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Where Dogs, Jackals, and Princes Rest

Scientists from Freie Universität to Study Ancient Egyptian Necropolis Asyut – Expedition Starts on August 14, 2010

№ 258/2010 from Aug 10, 2010

Scientists from Freie Universität will depart August 14 on an archaeological research expedition in Egypt. Their objective is the documentation and interpretation of the ancient Egyptian burial site of Asyut. The long-term international research project has been funded since 2003 by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The DFG has now extended the funding period for an additional three years and roughly 700,000 euros. Up to now, the project was located at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. With the appointment of the excavation director, Professor Dr. Jochem Kahl, to the Institute of Egyptology at Freie Universität, the project will now be managed equally by the two universities. Asyut is considered particularly important for the cultural heritage of ancient Egypt.

In the rock necropolis on the edge of today’s provincial capital, there are still monumental princes’ tombs with inscriptions and decorations from the period 2100–1900 BCE as well as visitors’ graffiti formed around 1500–1200 BCE. The work in the Tomb of the Dogs promises to be exciting. It is a widely branched burial complex dating from the late first millennium BCE. Dogs, jackals, and other animals associated with the locally revered gods in canine form, Wepwawet (Upuaut) and Anubis, were placed there.

For two months, 26 scientists and students from various disciplines and about 80 local excavation workers, inspectors, and conservators from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities will explore the legacy from the end of the third millennium BCE to Coptic and Islamic times. The research in this international project, which also involves scientists from Japan and Poland, has been taking place since the beginning of 2003 in close cooperation with the Egyptian University of Sohag. Besides Egyptologists and archaeologists, the research team also includes architects and visual artists as well as zoo archaeologists, physical anthropologists, geologists, botanists, and Islamic studies scholars.

The overall objective of the project, in addition to its being the first comprehensive scientific investigation and documentation of the archaeological evidence of Asyut, is to study the necropolis mountain Gebel Asyut al-gharbi in its temporal and qualitative continuity over several millennia.

Further Information

  • Prof. Dr. Jochem Kahl, Institute of Egyptology, Freie Universität Berlin
    Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-56784, Email:
  • Prof. Dr. Ursula Verhoeven-van Elsbergen, Institute of Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
    Tel. (Ofc., Direct): +49 (0)6131 / 39-25005
    Tel. (Ofc.): +49 (0)6131 / 39-22438, Email:

Link to further details: