimierz Godlewski Jubilee volume on the occasion of his 70th birthday(pp. 113–137). Warsaw: PCMA UW
 Text: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 25