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Egypt Exploration Society

working in Egypt for 125 years

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Research and Excavation

The Egypt Exploration Society has been funding research and excavation for 130 years and has a rich history of survey, excavation and research at sites throughout Egypt and in the Sudan. Fieldwork is our top priority and our principle is to bring new information about Egypt’s heritage to light.  

The Society’s current research strategy focuses on landscape development, environmental change and human interaction in the Nile Delta and Valley, including the Sudan. All our fieldwork is primarily funded through the generosity of our members and donors and is provided through three grant giving funds: The Excavation Fund that subsists our main research projects, The Centenary Award Fund (for early career Egyptologists) and The Amelia Edwards Projects Awards that campaigns biennially to support short term, low cost projects directly from our membership. Details of all these Funds and reports on their work can be found by clicking on the relevant links above.

Currently the Society has five main fieldwork projects:

The Delta Survey: was started as a personal project by Dr. Jeffrey Spencer plotting on a map of the Delta the locations of as many ancient mounds as could be identified, either from published sources or from personal visits. Adopted by the EES in 1997 the project has since been published on our website and online records of sites are continuously updated as new information becomes available. To date over 700 Delta tells are listed and described. The EES Delta Survey aims to record as much information as possible on ancient sites in the Nile Delta which are under threat from encroaching agriculture and the demands of an ever-increasing population. In 2007 the Delta Survey was adopted by the British Academy as an ‘approved project’ and has also been recognised by inclusion in GoogleEarth’s Presentations and Link.

The Survey of Memphis: funded through the Excavation Fund and initiated in 1982 to mark the Society’s centenary is the EES’s longest running active project. Directed by Dr David Jeffreys of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London the work of the Survey of Memphis over the next five year period (from 2009) will involve a rigorous field testing of the geoarchaeological modelling completed in the Cairo region published by Katy Lutley and Judith Bunbury, in preliminary form in EA 32 and discussed by David Jeffreys in the same issue. This research will argued model for Nile movement and ecological change (as opposed to speculative suggestions based on historical observations, useful though these are) and a well-defined set of parameters within which to work.

Minufiyeh Archaeological Survey:  originally formed part of the Egypt Exploration Society’s Delta Survey and has since developed into an independent branch of this important expedition. Supported by the Excavation Fund in addition to external funding the project now conducts survey and limited excavation work as well as running its own field school. The Survey works at a number of sites in the Minufiyeh Governorate. 

Tell Basta Project: in 2009 the EES agreed to support an application from the Tell Basta team for a geomagnetic survey and drill-augering work at this temple site to the cat goddess Bastet. One of the few remaining sites in the Delta where monumental superstructure can be investigated with temple remains dating back to the Third Intermediate and Late Periods this project has now become a joint EES/ University of Göttingen/ MoA venture. The project seeks to clarify aspects of the urban layout, the spatial context for the temple and the geomorphology of the site through excavations into the areas south, east and north of the temple – an area that has not previously been the subject of systematic excavations or survey.

The Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project: is the latest major project to receive the backing of the EES. Originally the “Karnak Land- and Waterscapes Survey” this project received its first funding from the EES in 2009 as one of the Amelia Edwards Projects. EES funding allowed the project to continue its final season’s work at the Temple of Karnak and surrounding area to help provide a clearer understanding of the chronology and development of the islands at Karnak and the movement of the river away from the site. Director Angus Graham’s new project now seeks to investigate the West Bank at Luxor to provide a reconstruction of the Nile floodplain during antiquity including Birket Habu the basin or lake associated with Amenhotep III palace at Malkata.

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