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The Predynastic village near Hemamieh

Start of excavation: 8th February 1924 by Caton-Thompson
Test excavation: 1989 (Holmes 1996: 185-187)

Remains of a settlement, about 2 m high accumulated settlement rubbish, the area excavated is about 20 x 30 m.

Dating in Sequence Date: already in Badarian Period and Naqada 35-40, fallen completely in disuse: 50. The excavation of Holmes showed that the site was in use till Naqada II (Holmes 1996: 186)

The huts are quite small, only about 2 m in diameter. In one hut animal excrement was found. Therefore it is now generally thought that they are animal huts (Hendrickx/Vermeersch 2000: 42).

The methods of excavations:

The site is one of the first sites in Egypt excavated in levels. Caton-Thompson was responsible for the work on the site.
She described her method as follows:
" Before methodical excavation began the site was fixed by plane table, levelled and contoured (zero datum being a point at the edge of cultivation), and bases were established at four corners and a four intermediate points. The area pegged off for the first investigation lay near the base of the south-east corner. This area 60 x 35 ft. was then subdivided into strips 10 ft. wide, which gave convenient elbowroom for three men working abreast with their basket-boys, as many as it seemed wise to employ that first season in view of the very detailed nature of the work proposed and the incessant personal vigilance required. The strips, 35ft. long and 10 ft. wide, were next pegged off along their length at 5-ft. intervals, and then cleared horizontally, about 6 ins. of clearance being effected over the entire surface, unless specific circumstances dictated otherwise, by gentle combing motion of the three tuiryehs, before the next 6 ins. vertical was begun; and so on until bottom was reached. ... Each man threw out the rough sherds, too abundant to be more than collectively dealt with, into a basket, the contents of these when full being emptied into heaps marked with their respective level. From these, a selection of typical rims from each level was finally kept only."

Her main aim was to find out the relationship of the Badarian culture to the Naqada culture. The results are clear. The Badarian levels are the lowest, while the Naqada culture was found in the level above it.


Brunton/Caton-Thompson 1928: 69-80 (general description), 82-88 (on the huts found), 88-91 (later burials), 91-94 (animal burials), 94-116 (list and description of the finds), pl. LXII, LXIII (plan of the excavated site), pl. LXIV (section of the excavated site), pl. LXV-LXIX (photos from the site), pl. LXX-LXXVII (photos of the finds).


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