KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD On-Line

THE 1999 SURVEY AND RESEARCH SEASON
Following on from, and largely due to this last very productive season, a study season was conducted from 28th August to 3rd October 1999. The main objectives of this sixth season were:
  1. The recording by photographic, drawn, and written mediums of the artefacts from Grave 913.
  2. The teaching of post-excavation skills and practice to students.
  3. A survey of the North of the site to find the exact location of the earliest graves, those next to the floodplain.
  4. A survey of the South of the concession to trace the trajectory of the palaeo-water channel.
  5. A general survey of the concession for any traces of past human activity.
  6. To formulate a strategy for the next excavation season.
  7. To assess the sites of Minshat Ezzat and Tell Samara in the central Delta, for possible future co-operative projects with the SCA.
In January 1995 the local Inspectorate of the SCA, led by Mr S. Hangouri, came across a large mud-filled grave in the South central area of the cemetery 6 m x 4 m, Grave 913. At that period in the site’s history there were plans for turning the site into an open-air museum. It was therefore decided that rather than fully excavate this grave, the artefacts should be revealed, but not removed from the grave. A brick structure was built over it, in an attempt to protect the artefacts from the elements. Later in 1995, Prof. F. A. Hassan was invited to take over the Directorship of KHD by the former Secretary General of the SCA, Prof. A. H. Nur el-Din, and the idea of an open-air museum was shortly thereafter abandoned.

In November 1998 Mr Hangouri, the former Director of the Canal Zone started clearance of the artefacts from Grave 913, a task he finally completed in August 1999. Many, although not all the artefacts from this grave were kept in a storeroom on site. Dr. M. Abdel-Maksoud, Director of East Delta and Sinai, kindly gave permission to Prof. F. A. Hassan and the team to study and record the artefacts from this grave. To this end a systematic recording method was devised to complete the task.


Figure 19. Grave 913, which had a shelter built over it, after all the grave goods had been removed.


It was decided to start recording all the whole stone vessels first, followed by the small finds, whole pottery vessels, and finally the potsherds. G. J. Tassie instructed the Inspectors and students on archaeological techniques and procedures. These included how to take the correct measurements of a vessel, which views of an object should be drawn and photographed, as well as what conventions should be used in the drawing medium. How to reconstruct a partial vessel on paper was also taught, as was enlarging and reducing.


Figure 20. Amanda Sutherland conserving potstand from Grave 913.

After each vessel had been drawn, it was then photographed by analogue and digital cameras, before finally being recorded on the appropriate (Stone Vessel Recording Form, Ceramic Recording Form, Special Finds Recording Form) specially designed recording sheets.

Scientific analysis of many of the artefacts, as well as the conservation, and if possible their reconstruction, was carried out by Amanda Sutherland (UCL). Three of the most notable artefacts were an exquisite pressure flaked flint knife, a copper bowl and a large alabaster plate 0·5 m in diameter.

Parallel to the other objects being recorded was the recording of 60 baskets of potsherds that had not been touched since they had been pulled out the ground. Miss Sutherland was instrumental in reconstructing some beautiful whole vessels from this mass of potsherds. After each basket of potsherds had been cleaned, analysed and recorded, the individual pots were bagged into separate bags, usually two per vessel, and one for the diagnostic sherds and another for the body sherds. These bags were then carefully repackaged into sturdy boxes. During the recording of the whole pottery vessels and the potsherds, many potmarks were discovered, however, the alleged serekh of King Narmer was not found.

AmountObjectNumbers
47Whole Stone Vessels - 2035-2081
56Whole Ceramic Vessels - 0081-0136
86Ceramic Vessels not reconstructed (potsherds) - 1308-1393
04Small Finds - 3080-3083

Table of total grave goods examined

The artefacts from this and previous seasons were all registered according to a numbering system first introduced during the 1996 Season. In this system all finds have a four-digit number preceded by the site code KHD. All pottery vessels will be numbered from KHD0001-0999, potsherds from KHD1000-1999, stone vessels and sherds from KHD2000-2999, special finds from KHD3000-3999 and potmarks from KHD4000-4999. The analysis of the grave goods from this study season showed that: 41 whole pottery vessels, 86 vessels made from potsherds, 47 stone vessels, 1 copper adze, 1 copper bowl, 3 unidentified copper objects, 2 sets of beads, 1 flint knife, 1 flint blade and 1 bracelet were found to come from Grave 913. The remainder of the material came from graves 970 and 1041.
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 Last Updated: 17th August 2003