The second QuarryScapes fieldwork season in Aswan took place through November 2006. The work concentrated on the West Bank quarries, more specifically on the prehistoric antecedents to the large-scale Pharaonic quarrying of silicified sandstone in the area.
Several prehistoric silicified sandstone tool and grinding stone quarries/workshop were located and described. In-depth analyses of the findings are pending, but it would seem that there is now ample evidence to characterise the Aswan West Bank quarries as the most long-lived quarry landscape in the world. It has been in use for tools, grinding stones, statuary and building stone for more than 20.000 years since at some stage in the Palaeolithic, through the whole Pharaonic period and well into the Roman period.
Other features making up the archaeological landscape were also described and fed into the comprehensive databases developed for the West Bank. Such features include rock-art and inscriptions, stone alignments and different types of stone structures. Moreover, risks to this outstanding archaeological landscape were assessed and communicated to the responsible authorities; the SCA regional office in Aswan.
Fieldwork will continue at the West Bank, but a comprehensive QuarryScapes report/monograph will be produced already during the coming winter, to be published in early summer 2007.
Text by Per Storemyr
A glimpse at the prehistoric tool and grinding stone quarries at the West Bank. The raw material for production was small boulders/pebbles of silicified sandstone.
Photo: Per Storemyr.
Recording of a small grinding stone quarry in silicified sandstone. Photo: Per Storemyr.
SCA-Inspector Wafaa Mohamed with the axe/sledgehammer in silicfied sandstone she found in one of the West Bank grinding stone quarries. Photo: Per Storemyr.
December 2009 New book: a special volume with papers from the QuarryScapes project soon printed.
November 2008 Final workshop: the third QuarryScapes workshop was held in Aswan 12. - 15. October