Hello and let us introduce ourselves: we are Dr Lawrence Owens and Dr Geoffrey Tassie, and we are the directors of an archaeology rescue project in the Egyptian Delta. Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD) is one of the most important ancient sites in Egypt, and contains hundreds of burials from the earliest period of Egyptian history, right the way through to the Romans. Only a portion of the original site is left, but is now being encroached upon by rising water levels and building works; the ancient mummies and skeletons will be destroyed unless we act now. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has given us permission to rescue what we can while we can. This is our last chance to rescue vital data from the site, so we have to take urgent action.
￼￼￼The Egyptian Delta Why is KHD Important?
Before the age of the pyramids, there was a period called the Predynastic, an age before writing, or ‘Egyptian’ society as we would recognise it. The last ruler of the Predynastic was a king called Narmer who unified the country 5100 years ago. Egyptologists get incredibly excited about this phase, and KHD is one of the few sites where burials from this crucial moment can be found. Many other, later burials are also to be found here, spanning the entire dynastic period right up to the Greek and Roman invasions 3000 years later. It will therefore be possible to look at the bones and mummies from these burials, and understand how people changed and adapted through time.
￼￼￼Excavations at KHD in the 1990s
Who are we? Lawrence is a physical anthropologist and bioarchaeologist (B.A. [Hons. Dunelm], M.Sc. [Liv.], Ph.D. [Lond.]), who specialises in the understanding of ancient people from their bones. He teaches in London, is a researcher at the UNISA (University of South Africa) and has worked on archaeological sites in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas since 1992. Geoffrey is an Egyptologist and Egyptian archaeologist (B.A. [Hons.], M.A., Ph.D. [Lond.]), who teaches in Winchester and currently works as a curator in Egypt. He has worked in Egyptian archaeology for almost thirty years. We both work under the charity ECHO (the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation), though which this project will be organised. We have all the permissions and clearances, and a team of specialists, British volunteers and Egyptian workers standing by; all we need is the money to proceed, and this is where you come in
What do we need?
We need £12,000 ($15,706), to pay a team of local workers, to fly four colleagues in from London and the US, and eight site managers up from Luxor, survey services, and to provide excavation gear, food and other supplies for the season; neither of us receive any salary for doing this work. The activities will include the mapping, photography, excavation and storage of every burial we can get to in time; this is really a rescue project. The physical anthropologists will then analyse what they can during the season, and store what cannot be assessed until a later date.
Excavations at KHD in the 1990s What do you get?
No donation is too small! Every little will help towards getting this project started. So far the smallest donation we have is £1, which was given to me in person by a 7-year-old! You are then welcome to follow the project as it develops on this page and other links that will soon become available. However, if you’re feeling generous we have developed what I believe to be a unique reward system for those of you who donate £50 ($65) or more, giving you the chance to ‘adopt’ your own ancient mummy or skeleton.
Option 1 £50 ($65)
You will receive a thank you card, and a professional 6”x4” photo of your burial.
Option 2 £100 ($125)
You will receive a thank you card, a professional 8”x10” photo of your burial, and an illustrated report on your burial’s characteristics.
Option 3 £200 ($250)
You will receive a thank you card, three professional 8”x10” photos of your burial and excavation highlights, and an extended site report focusing on your burial. In addition you will be issued with a illustrated, personalised ‘adoption’ certificate for your burial, signed by both head archaeologists. You may also specify an adoptive name for your mummy/skeleton, which will be noted on the certificate along with your name/s.
Option 4 £785 ($1000)
You will receive a thank you card, an adoption certificate (see above), a folio of five 8x10” professional photos of your burial and excavation highlights, and a copy of a privately-commissioned, fully-bound photobook/field-diary of the excavation, individually hand-dedicated, hand-numbered, and signed by both head archaeologists. Your name will also be listed on the project website/blog, and as an acknowledgement in the final publication. We hope you can help! http://e-c-h-o.org
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