Visiting Luxor

Abydos project team members usually have the opportunity during the course of a field season to visit notable monuments and sites beyond the area of the project concession at Abydos itself.  Such visits allow IFA students and other project participants to learn first-hand about major archaeological sites such as the temple and tomb complexes at Luxor, recently visited during a short break, helping to situate our work at Abydos in the broader context of ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Matthew Adams, Field Director

2012 team members on the west bank at Luxor walking toward Qurna and the Theban hills, location of many important decorated rock-cut tombs of the New Kingdom. Photo by Gus Gusciora for the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.

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Encounters with Ancient Egyptians

The 2012 excavations at the funerary cult enclosure of king Khasekhemwy, the Shunet el-Zebib, are part of the project’s comprehensive program of excavation at the monument, undertaken in tandem with our architectural conservation efforts.  The excavations have two basic aims:  (1) to elucidate the original patterns of use of the monument in Dynasty 2 (ca. 2700 BCE) and its subsequent history, and (2) to expose presently buried parts of the architecture such that the entirety of each wall can be documented and its condition assessed in terms of possible conservation needs.  Although the Shuneh, as a standing monument, has long been noted and discussed by scholars and visitors to the site, for many years much about its original purpose, as well as about how it was reinterpreted and reused in later times, remained a mystery.  The work undertaken by the IFA’s Abydos project is transforming our understanding of the enclosure and its place in the long history of the site.

General view of the royal cultic enclosure of king Khasekhemwy, the Shunet el-Zebib, seen from the south in 2009, prior to the start of excavation of the great south dune, which is visible at right. Photo by Greg Maka for the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.

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Windows on Abydos

For most team members the first window on Abydos opens from the project field house, which is situated half a kilometer from the edge of the Nile alluvial plain in the low desert at the edge of the river valley. The house thus anchors both the project’s fieldwork and the experiences of individuals living and working at the site.

Project surveyors Christina Chavez and Mark Gonzales look down on the Abydos field house, the Shunet el-Zebib, and the Nile alluvial plain from the escarpment, which defines the western side of the Nile valley. Photo by Gus Gusciora for the PYIFA expedition.

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Returning to Abydos

 

Panorama of the site, February 2012. Photo by Greg Maka for the PYIFA expedition

The Abydos Project of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, has resumed its fieldwork!  Although much remains uncertain in post-revolutionary Egypt, the Ministry of Antiquities continues to function, and archaeological projects throughout the country are operating normally under its authority.

For a brief introduction to the history of the site and the project, please see Introducing Abydos Continue reading

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Field Season @ Kimmel Galleries, NYU

Field Season: records, wandering perspectives, side notes, a selection of photographs from Abydos, by Greg Maka, Amanda Kirkpatrick and Gus Gusciora. Curated by Ileana Selejan.

On view:
Thursday, January 5th 2012 – Sunday, April 15th 2012

Stovall Gallery, 8th Floor
Kimmel Center for University Life New York University
60 Washington Square South
New York, New York 10012

Visit http://fieldseason.tumblr.com/ for more information. Exhibition tours available on request. Contact: Pam Jean Tinnen pjt254[at]nyu.edu and Ileana Selejan ils219[at]nyu.edu

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Field Season: records, wandering perspectives, side notes

We hope you can join us for an opening reception at the IFA (Computer Labs), Tuesday September 6, 6-8PM.

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“Egypt at its Origins”

Egypt at its Origins”, the Fourth International Conference on Predynastic & Early Dynastic Egypt is hosted by the IFA and the Metropolitan Museum from July 26 through July 30. Sat morning, July 30, features reports on Abydos and its environs.

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Introducing: Matthew Adams, field director

Matthew Adams and Ileana Selejan in conversation. Photo by Gus Gusciora for the PYIFA expedition. Video: Greg Maka. Sound: Gus Gusciora. Technical Assistant: Patrick Salland

On January 22, we interviewed field director Matthew Adams at the field house in Abydos. He is one of those people who have been fortunate, or rather persistent enough to pursue things they have been passionately drawn to since early age. He told us about the very hard, extremely meticulous and patient work any aspiring archaeologist has to do. The first time he came to Egypt with Dr. David O’Connor they spent: “6 weeks looking at pottery only. No excavation. Nothing else. Working about 12 hours a day, in this house, sorting broken pieces of pottery. Although that does not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, not the most exciting aspect of doing field work, with every small piece I felt like I was reaching across the centuries and touching something from these ancient people that I had dreamed of my entire life.”

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January 25: Rhythms and routines

It’s 6 PM, local time in Abydos. Half of us are in the lab, the other half strewn around the field house. 5 days into the new season. We’re acclimating, settling in; our paths draw lines that turn into daily rhythms and routines.

Shauna Diederichs and Danielle Sheptow working on architectural drawings. Photo by Greg Maka for the PYIFA expedition

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January 24: 200 people

Workers clearing backfill sand. Photo by Greg Maka for the PYIFA expedition

Tara Prakash (IFA Phd candidate in Egyptology) supervising excavations in her unit. Photo by Greg Maka for the PYIFA expedition

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