Excavation Grid Completed for Tell El Hibeh
View of tell from south showing complexity of
Upon first arriving at the
archaeological site of El Hibeh, the U.C. Berkeley team quickly
realized they had a big problem. The simplified, two-dimensional
maps that were available to the expedition were a bit misleading.
Nowhere did things on the ground appear as neat and orderly as they
had on paper. Measuring nearly three quarters of a kilometer
from north to south, the tell itself was absolutely huge. When
the burial-rich desert to the north and east was considered, the site
area quickly grew to a few square kilometers. Furthermore, the
terrain itself was as complex as it was vast. The team would
come to measure a difference in elevation of nearly 20m from the
lowest points in the area of the temple of Sheshonq I to the heights
of the enormous mudbrick north gate--and nowhere did the elevation of
the site remain the same for very long. It was a challenge to
find a flat area that did not involve a drop off the edge of a
limestone cliff or a steady climb to the heights of some mudbrick
Two earlier survey maps of the Nile River
and tell showing lack of sufficient detail.
It was quite clear that given the
available resources, the 1980 American expedition had done a
phenomenal job mapping the tell. Working from a single datum
point in the northwest part of the tell, that team had accurately
mapped the location of the temple, a number of walls, and various
other features including trenches excavated by earlier archaeologists.
1980 Expedition map showing a number of
features of the tell.