The Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition Publication Project (Hosh el-Geruf, al-Widay and the Island of Umm Gebir)

The Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition participated in the salvage campaign in the Fourth Cataract of the Nile occasioned by the creation of the reservoir behind the Merowe Dam, which occurred in 2008. Excavations and surveys were carried out at the gold-working site of Hosh el-Geruf and on the island of Umm Gebir, and all 111 tombs at the cemetery of al-Widay were excavated. Work at the latter site completely clarified the pottery chronology of the Old Kush II (ca. Egyptian Middle Kingdom) and the Old Kush III (Classic Kerma) times, and also clarifies the culture and time period of the Nubian material in the Middle Kingdom fortresses and the Pan Graves farther north in Nubia. The large gold-processing site of Hosh el-Geruf dates to Old Kush II and III, at least a century earlier than sites with similar technology in the Eastern Desert, and proves that the industry began earlier than the New Kingdom in Nubia. The myriad sites on Umm Gebir date from the Neolithic through the Napatan Period, and include a cemetery of a local culture dating to the New Kingdom. The project will publish final reports of the two seasons of work, which will present major evidence for scholars studying Northeast Africa in general, and the interaction and chronology of cultures at the Fourth Cataract, the Middle Nile and adjacent regions.

The publication project is directed by Bruce Williams and Lisa Heidorn.