Unraveling a story of ancient cities

excavation at an Egyptian site.

Egyptian archaeologist shares discoveries on the development of two ancient urban centers Feb. 28 at UWL

Nadine Moeller, associate professor of Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Chicago, will give a public lecture on the development of two early urban centers in Egypt during the third millennium BCE.

The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Hesprich Auditorium in UW-La Crosse’s Graff Main Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Geomorphological and archaeological data from fieldwork conducted at the ancient cities of Tell Edfu and Dendara provide new insights into the evolving landscape of the dynamic floodplain and its influence on the long-term development of these early urban centers.

The two centers are particularly interesting because this time frame corresponds to a politically troubled period that led to a fragmented state with several power centers. However, from an urban perspective, cities in southern Egypt appear to have seen a phase of expansion during this time. This presentation will also examine the layout and organization of the respective town quarters at Edfu and Dendara.

At both sites it has been possible to excavate specific areas of the settlement that had been founded directly on the natural sand and bedrock during the late Old Kingdom.

Background on Edfu
At Edfu it is now know that the Old Kingdom town gradually expanded westward. This expansion made the best use of the flood-free zone, which can be seen by the newly-excavated settlement quarter dating to the Fifth Dynasty, being situated in close proximity to the much later Ptolemaic temple. Further expansion of the town occurred during the end of the Old Kingdom/early First Intermediate Period — a time that has typically been associated with political and economic crises that might have been triggered by a short term climate change. By this time the town had reached its maximum northern and western limit, which remained relatively stable for centuries to come.

Background on Dendara
The ancient city Dendara also saw a major expansion at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE to the east of the temple enclosure during the First Intermediate Period. The new fieldwork conducted at the site offers a glimpse of the organization of this new town quarter in a previously unsettled area.

If you go —

Who: Nadine Moeller, associate professor of Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Chicago
What: Public lecture on the development of two early urban centers in upper Egypt during the third millennium BCE.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28
Where: Hesprich Auditorium, UWL’s Graff Main Hall, 1725 State St., La Crosse.
Admission: Free