Université de Strasbourg

Fellows seminar - Digital archaeology in the cemetery of the Royal Court in Thebes, Egypt

April 26, 2022
From 15:30 until 17:00

By Frédéric Colin, 2019 Fellow

The funerary temple of Pediamenopet, a Chief Priest believed to have several pharaohs, is a vast monument of the Late Pharaonic Period (8th-7th century BC) located downstream of Deir el-Bahari, part of the Theban Necropolis on the west bank of the Nile. This site, coded as TT33, is exceptionally large for a non-royal tomb and consists of 22 rooms on 3 levels. 

USIAS Fellow Frédéric Colin, together with a team that groups together Egyptologists, archaeologists, geophysicists, ceramologists, geologists, radiologists and archaeometrists (xylology, radiocarbon dating), is working on TT33 using a stratigraphic approach, studying discoveries by connecting them to the physical-historical context of the site, using a diachronic perspective to arrive at a dynamic, four-dimensional analysis. 

The excavation is considered not only as an operation that produces data underpinning archaeological interpretation but also, in an innovative way, as an experimental laboratory for methodological improvement, using the latest advances in digital archaeology. Photogrammetric records and digital reconstructions of stratigraphy are systematically built phase-by-phase as the excavation progresses. A protocol merges the requirements of proven methods of publishing Egyptian archaeological objects with the new benefits of digitally modelling complex volumes. 

The discovery, in 2018, 2019 and 2020, of a simultaneous multiple burial of sarcophagi that was covered up again during the building of a ramp in the course of major public works conducted during the reign of Thutmose III was an opportunity to put this methodological challenge into practice on an archaeological deposit that is quite exceptional in the history of Egyptian archaeology.

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