Friday, March 21, 2014

Three weeks in

Equinox sunrise over Silsila

Third week into the spring season and the current survey team has experienced everything and anything from nature’s great forces – with lightning and thunder storms, rain and sand storms at the same time – to great achievements in the (historical!) very first archaeological attempt of setting up a classification system on site for both pottery and lithic industries. It goes without saying that we all have had a fabulous time, busy and full of new important information, and fantastic because of the positive, energetic and knowledgeable combination of team members!

The survey team first half of spring season

Since our last blog post Sarah has continued with her ceramic analysis, not only recording material from the Main Quarry (which was the main aim for this spring season), but also from the area known to the Silsila team as ‘Pottery Hill’. This latter area has been a concern since we begun working on site back in 2012, mainly since it is constantly threatened by environmental forces (wind erosion, etc.), but also because it is a habit for tourists to pick up bits and pieces only to later drop them in areas out of context. As always the Romans made their presence known at Silsila, and at Pottery Hills they revealed a few interesting and intriguing new pieces to the large jigsaw puzzle that Silsila offers, but as expected Pottery Hill revealed also Ramesside activity, and bits and bobs from both later and earlier periods. The intention is to continue to explore this area in more detail in the near future, to clear some of the huts/stone shelters from blown in sand and thus learning more about the ancient quarrymen and their organization.

Sarah, Mohammed and our posted policeman on top of a spoil heap

Sarah and Mohammed sorting pottery

Sarah demonstrating the importance of pottery for General Director of Kom Ombo, Abd el Menum

With Sarah, John, Ahmed, Mohammed and Shihad working on recording pottery and general topographical features at Pottery Hill, I (Maria) continued the Rock Art survey in this area and was pleased to note how the Epipalaeolithic rock art locations expanded and revealed even more material this season! As part of this survey, lithic material was documented from a ground survey, and is currently cataloged, classified and studied with the hope of establishing a somewhat clearer chronological picture of how life was at Silsila for our Upper Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic ancestors. The wadis revealed more bushy tailed giraffes (Predynastic) and a preliminary pattern could be established for prehistoric activity in the area in and around Pottery Hill.

Morning haze over one of many Prehistoric rock art locations at Silsila

Acetate copying Epipalaeolithic rock art

sorting lithic material during a cold and windy afternoon
John and Ahmed discussing rock art

Before entering our fourth week of surveying Silsila, during which we will be joined by the great Professor James Harrell and his visiting archaeologist friend Robert Mittelstaedt, we now look forward to the upcoming conference in Aswan this weekend, organized by UNESCO and the Italian Embassy: The Southern Gate of Egypt, for which the preliminary schedule is found below the images.


The Silsilian survey home

Traditional Silsilian lunch - oh, what would we do without the eggs?!

happy lunch time!

field visit to Ras-Ras


Our Carter

the beauty of the Nile

Full moon rises


The Southern Gate of EgyptArcheology, Community Development and Conservation

22 & 23 March 2014, Aswan, Nubia Museum/Basma Hotel

Provisional Agenda

Saturday, 22 March 2014

8:30 a.m.                     Registration of participants

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.          Opening Session
Master of Ceremony: Hosny Abdel Rehim, Director of the Nubia Museum

9:00 – 9:10 a.m.          H.E. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister, Ministry of State for Antiquities (tbc);
9:10 – 9:20 a.m.          H.E. Maurizio Massari, Ambassador of Italy in Egypt (tbc)
9:20 – 9:30 a.m.          Bechir Lamine, Director of UNESCO Cairo Office and UNESCO Representative in Egypt (tbc)

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.       Plenary Session
Moderator: Franco Porcelli Scientific Advisor, Embassy of Italy

9:30 – 9:50 a.m.          Francesca Tolve, CNR, International Relations Office, “CNR and the International dimension: Strategies, Instruments and Actions for Cooperation”

9:50- 10:10 a.m.         Giuseppina Capriotti Vittozzi, Maurizio Fea, Stefano Gusmano, Chris Stewart, CNR, Institute for Ancient Mediterranean Studies, “The Southern Gate of Egypt: Advanced Technologies for an Ancient Crossroads”

10:10- 10:30 a.m.                   Mahmoud El Shendidy, Director of Nubia Fund, MSA, Mohamed Abd Elhady, Cairo University “Applying preventive conservation methodology in the management of archaeological sites in Egypt”;

10:30- 10:50 a.m.                   Fathi Abu Zaid, Head of Inspectorates, “Foreign Archaeological Missions: Integration or collision”

10:50 – 11:10 a.m.      Rageh Mohamed, Director of the Documentation Center “The future Role of the Documentation Centered at the Nubia Museum

11:10 – 11:30 p.m.      Overall discussion for the Plenary Session

11:30 – 11:50 p.m.     Coffee Break

11:50 – 13:50 p.m.     Session I: Management of Archaeological sites and the role of local community
            Moderator: Dr Ali Asfar, Director of the Department of Egyptology, Ministry of States for Antiquities

11:50 – 12:10 p.m.      Massimo Cultraro, CNR, Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage, “Narrating Archaeology: the Italian experience in the field of Virtual Museums and digital Cultural Heritage;

12:10 – 12:30 p.m.      Tamar Teneishvili, UNESCO Cairo, “Community based managements of World Heritage Sites – UNESCO cases studies and best practices”

12:30 – 12:50 p.m.      Heleni Porfyriou, CNR, Institute for the Conservation and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage, “Harmony between people, heritage and nature. The UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape approach”;

12:50 – 13:10 p.m.      Ahmed Ali, Nubian Union Federation Culture Center (to be confirmed the title);

13:10 – 13:25 p.m.      Ahmed Faraman, “Economic sufficiency of the archaeological sites in Aswan”

13:25 – 13:40 p.m       Dr. Abdou A.O.D. El-Derby, Conservation and Management of Ancient Egyptian Sites in Upper Egypt

13:40 – 14:00 p.m.     Overall discussion for the Session I

14:00 – 15:00 p.m.     Lunch Break

15:00 – 18:30 p.m.     Session II: Archaeological Sites and Environmental Challenges
            Moderator: Badawi Ismail, South Valley University;

15:00 – 15:20 p.m.      Dr. Wafaa M. Amer, Faculty of Science, University of Cairo, “Invasive plants to Philae Temple Complex: the current status and the future vision towards the temple conservation

15:20 – 15:50 p.m.      Dr. Magdi M.Ali, Aswan University, “Impacts of Dams and water level changes on archaeological sites in Egypt

15:50 – 16:10 p.m.      Marina Baldi, CNR, Institute of Biometeorology, “Assessment of weather-related impact on Cultural Heritage - The Aswan Tombs of the Nobles”

16:10 – 16:30 p.m.      Samir Ghabbour, Cairo University, “The Southern Gate of Egypt, Environmental Challenges:, two solutions”

16:30 – 16:50 p.m.     Coffee Break

16:50 – 17:10 p.m.      Andrea Angelini, CNR, Institute of technologies applied to cultural heritage, “Modelling the past through the digital tools: Herkuf's Tomb in Aswan

17:10 – 17:30 p.m.      Essam H. Mohamed, South Valley University, “Environmental study to affect deterioration factors on Nubian sandstone monuments in Aswan: “In situ damage diagnosis”

17:30 – 17:50 p.m.      Dr. Sayed Abdou A. Salem, Geology Department, Faculty of Sciences, Aswan University, “Rising Water Table Threatens El Fatimiyah Cemetery – Aswan City”

17:50 – 18:10 p.m.      Dr. Ali Abdel-Motelib, Abdel-Hamid El Manwi, “Some emphases on geological constraint and hazards affecting Philea Temple, Aswan

18:10 – 18:20 p.m.      Dr. Hagag Nasr, “Protective zones of Southern Egypt”

18:10 – 18:30 p.m.     Overall discussion for the Session II;

Discussion will be followed by Expert Meeting for the preparation of the Concept note “Environmental challenges in Archaeological sites”

Sunday, 23 March 2014

9:00 a.m. – 13:00 p.m.           Session III: Presentations by the archeological missions in the Aswan area.
Moderator: Tamar Teneishvili, UNESCO Cairo;

9:00 – 9:20 a.m.          Stephan Seidlmayer, German Archeological Institute, “Work of the German Archaeological Institute (Cairo) in the Area of Aswan

9:30 – 9:50 a.m.          Ralph Bodenstein, German Archeological Institute, “The tombstones of the Islamic necropolis of Aswan: A documentation and data-base project”

9:50 – 10:10 a.m.        Fahmy Mahmoud, Aswan Inspectorate, MSA, “Rescue excavation in the ancient city of Aswan: Area 25”

10:10 – 10:30 a.m.      Philipp Speiser, German Archaeological Institute, “The Fatimid Cemetery of Aswan

10:30 – 10:50 a.m.      Adel Kelany, MSA, “Archaeological Risk Map for the Aswan Area. Theory and Application”

10:50– 11:10 p.m.       Maria Gatto and Arturo Curci The Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project: archaeology, heritage management and the local communities”

11:10 – 11:40 a.m.     Coffee Break

11:40– 12:00 p.m.       Pamela Rose, British Mission, “Qasr Ibrim: a site on the verge of destruction” & “Recent work at Hisn al-Bab, Aswan

12:00– 12:20 p.m.       Maria Nilsson, “Gebel el Silsila: challenges, awareness and management”

12:20– 12:40 p.m.       Cornelius von Piligrim, Swiss Mission, “Ancient Syene - Archaeology under the shadow of modern town development

12:40– 13:00 p.m.       Alejandro Jimenez Serrano, presented by Kathryn Piquette, University of Jaen, “The Spanish Mission in Qubbet el-Hawa: archaeology, conservation and site management project”

13:00 - 13:10  Kathryn Piquette, “At a Crossroads: Planning a Joint British-Egyptian Rescue Mission in the Aga Khan-Wadi Samaan Area

13:10– 13:30 p.m.       Wolfgang Müller, Swiss Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Research on Ancient Egypt in Cairo “The Birket Damas Area (Area 2) – All the history of Aswan in one place”

13:30 – 14:00 p.m.      Ahmed Mansour, “Philae Island, Open Museum of Writings, Survey of Ancient Writings Heritage in Egypt”;

14:00 – 15:00 p.m.     Lunch Break

15:00 – 15:20 p.m.      Essam Elsaeed, “Vision for Digital Documenting Rock Inscriptions in Aswan

15:20 – 15:50 p.m.      Dr. Hisham Elleithy, General Director of the Scientific Publication Department, Ministry of Antiquities (title to be confirmed)

15:50 – 16:10 p.m.      Dr. Amer El-Ahraf , Dr. Shokry El-Kantiry, , “Description and Analysis of Environmental and Public Health in Ancient Egypt:  Implications for the future of Egypt and a Call for Indigenous Egyptian Scientific and Social Bases for Action”

16:10 – 16:30 p.m.      Linda Borrmann (DAI), Heba Saad Harby (MSA) and Mahmoud Mamdouh Mokhtar (MSA), “Survey and salvage epigraphy of rock cut graffiti and inscriptions in the area of Aswan – A co-operative project of the Ministry of State for Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute”

16:30 – 16:50 p.m.     Overall discussion for the Session III

16:50 – 17:00              Coffee Break

17:00p.m. – 17:45 p.m.          Session Reports by Rapporteurs

17:45 – 18:30                          Conclusion and recommendations
Moderators: Ali Asfar, Franco Porcelli, Tamar Teneishvili

Poster’s Session:

Medhat Ibrahim, National Research Centre of Egypt – “Spectroscopy Department, Effect of salinity on the molecular structure of soil of Archaeological Sites: spectroscopic and modeling approach”;

Nageeb Rasheed, Abdo A. O. D. El-Derby, Atiat A. Montaser, Fatma A. E. Abdallah, “Environmental Pollution in Egyptian Ancient Epochs”;

Hassan Khesbak, Ahmed Kamel and Kamal Tolba,Applications of FTIR Spectroscopy/Raman Microscopy in Archaeology and Art Preservation/Restoration”;

Mohamed Hassan, Radwa Zaki “Dr. Soad Maher’s Efforts in Reading and Documenting the Islamic Tombstones in Aswan

Mishael S.M. Morkos: “South Valley University The Impact of environmental factors on Coptic Icons in Upper Egypt”

A.M. Sallam a M.F.Ali, B. Ismail “Diagnosis and investigation strategies in the Coptic mural paintings IN QUBBET EL HAWA MONASTERY in Aswan

Mohamed A. Hamdan, Giulio Lucarini, Barbara Barich, Geology Department, Cairo University, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Cambridge University, University of Rome La Sapienza”, “Source of pigments of Neolithic rock art of Wadi Sura area, Gilf Kebir, South Western Desert, Egypt

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