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
The on-site work of 2012 focuses primarily on the funerary cult enclosure of king Khasekhemwy (ca. 2750 BCE), known locally as the Shunet el-Zebib, or simply as the Shuneh, and continues the project’s program of archaeological excavation, documentation, and architectural conservation at that monument, which is, in turn, part of a broader long-term program of research on the nature of early royal activity at the site. This season’s team of twenty-five includes IFA students in art history and archaeology, as well as archaeologists, preservation architects, conservators, surveyors, photographers, and collections managers, most of whom were part of the foreshortened 2011 field season and are returning to continue the work interrupted by the events in Egypt of early 2011. In the coming weeks, posts on this blog will introduce members of the team and will aim to present a sense of the range of the project’s operations at the site.
In returning to the field, the IFA’s Abydos Project is reconnecting with and continuing work begun in early 2011 and halted prematurely, due to events in Egypt at that time. Areas of the Shuneh that were backfilled with sand for protection from the elements after the close of work one year ago have been reopened, a process that sometimes involves considerable manpower, time, and clouds of dust.
As the level of the protective sand is lowered, the ancient brick walls emerge and begin to convey a sense of the scale intended by their builders.
Once again Khasekhehmwy’s monument is full of activity, an annual “resurrection” that both echoes its ancient use and is part of the continuing story of the place, as the IFA archaeological team and local work force together reveal more of its long history.
Matthew Adams, Field Director