About the Tell Edfu Project

About the Tell Edfu Project

The current Tell Edfu Project started in 2001 as a project of the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) under the direction of Nadine Moeller who was granted the concession for site by the then called Supreme Council of Antiquities (now Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage) in Egypt. The first few seasons focused on a detailed survey of the whole site which currently covers an area of about 6 hectares. The main aim was to investigate the development of this provincial town from the end of Old Kingdom (2200 BC) to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1850 BC). Another important task was to start a new topographical map by using a full total station equipment.

The actual excavation work started in 2005 under the same director, who was then Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow at University College, University of Oxford. In 2007 Nadine Moeller moved to Chicago for a faculty position at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago and brought the Tell Edfu Project with her.  Since then, the excavation yielded several important discoveries such as a large columned hall, which is a part of large administrative building complex.  During the fieldwork season in 2010, excavations continued northwards from the columned hall and led to the discovery of another large adjoining hall. A group of eleven sealings showing the cartouche of the Hyksos ruler Khayan has been found together with more than one hundred sealings which came to light during the excavation of the final occupation layers on top of a compact mud-floor in this new area. These finds come from a secure and sealed archaeological context and open up new questions about the cultural and chronological evolution of the late Middle Kingdom (1773-1650 BC)  and early Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1650-1600 BC). 

Ancient Egyptian administration is mainly known from textual sources but the full understanding of the institutions involved and their role within towns and cities has been so far been difficult to grasp because of the lack of archaeological evidence with which textual data needs to be combined. 

Further important structures which have been excavated belong to a large silo courtyard of the 17th Dynasty (ca. 1650-1550 BC) consisting of at least seven round silos which have a diameter between 5.5 and 6.5 meters making them the largest examples so far discovered within a town centre. Storage installations of such kind have been poorly investigated but played a crucial role in the redistributive character of the ancient Egyptian economy.