Walls of the Ruler

Fortifications, Police Beats, and Military Checkpoints
in Ancient Egypt

University of Wales Swansea International Conference: May 22-25, 2006
Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology, and the
Centre for Egyptology and Mediterranean Archaeology (CEMA)

in collaboration with the Callaghan Centre for Conflict Studies


1. ABD EL-MAKSOUD, Mohammed
Position/title: Dr., Director of the Eastern Delta and Sinai, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt.
Title: Tell Heboua-Tjaru: The Northeastern Gate of Egypt. Recent Excavations of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.
Abstract: Beginning in the 1980s, Dr. Maksoud has directed the Supreme Council of Antiquities' excavations at Tell Heboua and its environs in Northwest Sinai, uncovering diverse evidence on the nature of the occupation from the Second Intermediate Period through New Kingdom.  His work has demonstrated that Tell Heboua is equated with Tjaru of Dynasties 17-20, a massive Egyptian fortification guarding the East Delta and military Way of Horus across North Sinai.  This talk will focus on the recent findings of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt at Tell Heboua-Tjaru.

2. BIETAK, Manfred

Position/title: Professor of Egyptology; Director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Cairo.

Keynote speaker
Title: "Military Stronghold and Discipline Enforcement in the Northeastern Nile Delta"
Abstract: After the conquest of Avaris, the 18th Dynasty Kings immediately started to construct military camps and storage facillities for troops and military enterprises at the western edge of the abandoned town, within a fortified citadel of the Hyksos. The Excavations of cemeteries of soldiers show that Nubian Kerma people were stationed there, probably many of them archers. Specific burials reveal that military discipline was enforced obviously by executions and grim execration rituals. In the Tuthmoside Period, the site was considerably enlarged. The centre became a 10 acre (5.5 ha) palace precinct including also workshops, mainly for military production. South of the palace a whole town started to spread out. This was abandoned entirely after Amenhotep II. It was under Horemheb that the place was used again as a military stronghold. At that time a big fortress was constructed on top of the Tuthmoside ruins.  Reasons will be given in this paper as to why this site should be identified with the naval and military stronghold of Peru-nefer, hitherto localised at Memphis.

3. BOS, Jolanda


Topic: "Crowd control in ancient Egypt"
Abstract: The paper concentrates upon police batons, their properties and usage in pharaonic Egypt as well as the implications of their usage on developments in the New Kingdom police/military. The focus from which this study has been conducted is the depictions in the tomb of Horemheb in Saqqara. However, it also incorporates representations of similar shaped police batons throughout the New Kingdom.

4. FRANCE, John

Position/title: Professor of Medieval History; University of Wales Swansea, UK.

Title: "Fortifications East and West in the Age of the Crusades"

When western scholars first rediscovered the great crusader fortifications of the Holy Lands they were deeply impressed by their strength and their advanced nature, as compared to the castles and fortified cities which they knew in the West. There was, therefore, a tendency to assume that contact with the ancient civilization of Byzantium, or with the wealthy centres of Islam. Moreover, it has often been observed that in the course of the twelfth century European fortifications became more and more complex, and here seemed to be a natural explanation - that the knowledge and skills of the East had been transmitted to the West. A whole series of Frenchmen, like Rey and later Deschamps, were thus inspired to a scholarly interest in crusader fortifications(1). Their judgements were formed, however, on the basis of the most spectacular examples, most notably Crac des Chevaliers and until Deschamps had completed his remarkable work the general context of crusader fortifications was not fully appreciated. Moreover, as western historians became more aware of the debt which their civilization owed to Islam this notion of a superior eastern tradition was strongly reinforced. Thus despite some strong dissenting views, notably those of Oman and T.E.Lawrence, the idea of an eastern origin for crusader, and by extension western fortification building has continued to have currency, and specialists have not discussed it very much(2). Recent archaeological investigation has shown how atypical great fortresses were and revealed the essential ordinariness of most crusader castles, though from the 1160s these tended to become more formidable, especially in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Moreover it was noticed that castles were relatively rare amongst Islamic fortifications and that other peoples, like the Armenians, had a tradition of their own. This did not end the possibility that specialised aspects, like box machicolations, were the result of inter-cultural exchange.

This paper suggests that, as intercultural exchange was rare in the crusader states, we cannot look to this as the source of the similarities between Islamic, Byzantine and Crusade fortifications. Moreover, dependency fails to recognize the scale and degree of western innovation or Islamic diversity. It would seem we are in the presence of two separate traditions, both derived from Roman originals.

Fn.1:  G.Rey, Etudes sur les monuments de l'architecture militaire des croisés en Syrie et dans l'île de Chypre (Paris : Imprimerie nationale, 1871) ; P.Deschamps, Les Châteaux des Croisés en Terre Sainte 3 vols (Paris: Geuthner, 1934-73).

Fn.2:  C.Oman, History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages 2 vols (Revised by J.Beeler, New York: Cornell University Press, 1953); T.E.Lawrence, Crusader Castles (London: Haag, 1986), 118.

5. GILBERT, Gregory Phillip
Position/title: Reader, Royal Australian Navy Sea Power Centre -Australia, and
Research Associate, Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, UK.
Title: "The Wooden Walls: the Maritime Protection of Ancient Egypt"

Abstract: Much has been written about the protection of Ancient Egypt’s land frontiers, however it may be argued that a maritime defence strategy also applied throughout much of Egypt’s past. By assessing the evidence for naval forces, seaborne trade, fortifications and harbours it is possible to reconstruct some aspects of Egypt’s maritime defences, (its ‘Wooden Walls’). In addition, an understanding of modern maritime tasks may help identify sources of new archaeological evidence or at least explain why such evidence has not survived.

6. GILL, David
Position/title: Senior Lecturer in Greek Archaeology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "Greeks on the eastern frontier: reassessing the pottery from Tell Defenneh"
Abstract: The archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Late Period fort at Tell Defenneh was established during the reign of Psamtik I. The historical tradition of Herodotus places the transfer of Greek mercenaries to Memphis not long after Ahmose II (Amasis) had come to power, perhaps around 565. Petrie’s excavations at the site of Tell Defenneh uncovered significant quantities of East Greek pottery which has traditionally been dated as late as 530. This paper will reassess this pottery against other imported East Greek material in Egypt and Cyrenaica to see if the sherds from Tell Defenneh suggest links with Ionia. Moreover the absolute chronological framework for the pottery will be re-examined to attempt to explain the apparent contradiction of Herodotus by the archaeological evidence.

7. GRATIEN, Brigitte and AZIM, Michel
Position/title: Brigette Gratien: Director of the Egyptological Research Center at Lille III University-CNRS, Researcher at CNRS, France.
Michel Azim: Architect and archaeologist at CNRS, France.
Title: "Mirgissa Fortress during the Middle and New Kingdom" (Michel Azim et Brigitte Gratien, CNRS)
Abstract: Mirgissa, the Egyptian Iqen, was one of the largest sites on the Egyptian Southern border. It was probably built during the reign of Senwosert II, on an original plan, and was considerably transformed during the New Kingdom. It includes the fortress itself, a lower town and a civilian town, as well as outposts, a harbour, cemeteries… During the Middle Kingdom, the fortress included representatives of the most important of the Egyptian institutions and became a major exchange place with the southern countries. The architectural evolution of the fortress, during Middle and New Kingdom, under publication, will be presented, as well as the organization of the site and its place inside the military and the administrative system that the Egyptians set up on the second cataract, in front of the Kingdom of Kush.

8. GRAVES-BROWN, Carolyn
Position/Title: Curator, Egypt Centre, University of Wales Swansea

Title: “Flints and Forts”

Abstract: In 1971, Andre Vila, wrote a report on the flint tools found at the fort of Mirgissa. From this it was clear that the flint tools were both unusual in terms of general Egyptian artefacts but could also explain something of the military tactics used by the Egyptian militia. This paper will revisit Vila’s findings in the light of more recent studies being published of Egyptian lithics. Can, anything more be said concerning flint tools found in Egyptian military bases, what do they tell about the lives of those occupying the forts and about Egyptian lithic items more generally?

9. HEAGREN, Brett
Position/title: Doctoral candidate; University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Title: "A Tactical Analysis of Select New Kingdom Siege Scenes"

Abstract: By the time of the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army was without doubt an efficient fighting force. Certain scholars however claim that this new found professionalism did not extend into the area of siege craft, and that the Egyptians were as a result quite deficient in this respect. However, through careful analysis of a number of key siege scenes, we see that the opposite is true. This paper will argue that the Egyptians did indeed possess the high level of tactical skills that were required to conquer sizable fortified targets.

10. HOFFMEIER, James K.
Position/title: Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology; Trinity International University, USA.
Title: "The Contribution of Tell el-Borg to Understanding Egypt’s Eastern Frontier’s Defense System in the New Kingdom"

Abstract: The archaeological work of Eliezer Oren in the 1970s to early 1980s, followed by the excavations of Mohamad Abd el-Maksoud of the Surpreme Council for Antiquities at Tell Hebua, have advanced our knowledge of New Kingdom fortifications across North Sinai. To these endeavours, we can now add the investigations of the East Frontier Archaeological project, which commenced in 1994 with archaeological surveys and geo-morphological work. Our survey and excavations at Tell el-Borg, North Sinai, since 1999 have shed new light on the east frontier defense system during the New Kingdom. Our geological work has provided a remarkable picture of the paleo-environment of the region, resulting in understanding the strategic locations of the forts, and the route of the military highway between Egypt and Canaan.

At Tell el-Borg the scant remains of two New Kingdom forts have been uncovered. The earlier one appears to have been constructed during the mid-15th century and continued in use till the end of the 18th Dynasty, while the second one apparently replaced the former with little or no occupational gap between the two. The second, or Ramesside period, fort appears to have functioned until the 20th Dynasty when the fort apparently was destroyed and never rebuilt. As a consequence of these discoveries, it is clear that this site was constructed at a critical defensive point on the approach to Tjaru/Sile (Hebua), just 5 kilometers to the NE.

Its proximity to Tjaru/Sile has forced us to rethink the view that the forts of North Sinai on the military highway or "Ways of Horus," was a supply line with forts stationed a day’s march apart. As will be argued, the placement of the forts in the western sector is based on strategic defensive entry points into Egypt.

* HOLLADAY Jr., John - CANCELLED (To appear in conference publication)
Position/title: Professor Emeritus, Archaeology of Syria-Palestine; University of Toronto, Canada.
Title: "Tell el-Maskhuta: A Fortified Border Site of the late Seventh through Second Centuries B.C."
Abstract: Initially built (ca. 609-605 B.C.) as an unfortified entrepot, featuring a large Amon temple, on Necho II’s sea-level canal linking the Nile with the Red Sea via the Bitter Lakes, this site was hurriedly converted into a large, heavily walled military fortress which almost immediately bore the brunt of two Babylonian invasions (601 and 586 B.C.), followed by the Persian conquest (ca. 525 B.C.) of the, by now, thriving mercantile townsite (minimally, Judaean and Phoenician resident traders and service-providers), and, presumably, a Persian reconquest following the popular revolt (ca. 487-486 B.C.) late in the reign of Darius the Great. The final rebuild of the fortifications served at least until the late 2nd century B.C., and probably through the early Roman Period, although there is evidence of a sappers’ tunnel during the second century (?) B.C.. Given that roughly 15% of the entire fortified site was excavated, its fortification walls, organizational layout and local industries through time, coupled with later massive storage facilities, arguably serves as a model for reconstructing and interpreting other border sites such as Daphnae, serving a similar function further north on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. (Ref.: Holladay, J.S., Jr. 1982: Cities of the Delta, Part III: Tell el-Maskhuta: Preliminary Report on the Wadi Tumilat Project 1978-1979. Malibu CA: Undena Publications.)

11. KAPLAN, Philip

Position/title: Assistant Professor of History; University of North Florida, USA.

Title: "Sojourner in the Land: A Comparative Perspective on the Resident Alien in Late Period Egypt"
Abstract: In Egypt in the first millennium, as in other lands in the Eastern Mediterranean, communities of foreigners became increasingly common. These communities played important roles, in particular as craftsmen, traders and mercenaries. At the same time, they posed challenges to their host societies, inasmuch as they did not assimilate readily into the dominant culture. Indeed, their status as outsiders was the key to their utility. At the same time, they needed to be accommodated and controlled. What emerges in a number of societies in the Eastern Mediterranean is a legal and social framework for protecting resident aliens, and allowing them to fill their unique roles as agents of cultural exchange. The formal regulations, and informal mores, by which the Egyptians regulated the foreign trading and mercenary communities, are similar in kind to legal and social institutions in other lands, such as the institution of xenia in Greece, and the laws concerning the gçr in Israel. That these institutions should have developed in parallel is hardly surprising; the development of an international set of norms regarding the treatment of resident aliens allowed for these communities to flourish, and facilitated the intercultural exchange that benefited the host societies.

12. LLOYD, Alan
Position/title: Professor of Classics and Ancient History; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "The Defence of Egypt in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries BC"
Abstract: In other periods of Egyptian history a title such as mine would reflect a situation where Egypt was a monolithic kingdom whose defensive needs required the maintenance of existing frontiers and the projection of Egyptian power beyond them. In the period under discussion the situation is more complex. During the fifth century Egypt was usually under Persian control and the defence of the country meant the need to guarantee the territorial integrity of Egypt as a satrapy of the Persian Empire. This need was perceived by the Persians as requiring the maintenance of substantial military and naval resources which were used both for defensive purposes and to supplement imperial armies or fleets on expeditions outside Egypt. Therefore, we find these assets being employed in the Persian assaults on Greece in the 490s and 480s, in defence of Egypt against the Athenians and their allies in the middle of the fifth century, and, no doubt, to put down unrest within Egypt itself. The fourth century sees the Egyptians their own masters once more for some 60 years, and then the major issue is to keep the Persian empire at bay. The strategies which govern this process and the factors determining success and failure are many, various, and surprisingly well documented. In all these operations the Egyptians dispose of significant movable military and naval forces, but we also need to take account of the continued skill of the Egyptians in military architecture and the importance of their fortifications in determining the outcome of operations in the field.

13. MAXFIELD, Valerie A.

Position/title: Professor of Roman Archaeology; University of Exeter, UK
Title: "Security and Defence – the Disposition of the Roman Army in Egypt"
Abstract: The army charged with the internal security and external defence of the Roman province of Egypt was a relatively small one. Its permanent bases, established at a number of critical points on the Nile between Alexandria in the north and Aswan in the south, changed little over the first three centuries of Roman occupation. Their locations are well established through written evidence – literary material, inscriptions and ostraca – but are poorly attested by archaeology. This paper aims to look at the overall complexion of the Roman garrison and the pattern and logic of its distribution. The archaeological evidence will be examined and comparisons made between the situation pertaining in Egypt and that in other frontier areas of the Roman Empire.

14. MORRIS, Ellen
Position/title: Dr.; Lecturer at Columbia University, USA.
Title: "Imperialism and Border Maintenance and Concluding Remarks"
Response to papers: This paper provides an overview and summing up of all the speakers' papers, indicating common themes throughout, advances in our knowledge, and aspects still requiring clarification.

15. MUMFORD, Gregory
Position/title: Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "A newly discovered Old Kingdom fort in el-Markha Plain, South Sinai."
Abstract: The 2004 University of Toronto expedition to el-Markha Plain, South Sinai, began excavations of a stone fort that had been mapped and partly explored during a preliminary season in 2002.  The fort lay 200 metres west of the Red Sea, measured 42 metres in diameter and had 6 metre wide walls, a western entryway and bastion.  The western half of the floor was excavated, yielding a 5 cm to 20 cm thick layer of black soot and organic materials, which contained 495 diagnostic potsherds dating to the Old Kingdom.  These vessels consisted of slow-wheel made, Nile silts and local Sinaitic fabrics that included bread moulds, a spouted vessel, platters, carinated bowls, and large jars.  Some vessels had incised hieroglyphs (e.g., nb t3wy: Lord of the Two Lands).  The floor also yielded nodules of copper and turquoise, copper tools, flint tools, grinding stones, and a variety of other remains: e.g., fish bones, Red Sea mollusks [chitons], Nile mollusks [Aspatharia Rubens], limpets, clam shells, and sea urchins.  The absence of wind-blown sand within the floor layer suggested that the fort had been occupied continuously, while the turquoise and copper nodules linked this site with the known Old Kingdom turquoise and copper mines at Wadis Maghara and Kharig, 25 km to the east.  The evidence to-date suggests that this fort secured a long-term anchorage for Old Kingdom mining expeditions heading inland into South Sinai, while the structure's design augments our knowledge of Old Kingdom military and stone architecture.

16. OREN, Eliezer
Position/title: Professor of Archaeology; Canada Chair in Near Eastern Archaeology, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
Title: "The Administration of the ‘Ways-of-Horus’ Network: An Overview"

Abstract: Historical records of Egypt’s activities on the ‘Ways-of-Horus’ coupled with the results of comprehensive archaeological explorations along the North Sinai corridor enable us now to propose a trustworthy diachronic reconstruction of the complex military and administrative network that was established during the reign of Thutmose III, between the Tjaru gateway on the eastern frontier of Egypt and the Gaza terminus in southern Canaan. Evidently, the 19th Dynasty military system that is portrayed in the Karnak battle reliefs of Seti I was patterned after the earlier network. It is conceivable that in New Kingdom times the toponym ‘Ways-of-Horus’ denoted a distinctive administrative unit or "province", lying between the eastern Nile Delta and Canaan.

The paper will discuss various aspects of Egyptian organizational infrastructure in North Sinai such as the network of military and administrative installations, settlement pattern and hierarchy, local food and water resources, origin of provisions, mechanisms of supply and modes of distribution as well as mobility of military contingents and trade caravans.

17. PARCAK, Sarah
Position/title: Dr.; Tutor/Lecturer in Egyptology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "Settlement patterns, geography, and politics on Egypt’s Frontier."
Abstract: Ancient Egypt's borders changed through time depending on international conflict and imperial expansion. An area which has not received significant attention is an examination of the actual physical and environmental boundaries in ancient Egypt, in particular in the East Delta. These boundaries (i.e., Nile River branches and the ancient coastline) contributed to how Egypt defended itself during times of conflict, and assisted with trade and political expansion in times of peace. This paper will explore Egypt's changing natural boundaries through time using a variety of remotely sensed data. This satellite data has helped to identify numerous known and unknown archaeological sites, surveyed during a 2003 season. The locations of the settlements will be used to help calculate past Nile river branch locations and the ancient coastline, which will be compared with known historical data to reinterpret key moments of conflict in ancient Egypt.

18. POLLARD, Nigel
Position/title: Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Provisional Title: "Military bases, soldiers and society in late antique Egypt"
Abstract: This paper is intended to provide an overview of the late Roman (late 3rd-5th cent. CE) garrison of Egypt along with more detailed study of some particular military establishments (such as the tetrarchic fortress established in the temple of Ammon at Thebes) and consideration of the functions and position of soldiers in Egyptian society, with a particular emphasis on evidence from the so-called Abinnaeus Archive from Dionysias (Qasr Qarun).

19. SCHNEIDER, Thomas
Position/title: Professor of Egyptology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "Did Egypt have a Western Frontier?"
Abstract: In the last few years, the western desert of Egypt has offered to the Egyptological community an amazing range of new archaeological and epigraphical evidence, both in terms of the extension of the Egyptian geographical awareness and activity in the far west (Abu Ballas trail), and of the immediate vicinity of inhabitants of the deserts to the Nile Valley (desert road survey in the Qena bend of the Nile). The paper tries to reassess the question of the linguistic and cultural boundary on the Saharan plateau west of the Nile, and to reflect on the interplay of political dominion and security, trade and economy, and Egyptian and foreign cultures during the 2nd millennium BC.

20. SHAW, Ian
Position/title: Senior Lecturer; University of Liverpool, UK
Title: "Mining and frontier reinforcement: studies of turquoise and amethyst mining settlements as fortified outposts."
Abstract: This paper would examine the settlement remains of the turquoise miners of the Old and Middle Kingdoms at Wadi Maghara and the amethyst miners of the Middle Kingdom at Wadi el-Hudi. Each was located in a potentially dangerous border area, and the combination of settlement remains and rock-cut images and texts present aspects of the Egyptians' pragmatic and ideological responses to the outside world. The paper would provide the opportunity to consider whether Lower Nubia and Sinai represented similar types of liminal zones (from the Egyptian point of view) and to what extent the expeditions were militaristic.

21. SIDEBOTHAM, Steven E.
Position/title: Professor of classical archaeology and ancient history, University of Delaware, USA.
Title: "Numbers, Sizes and Garrisons of Roman Forts in the Eastern Desert of Egypt."
Abstract: This paper will examine the sizes, locations, dates of occupation and estimate garrison strengths of about 80 Roman era forts known in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Based upon these, overall troop numbers stationed in the region in different periods of the Roman occupation will be estimated.

22. SMITH, Stuart Tyson

Position/title: Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
Title: "Egyptian Dominance, Nubian Revival: Cultural Interaction on Egypt’s New
Kingdom Imperial Frontier."
Abstract: Studies of empire often neglect the central role that everyday interactions
of individual agents, colonial and native, play in determining imperial
outcomes.  The material correlates of the Egyptian New Kingdom empire seem
to unambiguously reflect a heavy handed approach dictated from the Egyptian
core, particularly covering the region between the first and third
cataracts.  Egyptian colonists left a series massive fortresses,
temple-towns, and cemeteries full of Egyptian material culture that would
leave us no doubt of Egyptian direct control even without the support of a
rich textual record.  These archaeological and written sources at the
macro-scale have been used to infer the disappearance of Nubian culture
under Egyptian hegemony in the New Kingdom, yet distinctively Nubian
cultural practices with roots before the conquest re-emerge immediately
after the empire’s collapse.  This paper employs an approach that avoids
simple explanations based upon large scale patterning in favor of a focus on
subtle localized shifts in cultural relations between Egyptians and Nubians
in order to better understand the complex interactions that characterized
imperial Egypt’s southern frontier.

23. SNAPE, Stephen
Position/title: Senior Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology, School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, UK.

Title: "Repulsing the Libu? Grand Strategy and Local Tactics at Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham"

Abstract: The site of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham (ZUR), which has been excavated by the University of Liverpool since 1994, is a major fortress-town established close to what is now the city of Mersa Matrouh during the reign of Ramesses II. Material excavated from the site has produced a wealth of information on the specific function of the ZUR and how its substantial garrison was maintained in this most distant outpost of the New Kingdom empire. This paper will discuss the ways in which evidence from ZUR throws light on Egypt's attempts to establish imperial control along the Marmarican coast in response to a changing relationship with the 'Libyans' in the 13th century BC.

24. SPALINGER, Anthony
Position/title: Professor of Egyptology, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Title: "The Iconic Role of the Fortress in the New Kingdom"
Abstract: Following recent developments in Egyptology concerned with mimetic and topoic representations in Pharaonic literature and art this discussion centers on the role of the fortress in New Kingdom battle reliefs.  Specific attention will be given to their iconic purpose (not merely their overt representation) and its connection to the perception of the foreigner in Dynasties 18-20. This topic will therefore not merely cover the pictorial images of fortresses, but aim more precisely on their iconic effects (and affects) within the global perception of New Kingdom ideology.

25. SPENCER, Neal
Position/title: Assistant Keeper (Curator), Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, British Museum, UK.
Title: Kom Firin: more evidence from the Western Delta frontier.
Abstract: Four seasons of survey and excavation have now been undertaken by the British Museum at the extensive settlement mound of Kom Firin, located south-west of Damanhur, on the ancient western limits of the Nile Delta. While the town seems to have been occupied between the Ramesside period and late Antiquity, current research has focused on the south-eastern part of the kom, where geophysical survey and excavation have revealed the presence of a massive fortified enclosure (220x200m, 5m thick walls), surrounding a complex of buildings, including a mud-brick and stone temple of the reign of Ramses II.

Position/title: Lecturer in Egyptology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "Speaking in Parseltongues: Snake Cults and Egyptian Military Bases"
Enemies of Ancient Egypt included those that were incorporeal as well as human, those that crossed the boundaries from the supernatural into the everyday lives of the Egyptians. Objects found within forts and fortifications are the material remains of religious cults and practices that were carried out even at the borders. I will focus on the clay figurines of snakes that form part of a larger context of anthropomorphic, theriomorphic and divine figurines that are being excavated in New Kingdom  fortifications along Egypt's Mediterranean border, from Libya to the Levant. These finds raise important questions regarding the inhabitants of the site, the ritual practitioners, and the craftsmen, as well as providing insights into the migration of beliefs and practices between cultures.

27. THOMAS, Susanna

Position/title: Dr.; Director of fieldwork at Tell Abqa’in, University of Liverpool, UK.
Title: "Recent excavations at Tell Abqa’in"

Abstract: The site of Tell Abqa’in, seventy five km south-east of Alexandria and five km south-east of the modern town of Hosh Isa in the Bahriya Governorate, has long been regarded as one of a chain of forts constructed during the reign of Ramesses II on the edge of the Western Delta. Recent excavations have explored the nature of the settlement, and have begun to suggest the notion of a Ramesside ‘blue print’ for such installations.

28. VILLING, Alexandra
Position/title: Dr.; Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, The British Museum, UK.
Title: "Greeks, Carians and Cypriots in Egypt: new research on the pottery from Naukratis"
Abstract: The Greek trading post of Naukratis in the Nile Delta has for some years been the focus of a research project at the British Museum in collaboration with the Naukratis project at the University of Mainz. Presumably established under Psamtik I by several Greek cities, the site has yielded much material, especially pottery, which confirms the essentially Greek, and especially Ionian, character of the site. However, recent research on the pottery from Naukratis sheds new light on the site and its relations with other Nile Delta sites in the Late Period, its trade connections, and its role in interactions between Greeks and Egyptians, as well as highlighting the site's links with the Cypro-Phoenician world.
29. VOGEL, Carola

Position/title: Dr.; Institut für Ägyptologie und Altorientalistik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany.

Title: "Keeping the Enemy out: The Fortification System of Middle Kingdom Egypt"
Abstract: The unique abundance of archaeological and epigraphic remains belonging to the chain of fortresses situated between the 1st and the 2nd Cataract has left a lasting influence on our understanding of the characteristics of Middle Kingdom fortresses. This multitude of sources on Egypt’s southern border, which had been investigated by teams from various nations in the course of the UNESCO-salvage-campaign, has lead simultaneously to the neglect of the other fortified frontiers, of which we have only scant information. To give a more balanced impression on the state of knowledge about Middle Kingdom fortifications, this paper refers not only to the fortified places of Nubia, but focuses on the border-situations in the North-eastern delta, in the Western desert, and in the Aswan-region as well.

30. WILLIAMS, Bruce
Position/title: Guest Curator, The Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago, 5536 South Dorchester Ave, Chicago IL 60637, USA.
Title: "Security and its Methods in the Middle Kingdom"
Abstract: The Egyptian state at all times expressed the role of power and force in the maintenance of proper universal order.  This religious imperative included the repression of rebellion and the repulse of the foreigners and their reduction to an obedient, tributary status.  Although not always carried exactly into effect, the liturgical nature of the application of force played a fundamental role in dynastic legitimization that not only impelled formal expression in art and literature, but affected actual political actions.  An important result in the Middle Kingdom was the creation of fortified frontiers that not only guarded against invasion, but served as springboards for offensive operations and as a guarded perimeter against unauthorized emigration.   The resulting bureaucratic state and its ultimate decay and the decomposition of the hard frontiers in the Second Intermediate Period led to an entirely new foreign policy.

Position/title: Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology; University of Wales Swansea, UK.
Title: "Egypt’s Last Frontier: Recent excavations of a Late Period fort-temple at Tell Tebilla (East Delta)."

Abstract: The University of Toronto 1999-2003 excavations in Egypt have concentrated at Tell Tebilla, an important maritime and riverine port for Mendes, a major provincial capital, and briefly a national capital (Dyn. 29), only 12 km to the south.  Satellite remote sensing and subsequent excavation revealed a massive fort-temple enclosure wall measuring around 250 by 350 metres.  Excavation demonstrated that its foundation trench cut through Dynasty 26 mastabas, whilst its design features, foundation trench materials, and occupation sequence date it to Dynasty 30, immediately before Artaxerxes III invaded and occupied Egypt in 343/2 BC.  Later classical authors allude to Nectanebo I/II building fortifications at the mouth of each delta river branch.  It would appear that Tebilla’s enclosure represents one such “fortification”, in addition to another one known from Tell Belamun to the northwest.  In the Late Period (Dynasties 26-30), Tell Tebilla formed one of a series of hitherto little known important cult centres (Ro-nefer, with a temple to Osiris) and settlements in the northeastern Delta, yielding material evidence for regional and international relations and trade with Judah, Phoenicia, and the East Mediterranean in general.


Special thanks to the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences and a School of Humanities Research Support Fund (from the University of Wales Swansea) for grants towards this conference. Further thanks to the Egypt Centre (Curator Carolyn Graves-Brown) and staff for assistance and support.