2013 Grant Recipient
The site of Maadi in the Late Prehistory of Lower Egypt: internal sequence, characteristics of the settlement, external relations. The results of the Italian mission and the research on the site and in the region.
The lead researcher for the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program project is Dr. Jade Bajeot. She obtained a Phd in Archaeology (Prehistory) at the Sapienza University of Rome, in Italy (2015), working on the unpublished excavations carried out at the Predynastic site of Maadi by an expedition of the same University. The doctoral research was carried out under the tutoring of M. Frangipane. Before starting to study predynastic contexts, she had a training in Egyptology and Topography and from 2008 to 2015 she worked as a topographer at the site of Arslantepe in Turkey (director M. Frangipane). Since 2014 she is part of the excavation team that works in the Predynastic site of Tell el- Iswid (Egypt), directed by N. Buchez and B. Midant-Reynes. There, under the guidance of Valentine Roux, she started to analyse the ceramic assemblage coming from the ongoing excavations on the basis of the technological approach with the aim of reconstructing the predynastic manufacture traditions and improve the understanding of these prehistoric cultures
The topic of the book concerns the topographic and stratigraphic analysis of the unpublished documentation collected during the excavations carried out by an Italian mission directed by S. M. Puglisi, in the eastern part of the Egyptian Predynastic settlement of Maadi (IV mill. B.C.); the study of the materials found, as well as their comparison with the rest of the prehistoric village previously dug and with other contemporary sites in the Nile Delta.
The settlement of Maadi, with its two necropolis, was inhabited between 3900 and 3500 B.C. and then abandoned. It is located 29° 57' 56.6" N, 31° 16' 45.9" E, in Egypt, on an east-west running desert ridge overlooking Wadi Digla and it covers an area 1300m long and 200m wide. Nowadays large part of the site is occupied by buildings and the remnant is under the threat of real estate agencies, in a city of Cairo which is growing always faster.
A large part of the settlement and the cemeteries were already known thanks to the excavations directed by M. Amer and I. Rizkana, that took place between 1930 and 1953 on behalf of the University of Cairo. During the 1980’s the western part of the settlement was investigated by an Egyptian mission led by F.A. Badawy. More or less the same area studied by Badawi was recently analysed again by U. Hartung, from the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut of Cairo (1999-2002 and 2006-2007). The Italian expedition, from the Sapienza University of Rome, worked on the eastern part of the site between 1977 and 1986, with the aim of looking into the stratigraphic sequence to better understand the dynamics of the formation of the settlement and its life-span. The importance of the Italian campaigns resides in the fact that the archaeological investigation was led, for the first time, according to the stratigraphic method. So, contrary to the oldest excavations, we have the whole data concerning the stratigraphy of the archaeological deposit and the origin of the materials found, important to deepen the chronology and the mode of occupation.
Maadi is very famous because is the type site of the so called Maadi-Buto Culture or Lower Egyptian Culture and because the extensive excavations of which it has been the object allowed us to know the entire structure of the village, which is an exceptional case in the archaeology of Predynastic Egypt. The settlement is also very important for its strategic location at the base of the Nile Delta, between two areas of gestation of cultural developments which will constitute the bases for the birth of complex societies, Upper Egypt and southern Levant. The material culture testifies the presence of contacts between the area of Maadi and these regions. These exchange networks were characterized by fluidity and spontaneity that disappeared with the emergence of the Egyptian state, when the relations of Egypt with the neighboring countries were organized and codified.
The Italian documentation has represented the occasion to complete the information contained in the past monographs about the first excavations done at Maadi, deepening the stratigraphic aspect which is fundamental for the understanding of the dynamics of formation and development of the site and in general of the Lower Egypt Predynastic culture, and to reconsider this site in the light of the latest researches made in the Nile Delta.