Excavation and Restoration Project at the Archaeological Site of Oxyrhynchus (El-Bahnasa), Egypt

 

El Próximo domingo 18 de marzo de 2018, la Universidad de Barcelona, inicia una nueva campaña de excavación en el yacimiento arqueológico de Oxirrinco (El-Banhasa), Egipto, que finalizará el 10 de marzo. Esta campaña será algo más corta de lo habitual, pero habrá una segunda fase en el próximo otoño.

Como miembro de esta Misión Arqueológica, la Dra. Esther Pons Mellado, Conservadora del Dpto. de Antigüedades egipcias y Oriente Próximo, formará parte de dicha campaña.

 

Photo of the site area. Photograph by Thomas Sagory

The Archaeological Site of Oxyrhynchus (El-Bahnasa), Per-Medyed in Ancient Egyptian, is located 190 km south of Cairo. During the Late Period it was the capital of the 19th nome of Upper Egypt and a city of considerable importance, given its strategic geographic situation and river port on the Bahr Yusuf canal, a branch of the Nile.

This is one of the largest archaeological sites in Egypt, and is currently divided into three vast sectors.

The northwest necropolis, which spans the centuries from the Saite period to the Christian-Byzantine era.

The Saite period tombs, built with large stone blocks and vaulted ceilings, have yielded numerous funerary artefacts: stone sarcophagi, canopic jars, shabtis, amulets, pottery vessels, bronze sculptures, etc., as well as inscriptions and paintings on the walls.

In the Roman tombs, which present similar characteristics but are made of smaller blocks, archaeologists have found sarcophagi, wall paintings and reliefs, and numerous mummies, many with cartonnage alluding to Egyptian deities. 

In 2012 season we found, in the area of the Roman tombs, a votive deposit of almost 7,000 oxyrhynchus fishes with different size and half of them were mummified and wrapped with clothes This deposited is dated between the Post-Saite Period and before the Roman Period.

The Osireion, a stone sanctuary/underground necropolis from the Ptolemaic period dedicated to the god Osiris. Inside this structure, archaeologists found a large recumbent sculpture of Osiris made of stone and numerous objects related to his cult: small boxes, bread loaves, offering tables, sculptures of Osiris, etc. In recent years, important work has been done to restore both the stone tombs and the mural paintings.

Finally, also we have an stone monumental building from the Christiane-Byzantine Period with a large avenue with huge slabs, many column bases, fustes, Corinthian capitals and a subterranean crypt with texts and painting decoration with images, and vegetables and geometrical motives, as well as another smaller stone religious building of the same period. 

Interior of the Osireion with the recumbent statue of Osiris

The excavation of both buildings are not finished.

 

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