2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


GOLD, David P.1, PARIZEK, Richard R.2, ALEXANDER, Shelton S.3, WALTERS, Elizabeth J.4 and MONTANDON, Laure3, (1)of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State Univ, 409 Deike Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, (2)of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State Univ, University Park, PA 16802, (3)Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State Univ, University Park, PA 16802, (4)Department of Art History, The Pennsylvania State Univ, University Park, PA 16802, gold@ems.psu.edu

The groundwater regime in the more densely inhabited and cultivated areas of the Nile Valley has changed drastically, as irrigation networks have expanded since the construction of the High Dam at Aswan. The historical wide fluctuations in the water table has been reduced to an essentially constant “high” stand, with unforeseen degradation to the foundations of all building constructed without a water barrier. A detailed study was initiated in 1997 to characterize geology and hydrology of the Ancient Temple-Town Site of Hierakonpolis, near Edfu in Southern Egypt. What remains of the settlement is buried in three small mounds, respectively 100 m, 400 m, and 60 m across, that rise up to 4 m above the Nile flood plain approximately 300 m north of the desert fringe.

Site characterization studies include (a) ) reoccupying the Fairservis (1967-92) grid, extended to cover all three mounds at an interval of 10 m, (b) completing a detailed topographic survey of the mounds and encroaching village dwellings on a scale of 1:500, and a contour interval of 50 cm, (c) establishing 115 shallow soil temperature monitoring holes over the main mound at a depth of 1 m: these have been read on one or two monthly intervals from 1999 to 2003, (d) establishing 146 auger holes to a depth of 3-4 m to monitor fluctuation in the water table, as well as the temperature, salinity, conductivity and specific conductance of the ground water; these too have been read on one or two monthly intervals from 1999 to 2003, (e) developing seismic reflection and refraction techniques to image the water table, vadose zone, local anomalous shallow material, and areal discontinuities such as a regional gravel bed at 30 m and bedrock at 100 m beneath the site, (e) to establishing a stratigraphy of human occupation from artifacts in drill cores and sump pits. In addition 7 shallow and one deep drill holes were cored to 20 m and 98 m respectively during the 2003 campaign. Artifacts recovered, 1999-2003, reveal for the first time continuous occupation from Naqada I to Naqada III (4000 to 3200 B.C. and further to the west, the next phase Dynasty I was cut into by an Islamic foundary in one of the shallow seismic anomaly sites. The field data and results have been entered into a GIS.