François Leclère (PSL Research University Paris / EPHE Sciences religieuses, EA 4519 – Égypte ancienne : archéologie, langue religion)
How Eveha Participates
The new research programme launched by the Mission française des fouilles de Tanis in 2014 continued in spring 2015. Éveha International’s participation once again consisted of topographical survey (Sébastien Poudroux) and core sampling (Thierry Gonon). – The topographical survey brief this season involved accompanying the other types of survey: setting up grids and axes on the tell and surrounding fields, for use by geophysical, pottery and geoarchaeological surveys, and the georeferencing of the results. Measurements taken on water gauges still in place on the edge of the Bahr Saft, the main canal crossing the modern town of San el-Hagar, enabled the consistency and accuracy of altitudes measured using the GPS. To date, the absence of an Egyptian geoid model has required us to calculate coordinates using the EGM2008 world geoid model. Testing of georeferencing and rectification of old kite aerial photographs in the area around the temple of Mut has yielded encouraging results, suggesting that survey of entire areas of the site may be possible through photogrammetry. Series of measurements were also carried out in order to update the site plan with contour lines, as the topography has evolved noticeably since the document was first produced in 1984-85, in particular on the northern and western edges of the tell (new roads, protective fences, antique shops, etc). – In 2014, core sampling was carried out using a hand auger, along a transect which ran north-south across the tell. A second transect was sampled in 2015, this time from west to east across the whole site, crossing the northern part of the sacred precinct of Amun and the high hills known as the Gharib San. As in the previous survey, the profile of the natural, sandy subsoil (gezira) was observed beneath the archaeological layers. Combining the coring results with the profile of the current surface of the tell enabled us to reconstruct a basic section of the tell. Outside the zone around the temple of Amun, where the slightly higher surface of the gezira is partly disturbed by substantial construction and old excavations, this section revealed the likely presence of ancient stretches of water from east to west. It also confirmed that the high Gharib San hills are made up of exclusively anthropic layers, to a height of more than 20m, illustrating the density and continuity of population in this zone throughout the town’s long history. – Similar core sampling was also carried out in the low area of the site to the north of the sacred area of Amun and to the east of the Gharib San hills, as well as in the nearby fields to the east and south-east. These were solely for geomorphological analysis, and they confirmed the existence of several ancient hydrographic features (lagoon, river channels). – The pottery survey begun in 2014 in the central zone of the tell was extended to include all of the area previously covered by magnetic survey. The dates proposed for the various sectors of the town detected by the geophysics were thus confirmed. New groups of potters’ workshops were also identified. – Regarding epigraphy and Egyptology, the palaeographic analysis of the inscriptions in the tomb of king Shoshenq III was finished. Meanwhile, the study of the blocks from the private Twenty-first Dynasty tombs, which were reused in this monument, is nearing completion. Various other monuments, blocks and statue fragments from the Third Intermediate Period were also studied, in light of work being carried out on the site reserves and the Museum of Cairo.