Settlement patterns in Egypt and Nubia in the 2nd Millennium BC are the main fields of archaeology and research in the project AcrossBorders (ERC Starting Grant no. 313668), currently hosted by LMU Munich and led by Professor Dr Julia Budka.
Multi- and interdisciplinary archaeology
The multi-layered research of AcrossBorders with the application of interdisciplinary methods (geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, scientific analyses such as Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, Strontium Isotope Analysis, etc.) has the unique potential to provide information for reconstructing ancient lives, and to create a showcase study for settlement archaeology in northeast Africa.
AcrossBorders is currently conducting excavations at the sites of Sai Island (Sudan), and Elephantine and Abydos (Egypt). The project’s team members come from Germany, Austria, Italy, India, the UK and the US. These include Egyptologists, archaeologists, prehistorians and geoarchaeologists, together with external international experts – all of whom focus on creating a better understanding of daily life in the 2nd Millennium BC.
Sai Island, the prime example for settlement policy of New Kingdom Egypt in Upper Nubia, is the focus site of this archaeology project.
The main hypothesis that has to be tested within the framework of AcrossBorders is whether the settlement can be evaluated as an Egyptian microcosm, despite its location outside of Egypt and its specific topographical, environmental and cultural situation.
A detailed comparison of the material culture, archaeological data and architecture of Sai and two contemporary major settlement sites in Elephantine and Abydos promises rich information about ancient ways of creating a “home away from home”. New insights on the lifestyle, the living conditions, co-existence and the merging of cultures in 2nd Millennium BCE Egypt and Nubia are to be expected.
The fourth fieldwork season – working in all sectors within the New Kingdom town – was successfully closed on Sai in March 2016. The last field season of AcrossBorders, yielding the important new discovery of the burial of the master of goldworkers, Khnummose, was conducted from January to March 2017.