Thanks to ASOR and its generous Platt Fellowship, I was able to participate as a supervisor on the Tell Timai /University of Hawaii’s 2011 summer excavation season in Egypt’s Nile delta region, working under Professor Robert J Littman and Dr. Jay Silverstein. I was lucky to be part of a multinational team with diverse archaeological/methodological orientations: from Anthropology, Classics, Philology, Art History and Egyptology. Supervisors hailed from the US, UK, Mexico, Greece, Germany, Egypt and Australia. A very talented cohort of students came from the US, Italy, Australia, Nigeria, Egypt and Canada. Egyptian workmen, both local and from Kuft, rounded out a spectacularly talented team that I feel privileged to have been a part of.
The ruins of the former Graeco-Roman city of Thmuis now comprise the area Tell El Timai in the Nile Delta region, and Thmuis ultimately became the capital of the Mendesian Nome during the Ptolemaic era. The modern day city of Mansourah is a short drive away, and Thmuis’s Pharaonic era sister-site of Tell R Ruba/Mendes lies 500 meters to the north.
My duties included supervising several students and Egyptian workmen, working closely with Kufts (the original tribe utilized by Sir WF Petrie), and other supervisory staff on excavation and surveying. My own unit excavation revealed what turned out to be mud brick floor and a limestone plaster wall in a unit we designated as M6-09. The brick was of standard Ptolemaic era size (33-34 cm by 16-17 cm) and consistent with others found throughout the site, and at the area’s sister site of Mendes. Due to the coursing and orientation of the brick, it appeared the limestone wall was built on top of the mud brick flooring.
In addition to training students and excavating within my unit, a large-scale GIS survey was undertaken over the whole site. Other finds in other units included temple structure, a beautiful coin horde, figurines, etc.
Despite the extreme temperatures, the team worked hard and performed admirably. Weekends were spent on field trips to Alexandria, Tanis, and Cairo.
At the completion of the field school/excavation, myself and a fellow UCL postgraduate student–despite suffering from major food poisoning, found time to visit Luxor, Karnak, and take a hot air ballon ride over the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut!
Thanks for funding an unforgettable summer!