AERA News Archive

Mit Rahina 2015, Session 2: MA Applications Open

Mit Rahina 2015
Site Management and Heritage Field-School
Saturday 7th November to Thursday 17th December, 2015 (FS2)
Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA)

Applications are opened to inspectors of the Ministry of Antiquities (MA) for the Mit Rahina 2015 Site Management and Heritage Field-School run by AERA. There are 25 places for Inspectors of the Ministry of Antiquities currently working in the Greater Cairo area. Applicants must have been with the MA for longer than one year, and may have had a field-school before.

The Mit Rahina project is developing a walking circuit of eight archaeological sites for visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of ancient Memphis. The Mit Rahina Site Management and Heritage Field-School provides training in preparing desk-based site assessments; archaeological recording and site preparation; techniques of site management and cultural heritage, including production of signage and site interpretation materials; as well as development of activities for interaction with the public. The training will include site work in Mit Rahina, lectures and workshops as well as report writing and presentations. Applicants must have a serious interest in explaining archaeological sites to the public.

The field-school takes place from Saturday 7th November to Thursday 17th December, 2015 (FS2). The field-school is non-residential.… READ MORE »


Mit Rahina 2015: MA Applications Open

Mit Rahina 2015: Site Management and Heritage Field-School
Saturday 3rd October to Thursday 12th November, 2015 (FS1)

Applications are opened to inspectors of the Ministry of Antiquities (MA) for the Mit Rahina 2015 Site Management and Heritage Field-School run by Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA). There are 20 places for Inspectors of the Ministry of Antiquities currently working in the Greater Cairo area. Applicants must have been with the MA for longer than one year, and may have had a field-school before.

The Mit Rahina project is developing a walking circuit of eight archaeological sites for visitors to experience the rich cultural heritage of ancient Memphis. The Mit Rahina Site management and Heritage Field-school provides training in preparing desk-based site assessments; archaeological recording and site preparation; techniques of site management and cultural heritage, including production of signage and site interpretation materials; as well as development of activities for interaction with the public. The training will include site work in Mit Rahina, lectures and workshops as well as report writing and presentations. Applicants must have a serious interest in explaining archaeological sites to the public.

The field-school takes place from Saturday 3rd October to Thursday 12th November, 2015 (FS1). The field-school is non-residential.… READ MORE »


2015 Area AA-South: Preliminary Results

This year we returned to area AA-South, which is just just south of the Pedestal Building. We were on the lookout for evidence of beer brewing, but instead we found a large structure, which was probably an official residence, that is, an office and residence. What did this house’s residents administer? We still think it included brewing, but we are certain that production in this area including baking.

ebulletin_web_400At the beginning of the season, we hypothesized that two circular mudbrick burnt-red structures in the south served as sockets for the large vats in which brewers heated malt soaked in water. Instead, these circles turned out to be ovens used for baking bread and three rooms in the north of the house served as kitchen/bakery areas. The second room featured a hearth, lined with broken stone and mudbrick, built into the northeast corner. An upside down bread mold formed a corner post, just as we have seen in hearths at other bakeries in the Heit el-Ghurab site. Bakers used these corner hearths for preheating the bread molds. A hole in the floor of the southwest corner of the chamber must have once held a dough-mixing vat. A worn, rounded, limestone boulder against the southern wall allowed someone to sit and turn left to reach into the vat, or right to stoke the hearth.… READ MORE »


Reflectance Transformation Imaging of Objects in Giza

RTI specialist Sarah Chapman at work in the lab photographing the Horus amulet seen below

RTI specialist Sarah Chapman at work in the lab photographing the Horus amulet seen below

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is a technique that lights an object from many different directions to better bring out surface detail and create an interactive 3D image. To produce an RTI image, a specialist takes a series of digital photos of the subject with a stationary camera. For each shot, light is projected from a known direction, resulting in a set of photos with different highlights and shadows. RTI software then synthesizes the lighting information to create a mathematical model of the surface of the object.

Once the data is processed the image can be opened in a RTI vieweing software, allowing researchers to re-light the object interactively with “virtual” light from any direction. Computations carried out by the RTI software enhance shape and color attributes, allowing the researcher to see detail not seen with direct observation. Additionally, RTI software can produce 3D imagery that allows a viewer to rotate an object 360°.

This season, RTI specialist Sarah Chapman of the University of Birmingham, UK, introduced AERA to RTI and its potential by photographing objects and sealings from our storeroom in Giza. The minutely detailed imagery she produced allowed our sealings specialist, Ali Witsell, to work on this season’s sealings from her home in the United States.… READ MORE »


Lost Egypt exhibit at the Durham Museum

LE_Pic4AERA’s work at the Heit el-Ghurab site (aka “The Lost City of the Pyramid Builders”) is featured in the travelling exhibit “Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science.” The exhibit features information on AERA’s archaeological work in Egypt as well as interviews with our team members, including Dr. Mark Lehner and Ana Tavares.

“Lost Egypt” will be at the Durham Museum in Omaha, Nebraska through September 6, 2015. For more information, please visit the Lost Egypt exhibition website.

Originally developed by the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the Lost Egypt exhibit shows how modern science and technology can help reveal the mysteries of Egypt, its culture, and its people, using hands-on challenges, authentic artifacts, video interviews and photographs from archaeologists working in the field.

Watch the video below for more information from the COSI and AERA teams on how thjs exhibit was put together.

Lost Egypt Artzine Interview from COSI on Vimeo.… READ MORE »


Ana Tavares to give talk in UK

Ana TavaresAna Tavares, AERA co-field director, will be giving a talk titled “The architecture of social control: the Old Kingdom settlement at Heit el-Ghurab at Giza” that examines power relations through the architecture of the Heit el-Ghurab site. This talk will be given to the North East Egyptology Society in Newcastle on Saturday 18th July from 2:00-4:00pm.

For more information please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/neaesoc/home/meetings.… READ MORE »


Ana Tavares to talk about AERA’s work

Ana TavaresAna Tavares, AERA co-field director, will be giving a talk titled “The architecture of social control: two case studies from Giza” that examines power relations through the architecture of the Heit el-Ghurab and the Khentkawes sites. The talk will be part of the “Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2015” international conference in Prague.

Location: Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University in Prague
Conference dates: June 22-26, 2015
Website: http://egyptologie.ff.cuni.cz/?req=doc:konference&lang=en
Information: The conference aims to cover all principal fields of Egyptology connected to relevant aspects of the history, archaeology, environmental features, philology, art history, religion and other related subjects concerning the pyramid fields and cemeteries of Abusir and Saqqara and their adjacent areas.… READ MORE »


Congratulations to the 2015 field school graduating class!

During the 2015 excavation season, we conducted a beginners field school teaching archaeological excavation and recording techniques to 12 Egyptian Inspectors of the Ministry of Antiquities and two American University in Cairo students. Graduation took place at the Ministry of Antiquities headquarters in Zamalek, where certificates were handed out by Dr. Mustafa Amin, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Shabaan Abd El Gawad, and Dr. Mark Lehner.

2015_graduation

We are proud of all of our graduates and we hope to see some return for more advanced training in the future.We thank our AERA members and the generous donors who helped make this training possible.

Your support helps us to train the next generation of Egyptian archaeologists, who will spread their new skills and knowledge throughout Egypt. Find out how you can help support our work in Egypt and help us to train future field school students. Click on a photo below to view them full size and start the slideshow.

READ MORE »


AERA’s Field School Celebrates 10 Years in Egypt

On March 21st, AERA celebrated the 10th anniversary of our field school program in Egypt with a party at the AERA-Egypt Center in Giza. Many of our graduates attended the celebration alongside current students, staff members, and officials from the Ministry of Antiquities.

We wish to thank the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, USAID, The American Research Center in Egypt, and The American University in Cairo for their generous support and co-operation over the past ten years. We look forward to celebrating another ten years of training the next generation of Egyptian archaeologists in 2025!

10-year-party

Dr. Mark Lehner speaks at the field school anniversary party (l); current and former AERA staff members, students and instructors celebrate at the anniversary party. (r).… READ MORE »


The Pig and the Chicken in the Middle East

A chicken on a limestone fragment found by Howard Carter on the slope in front of Tutankhamun's tomb.

A chicken on a limestone fragment found by Howard Carter in front of Tutankhamun’s tomb.


Sometime around 1000 B.C.E. pig use in the Middle East declined and was subsequently religiously prohibited. Around the same time that pork fell out of favor, chickens were introduced into the area.

AERA Chief Research Officer Dr. Richard Redding’s paper examining the historical reasons for the decline of the pig (and the rise of the chicken) has been featured in the Smithsonian and the New Historian.

The full text of his article, The Pig and the Chicken in the Middle East: Modeling Human Subsistence Behavior in the Archaeological Record Using Historical and Animal Husbandry Data, is available in the Journal of Archaeological Research.

Abstract: The role of the pig in the subsistence system of the Middle East has a long and, in some cases, poorly understood history. It is a common domesticated animal in earlier archaeological sites throughout the Middle East. Sometime in the first millennium, BC pig use declined, and subsequently it became prohibited in large areas of the Middle East. The pig is an excellent source of protein, but because of low mobility and high water needs, it is difficult to move long distances.… READ MORE »


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