KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD
|THE EXCAVATIONS AT THE SITE OF KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD |
It has been confirmed in the recent seasons of excavation, that the site covers two periods of occupation: Protodynastic to Early Dynastic Period c. 3300 BC-2890 BC and Late Period to Ptolemaic c. 610 BC- 30 BC (conjectural site dates). The six seasons of survey and excavation of the site has so far revealed 1062 graves including 745 Protodynastic to Early Dynastic burials, and 317 Late Period to Ptolemaic burials the later graves being interspersed with the earlier graves. The sub-surface survey conducted in Spring 1996 revealed the probable location of the Predynastic settlement to the northeast of the cemetery.
The main research design has focused on the excavation of the early or Western Cemetery, to investigate the mortuary remains to determine the social dynamics of state formation in the Wadi Tumilat and East Delta as a whole. The site of KHD has the largest Protodynastic to Early Dynastic cemetery so far found in the East Delta, covering some 16,100 m2, with an estimated total of 1300 graves from this transitional period. Initial analysis has shown that the cemetery grew from the North to the South, as the graves and grave goods from the north are of a slightly earlier date and type than those in the south. So far, all the graves investigated date to the Nagada III Period, but preliminary investigations in the northern sector indicate the presence of Nagada II remains close to the floodplain’s edge. To date, 56 of the 85 early graves excavated by the UCL/SCA mission have yielded skeletal material, shedding light on health, diet and disease amongst the population of KHD. However, a larger sample is necessary to confirm and expand on these findings.
The role of centralised government and its relationship with peripheral regions is the subject of much speculation. The investigation of Kafr Hassan Dawood in conjunction with other key sites in the region - such as Minshat Abu Omar (MAO), Tell Ibrahim Awad, Tell el-Farkha, Tell al-Masha’la, Tell al-Fara‘on, Tell Basta, Beni Amir Kufur Nigm, Minshat Ezzat and Tell es Samara - will help build a better picture of the East Delta’s political geography. More information is needed, however, to consolidate this evidence. Kafr Hassan Dawood has already generated much factual data on the social relations and ideology at the critical period of transition to a nation-state. One of the main sites that has been compared to KHD is MAO, which consists of 422 contemporary graves dating from Nagada IIC to Nagada IIID. When KHD is fully excavated and published, it promises to provide much-needed information on the social dynamics of Egyptian communities in the East Delta during the period of transition to the first nation-state, and enhance our understanding of the socio-political geography of the region and its interactions with centralised government.
The secondary aim of the research design was to investigate the location and nature of the Late Period to Ptolemaic settlement. The evidence for a Late Period to Ptolemaic settlement site was uncovered when a total area of 20 x 50 m was excavated East of the main excavation revealing what was at the time designated as a settlement area with burials of animals and children. Another test area further East uncovered the remains of a habitation area. This whole area of the site is very interesting and enigmatic. The actual settlement area is littered with pottery from both the Late Period and Ptolemaic Period, and awaits further investigation.
Figure 5. The Excavation Units in the Eastern Sector
Figure 6. A Bos burial in the Eastern Sector. Many of these Late Period burials had later, probably Ptolemaic, intrusive burials of children dug into them.