Exciting news – new archaeological project in Sudan starts

I am very proud to announce that fieldwork in my new concession in Sudan will commence next week! Based on the results of the AcrossBorders project, NCAM very kindly offered me a new concession area in northern Sudan. I chose to stay within the general area of Abri and thus we decided on the strip along the Nile between Attab and Ferka.

Location of new concession area in Sudan

Exciting new perspectives

The new Munich University Attab to Ferka Survey Project (MUAFS) will start with a survey of the general area, which can be regarded as “periphery” to two of the main Egyptian centers of the region, to Amara West and Sai Island. We were able to plan our work extensively because the area was already surveyed and published by André Vila in the 1970s, resulting in the discovery of rich multi-period sites comprising both settlement and funerary remains (from Paleolithic to Medieval times). All of these sites need to be revisited and in particular checked in regards of dating. In the future, we will conduct excavations at selected sites, resulting without doubts in fresh data for the long dureé approach of the project.

The new project is again hosted by the LMU Munich and is funded by LMU Munich‘s Institutional Strategy LMUexcellent within the framework of the German Excellence Initiative and the Adele Hartmann Programme for Julia Budka. I am very much looking forward to this exciting new tasks and I am very grateful that many of the commendable team members of AcrossBorders also joined me for MUAFS – this continuity will enable us to work most efficiently from the start.

Those of you who followed the progress of the AcrossBorders project over the years – again many many thanks for your interest! and please check out our work within the MUAFS project via the new blog which is now live. We will be posting news from the field, starting with next week.

Logo of the new MUAFS project


Vila, André, La prospection archéologique de la Vallée du Nil, au Sud de la Cataracte de Dal (Nubie Soudanaise), Paris 1976-1977 (for our concession: volumes 3-6).

Sai during the 19th Dynasty: a brief update and outlook

A remarkable object, SAV 002, of possible 19th Dynasty date from Sai Island was already discussed in this blog – it seems to present some kind of door sealing with a cartouche stamp of [Men]-maat-Ra (Seti I), finding close parallels at Amara West.

In a paper just published in Egitto et Vincino Oriente 37, 2014 (Budka 2015), I stated in relation to this piece: “Future fieldwork might allow a better understanding of the relations between Sai and Amara West in the early Ramesside period – SAV 002 and its parallels from Amara West can be regarded as important hints for contemporaneous administrative activities at both sites.”

Writing this back in summer 2014, I was of course not expecting to see this hope for further evidence coming true already in the very next season!

Although we are far away from understanding the complete picture, the 2015 field season provided multiple proof for the presence of early Ramesside officials and corresponding activities on Sai:

1)      At SAV1 West, a back-filling in the Northeastern corner of Square 1 could be dated to the early 19th Dynasty. It covers the remains of a small oven room where several phases of use were documented. Obviously the room was built during the mid-18th Dynasty and in use until the late 18th Dynasty – the Ramesside material implies a possible abandonment of the structure.

2)      Scattered ceramics datable to the Ramesside period were also found at SAV1 East – in disturbed contexts above Building A.

3)      Finally, SAC5 has yielded both worked stones and ceramics datable to the 19th Dynasty. Two new inscribed monuments of the jdnw n Kush Hornakht are especially relevant – this high official was active during the reign of Ramesses II, well attested by monuments found especially in Abri and Sai.

The new finds allow us to tentatively assume that the stela set up by Seti I on Sai which was discovered during the early French excavations (Vercoutter 1972; el-Saady 2011), is much more than random evidence, but actually reflects the ongoing importance of Sai as (some kind of) Egyptian administrative centre. Field research in both Sai and Amara West will continue to provide more and more pieces to reconstruct this complex puzzle.


Budka 2015 = J. Budka, The New Kingdom in Nubia: New results from current excavations on Sai Island, Egitto e Vicino Oriente 37, 2014 [2015], 55-87.

el-Saady 2011 = H. el-Saady, Egypt in Nubia during the Reign of Seti I, in M. Collier, S. Snape (ed.), Ramesside Studies in Honour of K.A. Kitchen, Bolton 2011, 433-437.

Vercoutter 1972 = J. Vercoutter, Une campagne militaire de Séti en Haute Nubie. Stèle de Saï S. 579, «Revue d’Égyptologie» 24, 1972, 201-208.