H.E. Farouk Hosni, Minister of Culture, announced recently that an American archaeological mission from the University of Chicago has unearthed an administrative building and silos dating back to Dynasty 17 (c. 1665-1569 BC), as well as an older columned hall during routine excavations at Edfu.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), explained that the columned hall is a mud-brick building with sixteen wooden columns that predates the silos. Pottery and seal impressions dated to early Dynasty 13 (c. 1786-1665 BC) were found inside the hall. Hawass said that the layout of the building shows that it may have been part of the governor’s palace, which was a typical feature of provincial towns. It was used by scribes for accounting, opening and sealing containers, and also for receiving letters.
Dr. Nadine Moeller, head of the American mission, said that the seal impressions were made by scarab seals decorated with ornamental patterns, such as spirals and a combination of hieroglyphic symbols including ankh signs. Patterns belonging to different officials were also uncovered, which provide evidence for the various administrative activities, such as accounting in addition to sealing boxes, ceramic jars, and other commodities.
Dr. Moeller said that this discovery reflects Egypt’s political situation at that time, a time when Egypt’s unity no longer existed and a small kingdom had developed at Thebes which controlled Upper Egypt. During this period, Dr. Moeller added, connections between the provincial elite, such as the family of the governor, and the royal family in Thebes were strengthened through marriage or the awarding of important offices.