The Dayr al-Barsha Project (2002-present) is an international and interdisciplinary research endeavor directed by the Egyptology department at Leuven University, Belgium. The site of Dayr al-Barsha in Middle Egypt, from which the project derives its name, is in fact only one of several archaeological sites in the region that are under study by the project. These pages present an overview of the project's approaches and the results that have been attained thus far. Plans, information about past excavation seasons, a selection of photographs, and a list of publications can also be found here. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, remarks, or suggestions.

New Book: The Nile: Natural and Cultural Landscape in Egypt

 A new book has recently appeared with proceedings of the conference that Harco Willems organised at the Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz on 22-23 February 2013. This book is published in Open Access, and can be downloaded here for free.

Willems, Harco and Jan-Michael Dahms (eds). The Nile: Natural and Cultural Landscape in Egypt. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2017.

Although Herodot's dictum that "Egypt is a gift of the Nile" is proverbial, there has been only scant attention to the way the river impacted on ancient Egyptian society. Egyptologists frequently focus on the textual and iconographic record, whereas archaeologists and earth scientists approach the issue from the perspective of natural sciences. The contributions in this volume bridge this gap by analyzing the river both as a natural and as a cultural phenomenon. Adopting an approach of cultural ecology, it addresses issues like ancient land use, administration and taxation, irrigation, and religious concepts.

New publication

A new publication of the Dayr al-Barsha Project just appeared:

Linseele, Veerle, Wim Van Neer, Harco Willems, and Bart Vanthuyne, 'An unusual cattle burial at Dayr al-Barshā (Late Period, Middle Egypt)', in: Marjan Mashkour and Mark Beech (eds), Archaeozoology of the Near East 9, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2017, p. 353-377.


2017 campaign to Dayr al-Barsha: student diary Week 5

After Toon’s report last week on his work in the Middle Kingdom governors’ tombs, I inform you about the ongoing excavatio

2017 campaign to Dayr al-Barsha: student diary Week 4

Week 4: Toon Sykora

2017 campaign to Dayr al-Barsha: student diary Week 3

Week 3: Hanne Declerck

2017 campaign to Dayr al-Barsha: student diary Week 2

Week 2: Ann-Sophie Vandommele

2017 campaign to Dayr al-Barsha: student diary Week 1

On 9 March 2017 the new archaeological campaign to Dayr al-Barsha started. Among our team of specialists, we also have 3 students and 2 recently graduated students. In a weekly diary, we want to make you experience life on the excavation through their eyes. We start with the first week, written by Maarten Praet.

Week 1

New Article

A new article by Bart Vanthuyne has just appeared:

B. Vanthuyne, “Early Old Kingdom rock circle cemeteries in Deir el-Bersha and Deir Abu Hinnis”, in: M.D. Adams, B. Midant-Reynes, E.M. Ryan and Y. Tristant (Eds.), Egypt at its Origins 4. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt", New York, 26th-30th July 2011, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 252 (Leuven, 2016), 427-459.

New article by Harco Willems

A new article by Harco Willems has just appeared:

Willems, H., 'Die Grabkammer des Djehutinakht (I.?) in Dayr al-Barshā – methodologische Aspekte der Rekonstruktion des Ablaufs des Bestattungsrituals anhand eines neuentdeckten Beispiels.' in: A.H. Pries (ed.) Die Variation der Tradition. Modalitäten der Ritualadaption im Alten Ägypten. Akten des Internationalen Symposions vom 25.-28. November 2012 in Heidelberg (Orientalia lovaniensia analecta 240: Leuven, 2016), 133-170.

GoFundMe campaign for the antiquities guards of Dayr al-Barsha 

On Saturday 20 February, in the middle of the night, the antiquities guards of Dayr al-Barsha (Middle Egypt) were confronted with a gang of tomb robbers who were looting one of the tombs at the site. In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the guards, Ashrawy, was killed, while two others were injured. Yesterday we were informed that the second guard, Mustafa Ali, who was badly injured, also passed away. Both men did not deserve such a fate, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families.