After nearly 10 days back in the UK, I received an email from Jay Heidel today with some new information on the state of Antinoupolis, and some plans for the up and coming work. He mentioned that an italian journalist is producing an article on the site, and has posted a blog entry on Antinoupolis at http://filelleni.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/allarme-egitto/. Apologies for not reblogging this, there doesn’t seem to be a link.
Just in case I didn’t reproduce it, here is the link to the Egyptian Independent article on the site http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/antinoupolis-archaeological-site-being-destroyed-systematically. A scan of the article in arabic in the paper Al Masry al Youm is available here:
Article scan arabic
I will update this blog category at a later date with some thoughts, once the fieldwork at Basing House is completed.
Further to my recent posts on the survey at Antinoupolis, the subject of this entry is to highlight some of the quite extensive damage that is occurring at the Roman city and necropolis.
Damage to the large furnace structure at Sheikh Ebada
Finally got back from Antinoupolis to Luxor on 5th March, after a great season in the field with Jay Heidel. The Italian mission from the University of Florence closed the dig accommodation on the morning, and we took a micro bus up on to the desert edge through Deir Abu Hines and Deir el Bershar, then south along the desert road, around the Qena bend in the Nile and down to the bright lights of Luxor.
The drive and the last day or so at Chicago House have given the team time to reflect on the season and some of the results. Continue reading
After another long week of survey, it was good to get out for a morning, away from the noise of Sheikh Ebada, and to have a look at the broader landscape of the ancient city of Antinoupolis. The planned itinerary was to walk up past the hippodrome, and along the wadi, finding the start of the ramp that leads to the Via Hadriana, the road linking Antinoupolis and the Nile with the Red Sea coast. The first part of the walk took me and Jay past the hippodrome, and we took some more photos showing the encroachment of the modern cemetery on the northern side of the sand bank of the structure.
The hippodrome, over 400m in length, with walls of a modern cemetery along its northern side
Another week of survey at Antinoupolis is at an end. This week work focused on survey in the area of the ancient city, between the northern corner of the walls and the east gate survey area from 2012. In addition Jay has spent the last few days starting a GPS topographic survey of the east gate and the hippodrome to the north-east of the city. Continue reading
Once again finding time to be able to write is getting difficult, with the survey work going on at a strong pace. Time for two blogs this evening, later on some updates on the survey, but for now a description of a short trip the team made the other evening to the mosque in Sheikh Ebada, and to the tomb of Ebada Ibn Samet. The mosuqe is located in t he northern part of Sheikh Ebada, aligned with the northern decumanus of the Roman city. It therefore seemed appropriate to visit and to see if anything associated with the Roman and later archaeology of the area was present in the fabric of the building.
The two minarets of the Sheikh Ebada mosque (left) the later minaret and (right) and earlier minaret, supposedly the tower of an earlier church
Second blog of the day trying to catch up on over a week of missed writing. For the last four days the magnetometry has been continuing in the necropolis area of Antinoupolis. Work starts on site at 7am sharp, and we take a knackered old pick-up truck on a track roughly along the line of one of the decumani of the city, out to the Severian wall and up to the Coptic chapel of Theodosia adjacent to the Roman necropolis.
For the last few days the sounds of wolves baying higher up the wadis and around the many quarries overlooking the necropolis has greeted us. At least two packs, one to the the north and the other to the east compete with each other. In addition Abu Hussein has made an appearance twice in the last week. The first time slinking off up to the heights above the site, and the second padding across the wadi down towardss the Roman city, before he spotted the geophysics team and retreated to the wadi.
Quarries overlooking the city and necropolis of Antinoupolis
Trying to catch up with blog posts this week, on a slow internet connection and pushing the magnetometer survey forwards. Work is moving ahead with the survey of the necropolis of Antinoupolis. The area was gridded out last Saturday, with 10 hectares prepared, and the magnetometry has been moving forwards. The area in question is located between the north-western corner of the city, the Coptic cemetery to the west and the confines of the wadi to the north.
Magnetometry being conducted across the Roman and Late Roman cemetery
Areas of the cemetery were excavated by Gayet in the early part of the 20th century, and in these zones the terrain is difficult to walk, running between spoilheaps and the depressions left by the excavated tombs. Parts of mummified bodies and ceramics litter the ground. Continue reading