Deborah Vischak (right), assistant professor of art and archaeology, and Matthew Adams (center), senior research scholar at New York University, co-directors of the North Abydos Archaeological project, discuss the breweries with team member Kay Barnett.  Photo by Ayman Damarany for the North Abydos Project
April 7, 2021, 4:30PM

Excavating an Ancient Cemetery: The North Abydos Expedition in Egypt

Deborah Vischak , Assistant Director, Ancient Egyptian Art History and Archaeology

Beginning in 2018, the newly joint IFA/NYU-Princeton North Abydos Expedition undertook a major new research initiative at the northern edge of the concession, excavating a cemetery site that was used from the early Old Kingdom (c. 2600 BCE) through the New Kingdom. The first phase of the cemetery consists of mudbrick mastabas that represent the first evidence of building by the non-royal local community since Abydos had become the royal cemetery around 3000 BCE. The mastabas were built atop a brewery installation from the Early Dynastic period, most likely associated with the royal building activity elsewhere at the site. This new material represents rare examples from these time periods and will help to develop our understanding of the transition from the Early Dynastic period to the Old Kingdom in Abydos.

The Expedition is also continuing work on the preservation of the Shunet el-Zebib, the only standing royal enclosure from the Early Dynastic Period, and a new conservation project focused on the Ramses II portal temple has recently begun. These projects are a crucially important part of the Expedition’s work and will be considered within the long history of building, decay, and restoration over 5000 years at Abydos.


Photo by Ayman Damarany for the North Abydos Project

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