New discovery of important archaeological artifacts from shallow seismic observations at the ancient hierakonpolis temple-town site in upper Egypt

Shelton S. Alexander, Elizabeth Walters, Recep Cakir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Prominent high-velocity, high-frequency signals from very shallow depths were observed along some of the numerous seismic refraction profiles run within the perimeter wall of the ancient Hierakonpolis Temple-Town in Upper Egypt. These anomalies are characterized by laterally continuous high-frequency (200-300 Hz) arrivals with velocities comparable to or exceeding the deeper water table refraction velocities. These anomalous zones are imbedded in the 1 to1.5 m-thick upper layer of unconsolidated, air-filled sediments that have extremely low velocities and very low Q. The considerable spatial extent of these shallow anomalous zones was determined from sets of crossing refraction profiles. Subsequent excavations (2001, 2005-6) at two locations in the western portion of the site revealed the presence of a zone of closely spaced artifacts (dense in potsherds and stone fragments) that revealed new evidence of occupation in the ancient town as early as Dynasty I, c. 3200 BCE. In the northwest excavation an 'in situ' deposit of special pottery lay next to a bench, a large block of dressed limestone. Further to the north, layered occupation suggests a secular context with pottery of Dynasty II, 2900 BCE and a new early date, terminus ante quem, for the accompanying figurines, thus far exclusive to two temple sites in southern Egypt. Further excavations of the mapped anomalous zones are expected to provide many additional artifacts not previously found at the site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironmental and Engineering Geophysical Society - 21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008
Pages813-827
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008 - Philadelphia, PA, United States
Duration: Apr 6 2008Apr 10 2008

Publication series

NameEnvironmental and Engineering Geophysical Society - 21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008
Volume2

Other

Other21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008
CountryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia, PA
Period4/6/084/10/08

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Environmental Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Alexander, S. S., Walters, E., & Cakir, R. (2008). New discovery of important archaeological artifacts from shallow seismic observations at the ancient hierakonpolis temple-town site in upper Egypt. In Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society - 21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008 (pp. 813-827). (Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society - 21st Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008; Vol. 2).