21

Jan

Northern California: Recent Work at Memphis and the Fayum: An Overview of Methodologies and Results

Registration is Required

Presented by: Didi El-Behaedi; Egyptian Archaeology PhD candidate at the University of Chicago

  • 3:00 PM PT Northern California
  • Zoom
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Lecture Information

This lecture will present an overview of two cases studies, Memphis and the Fayum, to illustrate different methodologies of site exploration in Egypt. Memphis, the first capital of unified Egypt and one of the ancient world’s most recognizable cities, continues to be an enigma in the present day. Located at the confluence of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, Memphis’ strategic placement evoked the symbolic and geographic union of a once fragmented country. Despite its profound historical significance over more than 3,000 years, very little is known about the city itself. This is especially true for the area of Kom el-Fakhry, which houses the oldest in-situ remains found at Memphis so far. A preview of the results from the 2023 excavation season conducted at Kom el-Fakhry will be presented.

The Fayum, a natural depression located 100 km southwest of Cairo, is bounded by the Sahara Desert except for in the east, where a branch of the Nile River once fed its massive freshwater lake, Lake Moeris. For thousands of years, anthropic activity in the form of settlements, religious centers, harbors, and quarry sites continued in the Fayum, along the very shores of Lake Moeris. However, starting in the Holocene epoch, changing environmental and climatic conditions caused fluctuations of floodwaters from the Nile, which in turn caused drastic instabilities in the lake’s water level. The present work attempts to understand how the ancient Egyptians adapted to the shrinking lake from the Neolithic to Ptolemaic period, using cutting-edge satellite remote sensing, GIS, and geophysical techniques.

Speaker Bio

Didi El-Behaedi is an Egyptian Archaeology PhD candidate at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic Explorer. Her research interests include understanding ancient Egyptian settlement patterns and ancient landscapes through the lens of remote sensing, GIS, and 3D modeling. Didi is the co-director of the Memphis-Kom el-Fakhry Archaeological Project (MKAP) and has conducted archaeological fieldwork at several other sites in Egypt, including Tell Edfu, Deir el-Bahri, Asasif, and Hermopolis. She has also previously served as a research consultant at NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.