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Oriental Institute Communications
Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures
Paperback (September 2011)
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Archaeological Method and Theory
Bir Umm Fawakhir, Volume 2
Report on the 1996-1997 Survey Seasons
by Lisa Heidorn, Clemens D. Reichel, Carol Meyer, Lisa A. Heidorn, Alexandra A. O'Brien and Clemens Reichel
Bir Umm Fawakhir is a fifth-sixth century AD Coptic/Byzantine gold-mining town located in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt. The Bir Umm Fawakhir Project of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago carried out four seasons of archaeological survey at the site, in 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997; one season of excavation in 1999; and one study season in 2001. This volume is the final report on the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The goals of the 1996 and 1997 field seasons were to complete the detailed map of the main settlement, to continue the investigation of the outlying clusters of ruins or "Outliers" and to address some specific questions such as the ancient gold-extraction process. The completion of these goals makes the main settlement at Bir Umm Fawakhir one of the only completely mapped towns of the period in Egypt. Not only is the main settlement plotted room for room and door for door but also features such as guardposts, cemeteries, paths, roads, wells, outlying clusters of ruins and mines are known and some of these are features not always readily detectable archaeologically. This volume presents the pre-Coptic material; a detailed discussion of the remains in the main settlement, outliers and cemeteries; the Coptic/Byzantine pottery, small finds and dipinti; as well as a study of ancient mining techniques.
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