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Thursday, June 26, 2014
New Discovery, Luxor: Polish archaeologists found tombs dating back 4,000 years in Egypt
team of Polish archaeologists discovered tombs from the early second millennium
BC and unknown pharaonic carvings in Gebelein in Upper Egypt. It was a part of
rescue studies associated with the devastation caused by the widening range of
fields and settlements.
Study of the tomb in Gebelein.
Photo by W. Ejsmond
is a complex of archaeological sites approximately 30 km south-west ofLuxor.
More than 5 thousand years ago it was a capital of one of the proto-states,
which preceded the state of the pharaohs. The first European archaeologists
came here at the end of the nineteenth century, but over the last few decades
scientists seldom studied this area and did not publish the results of their
research. Therefore, it is not well recognized. The name "Gebelein"
means "two hills" in Arabic. It comes from the characteristic element
of the local landscape - two hills. On the east hill there once was a temple of
the goddess Hathor and a fortress.
the foot of the rocky hill we tracked down another place of worship of the
goddess Hathor - sanctuary carved into the rock, with reliefs preserved on the
walls. So far, the site has only been mentioned in the scientific literature
and basically no one knows anything about it" - explained Wojciech
Ejsmond, leader of the expedition.
was the goddess the ancient Egyptians usually associated with singing, dancing,
love, and death. However, scientists know little about the cult of Hathor in
Gebelein, the location of the oldest known temple of the goddess.
hope that the research that we want to carry out next year, especially reading
the texts carved on the walls of the sanctuary, will provide us with more
information on this topic" - added Ejsmond.
second place where the archaeologists focused their efforts was part of an
ancient necropolis, threatened with destruction by modern activities related to
expanding range of fields and settlements. They inventoried and documented
nearly 200 tombs carved into the rocks.
Among them were also previously unknown
tombs of the high dignitaries from the time of the pharaohs. Their contents,
including vessels associated with the cult of the grave of the deceased and
sarcophagi fragments, were in the surveyed necropolis. The objects were located
and documented also using mobile GIS (Geographical Information Systems).
order to better survey the area, archaeologists used satellite images in
near-infrared. In conjunction with the GIS database it allowed the team to
identify the remains of an ancient irrigation system and probably other ancient
Polish team also searched for old engravings and inscriptions. For this
purpose, they used RTI - Reflectance Transformation Imaging, which involves
taking a series of pictures of the surface with the flash and changing the
direction of the light when taking each picture. Thus obtained images are then
overlaid in a specialized computer program into one image, allowing to
manipulate the light and spot patterns or characters.
of predynastic engravings.
by W. Ejsmond
worked perfectly. This technique allowed us to notice new elements of one of
the documented depictions and correct the image of a depiction of a hunter
which is probably more than five thousand years old" - said Ejsmond.
surprised us with the abundance and variety of archaeological objects.
Represented here are almost all kinds of archaeological sites found in Egypt,
dated to all periods of the history of civilization of the Pharaohs" -
is only the beginning of a larger project aimed at documenting all the sites in
the area and their publication. Polish expedition in Gebelein, operating under
the auspices of the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of
Warsaw, took place in February. The team consisted of students and staff of the
University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University, and the Institute of
Mediterranean and Oriental Culture PAS. Expedition members, in addition to
Wojciech Ejsmond, included archaeologists Julia Chyla, Cezary Baka, Dawid F.
Wieczorek and Piotr Witkowski, as well as geologists from the University of
Warsaw: Aleksandra Stachowska, Marek Wnuk and Michał Madej.