Excavations

More than 300 fieldwork missions to Egypt were led by British teams between 1880 and 1980. The pages in this section provide an overview of the work. 

  • History of the British Excavations: many different British organisations managed fieldwork in Egypt. This page lists these different bodies and their history.
  • Site Guides: these pages give an overview of general character of the sites. Sometimes a single site may be excavated by different teams over the course of many years, so for information on which bit of the site was worked on in a particular year (or 'season') then follow the links on the right hand side of the page to see 'Excavation Season'
  • Excavation Season: these pages are organised by year. Usually a 'season' of work was conducted during the cooler winter months between October/November through to March/April. 

Note on the naming of sites

One of the particular challenges in dealing with excavations in Egypt is the variant spellings of sites.

Names might be assigned to a site on a number of criteria:

  • assumed to match a place mentioned in  Biblical or Classical texts
    • E.g. Tell el-Maskhuta was incorrectly identified by E.E.F. excavator Edouard Naville as Pithom in 1883. Contemporary distribution lists of finds from that excavation refer to ‘Pithom’;
  • derived from transliterations of the hieroglyphic form of ancient place names
    • E.g. Nekhen, where the hawk god Horus was worshipped for Hierakonpolis (Greek ‘city of the hawk’);
  • taken from the modern Arabic name ascribed to the area or the nearest topographical feature by the local population. The Arabic definite article el-/al- might or might not be included. Some topographical features are so common that there are several sites with the same name
    • E.g. Kom el-Ahmar ‘the red mound’, found in both the south at Hierakonpolis and north of Egypt at Hebenu (Minya district);
  • transcribed from local oral testimony
    • E.g. Kahun for Lahun (see below)
  • attributed by modern geographers, which is further complicated by the varying transliteration of one script/language to another, such as Arabic into European languages (e.g. endings –eh, -ah, -a).

As a result, the same physical place can bear a huge variety of names and name forms depending on who published the site and when, with the same site being named differently in published reports, archives, and on museum labels. Different areas of a single large site can be given different names. For different names see the Site Guides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSAE excavations at Memphis 1908.