Elkab could use your support

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Elkab could use your support

Berichtdoor Philip Arrhidaeus » Do Dec 11, 2014 5:14 pm

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Any Egyptian archeological site could not be richer in history than Elkab. As far back as prehistoric people dwelt here, and the city saw the whole of pharaonic history passing by up to the moment Roman emperors ruled the country, i.e. from 7000 B.C. until a few centuries in our chronology.

Elkab is ancient Nekheb and is situated in the south of Egypt, between Luxor and Aswan. The importance of Nekheb is proven by the fact that the local vulture goddess Nekhbet, together with the cobra goddess Wadjet, became pharaoh’s patron goddesses, portrayed on the kings' foreheads.

Belgian missions have been at work in Elkab since the days of Jean Capart in 1937 and continuing today with Dirk Huyge. Within the great walls there have already been numerous discoveries, and yet only a small part of the area (larger than 300,000 m²) have been searched. About 1970 Pierre Vermeersch investigated a paleolithic culture which is now world-wide known as Elkabian. Towards the end of the seventies Stan Hendrickx discovered a burial site from the end of the prehistoric times. Not far from there a Ptolemaic-Roman settlement was unearthed. In 2009 and 2010 the team led by Dirk Huyge dug up an Old Kingdom city.

The list is too long to quote, and Elkab as a whole is more than all that. The few photographs that follow may bear witness of the numerous testimonies of the past and the riches of the site.

But, rich in history does not necessarily mean rich in means for investigation as well. In the past the excavations were threatened by financial restrictions. This should not happen, for Elkab is an enormous source of yet undiscovered pearls for science. The entire archeological site of Elkab is about 16 km², which means lots of work for both archeologists and Egyptologists.

So this is an appeal to all people, societies and institutions which cherish Ancient Egypt: make sure further research of this unique archeological site is made possible through your financial support, however large or small.

Please, spread this message among persons interested.
Philippe Gossaert, December 2014.


Contact data of Dr Dirk Huyge, director of the Belgian archeological mission in Elkab, and curator of Prehistoric and Early dynastic Egypt of the Cinquantenaire Museum, to be found on the website of the Cinquantenaire Museum of the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels:
http://www.kmkg-mrah.be/fr/elkab-ou-lur ... -avant-j-c
http://www.kmkg-mrah.be/nl/elkab-urbani ... -2600-vchr

Article containing Elkab bibliography…
- LIMME, Luc, "Elkab, 1937-2007: seventy years of Belgian archeological research", British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan 9 (2008), pp. 15-50.

Dirk Huyge and Isabelle Therasse looking at the landscape and the many open tombs from the summit of the rock necropolis of Elkab.

The mastaba (approx. 20 x 10 m) of a distinguished dignitary of the 3rd dynasty, completely at the summit of the rock necropolis of Elkab. In the picture one can see the winch necessary to clear the 25 m profound shaft.
(Huyge Dirk, "An Enigmatic Third Dynasty Mastaba at Elkab", Egyptian Archeology, The Bulletin of the Egypt Exploration Society 22 (2003), pp. 29-30.)

View of the great walls (590 x 520 m) of Elkab, from the summit of the rock necropolis.
(Hendrickx Stan, Huyge Dirk, Newton Claire, "The Walls of Elkab", in: Bietak, M., Czerny, E., Forstner-Müller, I. (eds.): Cities and Urbanism in Ancient Egypt (Wien, 2010), pp. 145-169.)


An intact 18th dynasty tomb, discovered by Stan Hendrickx and in 1996 investigated by the team lead by Luc Limme, Eugène Warmenbol and Ingrid De Strooper.
(Warmenbol Eugène, Hendrickx Stan, "Une tombe intacte de la 18ème dynastie, BE 18", Elkab and Beyond, Peeters (Leuven, 2009), pp. 75-125.
Newton Claire, "Mobilier en bois et offrandes végétales de la tombe BE 18 à Elkabe", Elkab and Beyond, Peeters (Leuven, 2009), pp. 127-137.)

Dirk Huyge near the chapel and shaft of lady Irtenakhty, "acquaintance of the king" and priestess of Hathor. This undisturbed tomb from the Old Kingdom was discovered in 1988 and contained the burial of her husband as well.

View of the rock necropolis, on the right side of the trees the modern stairway leading to the New Kingdom tombs of Rernni, Ahmose, Paheri, Setau, that can be visited.

Diner guests in the Ramesside tomb of Setau
(Kruchten Jean-Ma rie, Delvaux Luc, "La tombe of Sétaou", Elkab VIII, Brepols 2010.)

Naval officer Ahmose and grandson Paheri, in front of the hieroglyphs with his story of his successful campaigns against the Hyksos, rulers in the north of Egypt during the 17th dynasty, preceding the New Kingdom.
(Lichtheim Miriam, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. II: The New Kingdom, pp. 12-15.
Davies Vivian, "The Tomb of Ahmose, son-of-Ibana at Elkab. Documenting the family and other observations", in Elkab and Beyond, Peeters (Leuven, 2009) pp. 139-175.)

A children's burial site from the 2nd dynasty at the bottom of the rock necropolis.
(Hendrickx Stan, Huyge Dirk, Warmenbol Eugène, "Un cimetière particulier de la deuxième dynastie à Elkab", Archéo-Nil 12 (2002), p. 47-54.)

Photograph taken from a northern corner of the great walls of Elkab, on the left the eastern wall, on the right the northern wall. In the distance the southern wall. In front unexcavated area with large pieces of natural stone that belonged to a building (temple?) of Khasekhemwy, the most important pharaoh of the 2nd dynasty. Each growth further left and right of the eastern wall may indicate an as yet not explored burial pit.

The slope on the interior of the eastern great wall. In all there are 3 slopes. Because it is integrated in the great wall, it not only seems to have been a construction slope. Yet, the great wall has no characteristics of a military defense.

The excavated Ptolemaic-Roman settlement. The great wall to be seen in the distance.

Left the temples within a smaller wall of which part can be seen. On the right lies the holy lake.

Within the temples of Elkab.
("Fouilles d'Elkab", Documents, 1940-1953.)

Wouter Claes at the site where the excavations started in 2009, the Old Kingdom city.
(Huyge Dirk, "Onder de vleugels van Nechbet. Leven en sterven in Elkab tijdens het Oude Rijk", in Ta-Mery 3 (2010), pp. 26-35.
Claes, Hendrickx, Devillers, Hart, Kindermann, De Dapper, Ikram, Storms, Swerts, Huyge, "From the early Old Kingdom to the Badarian. Preliminary report on the 2012 excavation campaign in the settlement area of Elkab", in: The Nile Delta as a centre of cultural interactions between Upper Egypt and the Southern Levant in the 4th millennium BC, Studies in African Archeology 13 (2014).)

Dr Huyge and rais Mohamed. A picture of the young Mohamed in 1937 in Capart Jean, Fouilles en Egypte, Elkab. Impressions et souvenirs, Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth (Bruxelles, 1946).

The Ptolemaic rock sanctuary for Shesmetet in the Wadi Hellal of Elkab
(Derchain Philippe, "Elkab I", Les monuments religieux à l'entrée de l'Ouady Hellal (Bruxelles, 1971).)

The Ramesside chapel of Thot and Nekhbet of Setau, viceroy of Kush, also known as El Hammam, in the Wadi Hellal of Elkab.

Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III, father and son in the chapel for Hathor-Nekhbet in the Wadi Hellal in Elkab.

The archeological mission in Elkab resides during their research in Somers Clarke House which was built in 1906. It now belongs to the Egyptian state, and missions have lodgings here as long as the archeological work lasts and on condition that the Belgians keep the house well. Unnecessary to say that this too involves a lot of financial problems.

Part of the Elkab-team: from left to right: Isabelle Therasse, Dirk Huyge, Wouter Claes, Hendrik Hameeuw, Anne Devillers.

Thanks to the Ministry of State for Antiquities, to Dr Dirk Huyge and the Elkab-team.

Translation from Dutch to English by Bert Leyns.
Philip Arrhidaeus
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