Polish computer application in archaeology

From April 2nd to April 6th, 2023, the 50th International Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology was held in Amsterdam. Polish archaeology was represented by a strong interdisciplinary group, which prepared two sessions and presented 10 presentations and 2 posters.

Photogrammetric model of a barrow during excavation with markings showing the location of various monuments
by J. Stępnik

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Egyptian hieroglyphs discovered in Old Dongola, Sudan

During the current excavation season in Old Dongola (Sudan), an expedition of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, headed by Dr. Artur Obłuski, came across an unexpected find: architectural elements from a Pharaonic temple.

Dr Dawid F. Wieczorek with a block from an Egyptian monumental building
© D. F. Wieczorek/PCMA UW

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The mummy with a pickled fetus: another example of wishful thinking

In the spring of last year, the media around the world circulated sensational information about the discovery of a fetus in a female mummy held at the National Museum in Warsaw. The authors of this discovery, from the Warsaw Mummy Project team, found that the woman died in the 26th–30th gestational week, i.e. at the beginning of the third trimester, and the fetus was not pulled out during embalming – contrary to the treatment of the viscera of the female, which were removed through an incision in the lower part of the abdomen. They also observed that the mummified fetus had broken bones (not shown on the published radiograph) and was found in two parts, which was interpreted as the result of the postmortem fracture of the female pelvis.

Typical ancient Egyptian mummification process drawing by SimplisticReps, published on licence CC BY-ND 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Typical ancient Egyptian mummification process;
drawing by SimplisticReps, published on licence CC BY-ND 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Modular construction in Byzantine Marea (Egypt)

Marea was an important port and trading center in northern Egypt in ancient times. Until now, archaeologists have focused on the study of individual single buildings on the site. In 2017, work began on a comprehensive identification of the urban grid, consisting of the buildings, streets, and the port. The results of the study, recently published in Antiquity, indicate that modular construction in Byzantine Marea was part of a larger urban program, one of the few at the end of Antiquity.

Budynki modułowe w Marei © M. Gwiazda, na licencji CC BY 4.0
Modular construction in Marea
© M. Gwiazda, published under CC BY 4.0

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Enigmatic Material from the Time of the Egyptian Pyramid Builders

There are many myths surrounding metalworking technologies from the time of the ancient Egyptian pyramid builders. The most common are that no tools have been preserved for research and that ancient Egyptians were only familiar with pure copper. Neither is correct, however: a recent study by Czech researchers, published in the renowned international Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, enriched our knowledge of Old Kingdom metalworking technology based on archaeological material originating from Giza.

Giza, dolny lewy owal zaznacza miejsce, z którego pochodzą badane zabytki fot. M. Odler © Filozofická fakulta, Univerzita Karlova, Praha, Český egyptologický ústav
Giza, the bottom-left oval marks the place where the studied finds originated
photo Martin Odler © Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Czech Institute of Egyptology

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[INTERVIEW] Rolling in the deep – emerald mines in the desert

Some time ago we wrote about the ancient port of Berenike on the Red Sea coast. This time we had an opportunity to talk with dr Joan Oller Guzmán from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, who in 2020 and 2021 conducted an archaeological survey in the Mons Smaragdus region of the Egyptian Eastern Desert. This region was known in Antiquity as the only source of emeralds within the borders of the Roman Empire! 

We invite you venture further into this article, where dr. Guzmán tells us about exploring underground galleries and what they have found in the dungeons deep.

“Świątynia południowa” w Wadi Sikait, Egipt © J. O. Guzman
“South temple” in Wadi Sikait, Egypt
© J. O. Guzman

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