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.