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KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD On-Line

View the Printer Friendly Version of this Page HISTORY OF PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS AT KHD
The presence of archaeological remains on the desert edge adjacent to a small hamlet, Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD), was known to the local inhabitants of the hamlet for many years before archaeological excavations started at the site. Information concerning the presence of these archaeological remains was passed to the staff of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization of the Canal Zone in 1977. In 1988, plans for a land reclamation project led to archaeological prospecting in the area by Mohammed Ilewa el-Moslamy, assisted by Mohammed Salem El-Hangouri and Mahmoud Soliman in 1989/90. The test pits revealed, according to the excavators, a cemetery dating to the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods.

The excavations which have been underway since 1989 by M. Llewa El-Moslamy (Ex-Director General of the district) and Mohammed Salem El-Hangouri (Ex-Field Director), were carried out in 10 x 10 meter units by two technicians supervising 100 labourers (each team consisting of 50 workers). Excavations began by removing the top layer of aeolian sand (barren) by back hoe (loader) before hired labourers undertook the excavations. Some items were removed, others were left in situ in the open air. Coats of consolidants and resin were applied indiscriminately to both objects and the matrix. A part of the site has been covered by a plastic ‘greenhouse’ in an attempt to preserve the site and provide an open-air museum. However, this had the effect of making condensation form and causing the water level to rise within the greenhouse, resulting in a hard salt crust forming on the surface of the graves and many of the objects. Some burials were consolidated and then raised and re-installed over a layer consisting of a sheet of plastic, a layer of cement and bitumen, and a top layer of plastic. The consolidant used was nitrocellulose dissolved in a thinner, or beeswax dissolved in tricloroethylene.

A total of 921 graves were excavated before the projects efforts were halted for re-evaluation by Prof. Fekri A. Hassan and Prof. Abdel-Helim El-Nour El-Din in May 1995. Distressed at the lack of training and need for attention to the human remains, Fekri Hassan initiated a programme of research, conservation and training at the site. The programme included hands-on training backed up by lectures for Egyptian inspectors and international students, focusing particularly on bioarchaeology. A trial season was undertaken in 1995, with Dr Nancy Lovell as bioarchaeologist and co-director. In 1996, Dr. Teri L. Tucker and Prof. Simon W. Hillson resumed bioarchaeological investigations at the site, analysing the newly excavated skeletal remains as well as recovering limited osteological information from no more than 33 skeletons from the previously excavated graves. Since 1995, work has progressed at a slower pace, focusing more on information retrieval, and systematic excavation methodology, working in small teams of 1 Supervisor and 1 Inspector commanding 10-15 workers per 10 meter square. There is also a hierarchy of physical anthropologists, conservators, recorders and other specialists interacting with these smaller teams.


Figure 3. The ‘Greenhouse’ at KHD

There has so far been a total of six excavation and survey seasons by the UCL-SCA collaborative mission at KHD under the Directorship of Prof. Fekri A. Hassan. Work completed from 1995-1999 includes the discovery of 137 Predynastic to Early Dynastic graves. Below, are two tables showing when certain areas of the site were excavated. In total 117 10 meter squares have been excavated, a sum of 11,700 m2, 9,900 m2 of which are in the cemetery area. A further 20 squares have been laid out for future excavation, making a total of 138 10 metre squares.

How the 138 squares are distributed
1 test pit for Predynastic settlement - S.1
18 squares excavated in the Eastern Sector, these are: 14 squares in the Bos and infant burial area, with some adult burials: Nos. 49-58 & Nos. 117-120, and 4 squares in the enigmatic area of square mud-brick structures area Nos. 45-48.
119 squares in the Western Cemetery: Nos. 1-44, Nos. 59-136. Of these squares 20 are prepared for future seasons and 99 have already been excavated.

Note
During the 6 University College London (UCL) & Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) collaborative seasons (1995, 1996 (Spring), 1996 (Summer), 1998, 1998-99, & 1999), a total of 2,700 m2 has been excavated by the team. This is split up into 2,300 m2 in the Western Cemetery, and 400 m2 in the Eastern Sector.

SeasonNumber of squares excavatedNumber of squares prepared for following seasons
1989/90 (SCA) 8 - Nos. 1-8 0
1990/91 (SCA) 25 - Nos. 9-33 0
1991/92 (SCA) 15 - Nos. 34-48 0
1992/93 (SCA) 22 - Nos. 49-70 0
1993/94 (SCA) 8 - Nos. 71-78 0
1994/95 (SCA) 12 - Nos. 79-91 1 - No. 84
1995 (UCL/SCA) 7 - Nos. 92-94 & Nos. 118-121 1 -No. 95 (excavated 1996)
1996 (UCL/SCA) 6 - Nos. 95-100 4 - Nos. 101-102 & 105 (excavated 1998) & S.1
1998 (UCL/SCA) 3 - Nos. 101-102 & 105 15 - Nos. 103-117
1998-99 (UCL/SCA) 11 - Nos 84, 103,106-111, 113-114, & 116. 0
1999 0 16 - Nos 122-130
Total Squares 138 117 (excavated) 21 (unexcavated)


SeasonNumber of squares excavatedNumber of squares prepared for following seasons
1989/90 (SCA) 8 - Nos. 1-8 0
1990/91 (SCA) 25 - Nos. 9-33 0
1991/92 (SCA) 11 - Nos. 34-44 4 - Nos. 45-48
1992/93 (SCA) 12 - Nos. 59-70 10 - Nos. 49-58
1993/94 (SCA) 8 - Nos. 71-78 0
1994/95 (SCA) 12 - Nos. 79-91 + 1 large grave (913) 0
1995 (UCL/SCA) 3 - Nos. 92-94 4 - Nos. 118-121
1996 (UCL/SCA) 6 - Nos. 95-100 1 Nos. S.1 (prepared)
1998 (UCL/SCA) 3 - Nos. 101-102 & 105 + 1 large grave (970) 0
1998-9 (UCL/SCA) 11 – Nos. 84, 103,106-111, 113-114, & 116. 0
Total 11,700 m2 excavated 99 + 20 prepared 18 + 1 prepared



Figure 4. The seasons of Excavation at KHD


 All material © Copyright of Fekri A. Hassan 2003.
 Last Updated: 17th August 2003