Tuna el-Gebel – The City of the Dead

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Discover the largest cemetery of Graeco-Roman Egypt

Temples, houses and tombs, animal worship and human necropolis – Tuna el-Gebel is a fascinating site about 270 km south of Cairo, as long as the crow flies. Since more than 100 years archaeologists attempt to discover the secrets in the sand of the desert. Most of the buildings belong to the Ptolemaic and Roman period between 300 BC and 300 AD.

To the south of the site a large cemetery is located. The first tombs were erected in this area around 300 BC. Being built of local shell-limestone and having a temple-like structure, the excavator Sami Gabra named them »temple tombs«. The early Roman period, if not before, saw the building of the first mud brick tombs at the site called »house tombs« according to the material and the design. As a result of the new building technique, the urbanization of the cemetery increased, and more and more people were buried in this area. Finally, the necropolis converted to a city-like structure from north to south, within its core the famous tomb of Petosiris.


Succesful Excavation Season and News

Second season of excavation

Just back from Egypt this is our report of the autumn season! We have successfully accomplished the following tasks.

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Sayed Abdel Malik and Katja Lembke with the new sign of the Roman necropolis

New signs for Tuna el-Gebel

As we consider site management an important task at Tuna el-Gebel, we commissioned an Egyptian company in Cairo to produce four new signs according to our area of research. The four signs are: “Welcome at Tuna el-Gebel” at the entrance gate of the archaeological area, “The tomb of Petosiris” next to the famous tomb, and “The Roman necropolis” and “The tomb of Isidora” next to the tomb house of Isidora. They were placed at the site on October 29th, 2018 by Katja Lembke and Sayed Abdel Malik.


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