Friday, February 24, 2012
Today we took a field trip to visit the site of Hierakonpolis – probably the most significant site for studying the formation of Egypt as a nation state more than 5000 years ago. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Met’s Egyptian Expedition excavated at the site, and some of the finds from this expedition are on view in Gallery 101 of the Egyptian Department, including the decorated jar below.
Decorated Ware Jar Depicting Boats, Rogers Fund, 1936 (courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
For more about the pot above, follow the link below.
The director of the Hierakonpolis expedition is Renee Friedman, who was a graduate student at U. C. Berkeley with Joel and me – she gave us a great tour of the site. One of the places we visited was the “fort,” an immense sun-dried mud brick structure that is the only piece of standing architecture at the site. Its walls are 5 meters thick (about 16 feet) and still stand about 9 meters tall (about 30 feet). The fort was once surrounded by a perimeter wall and had a niched façade, only part of which is still visible today.
View Between the Perimeter Wall and the Niched façade of the “Fort” at Hierakonpolis
Seeing this structure was particular interesting to us because the Hierakonpolis expedition has been doing conservation work on the fort and it was interesting to find out what techniques they have found effective.
4700 Year Old Bricks
To find out more about the site and the work of the Hierakonpolis expedition, you can look at their website:
At the beginning of April, Diana’s exhibition “The Dawn of Egyptian Art” will open at the Met. As the name implies, this exhibition concentrates on the earliest artworks from ancient Egypt that date to the same period as Hierakonpolis and its fort.