New Excavation Season at Antinoupolis

Where the workmen are standing is the focus of our work:  the 'second half' of the temple.

Where the workmen are standing is the focus of our work:  the 'second half' of the temple.

Greetings from Hadrian's city on the Nile!

We are very excited to be back at the site for a shortened two-week excavation this autumn.  In the first week of work we have focused on removing layers above what we believe to be the other half of the rectangular temple we were uncovering last season (in February).  This is necessary to determine if it is a free-standing rectangular temple in the middle of the much larger court, or if it is connected in some way architecturally with the surrounding peristyle.  The excavation may also reveal additional fragments similar to the diagnostic torus molding block we found last season.  (For details on this discovery reported in this blog, click here.)

Dr. McClain correcting my drawing.

Dr. McClain correcting my drawing.

This is the temple we now are able to say with some certainly is part of the complex dedicated to Osiris-Antinous, the titular deity of Antinoupolis, due to an inscribed cornice block we discovered in February.  (For news of this discovery, click here.)   I am also happy to report that we had Dr. J. Brett McClain from the University of Chicago on site for a brief visit.  He is a specialist in Ptolemaic and Roman period texts, and is shown in the photo correcting my drawing of the cornice block we discovered in February.  With the blessing of the mission's director, Prof Rosario Pintaudi, we are planning to submit this block for publication this winter as a preliminary report.  It will demonstrate the progress of our efforts to reveal and study the monuments and urban form of this ancient city, Hadrian's largest building project, and an unusual fusion of Egyptian, Greek and Roman forms and ideas.

We have one more week of excavation to go in this campaign, and if we receive permission from the Egyptian government, we have planned another period of work in late January and February this winter.  We hope you enjoy following news of our work here.  If you received this blog post as an email, you are already subscribed to receive future posts.  If you'd like to sign up to receive them, you can do so by clicking here.  (Note: we only post to the blog during periods of active work at the site.)  You can also use the sign up link to send us your thoughts, so let us hear from you if you have questions or comments - thanks!

Jay Heidel, President, The Antinoupolis Foundation