Kom Firin is an extensive archaeological mound located near the western edge of the Nile Delta in Egypt, an area where little fieldwork has been undertaken. This area has never been the subject of intensive archaeological investigation before and the project has used a combination of geophysical survey and excavation to research aspects of the site’s history.
The earliest remains date to the Ramesside Period (thirteenth-eleventh century BC), when a small mudbrick and limestone temple was built and decorated in the reign of Ramses II. Nearly entirely destroyed, parts of an inscription of Ramses II from a doorway in the temple describe him as a valiant ruler, who ‘gives commands at the head of his troops’.
The temple was set inside an impressive mudbrick enclosure in an area of 44,000m², outlined by walls over five metres thick and entered through a narrow gateway flanked with towers. It seems possible this complex was built in response to the growing threat from Libyan groups to the West.
Kom Firin flourished for nearly two thousand years after this time with at least two major temple enclosures constructed in the latter part of the first millennium BC, although the buildings within are long since destroyed. Fragments from pottery containers and tableware from as far afield as the Greek mainland, Rhodes, Clazomenae and Cyprus attest to the cosmopolitan world of the Nile Delta during this era.
Objectives:The project aims to investigate, through excavation and non-destructive survey, the site of Kom Firin, a fifty-five hectare settlement mound at the western edge of the Nile Delta. The principal objectives are:
- To obtain evidence for the nature of urban settlement in the Western Delta, a largely unexplored area despite its strategic importance in the Ramesside period, c.1300−1070 BCE (attempted invasion and immigration by Libyan groups) and in the ensuing rise of the Great Kingdom of the West, a precursor to the 26th dynasty (672-525 BCE).
- To seek material to help assess whether proximity to the Greek trading emporium of Naukratis led to an increased exposure to imported goods in comparison to contemporary sites further south.
- To disseminate information through academic publications, but also provide resources (video, images, text) on the ancient site, and the modern village, for use in cross-curricular teaching initiatives.
Neal Spencer with a contribution by Květa SmolárikováBritish Museum Research Publication 170
© The Trustees of the British Museum 2008The first monograph on British Museum fieldwork at Kom Firin in Egypt’s Nile Delta, a settlement created around the time of Ramses II, and occupied until late Antiquity.The Ramesside temple and the site survey (pdf 1.53mb)
FiguresFigures 1–2 (pdf 788kb)
Figures 3–51 (pdf 4.16mb)
Colour platesPlates 1–25 (pdf 4.25mb)
Plates 26–73 (pdf 4.15mb)
Plates 74–95 (pdf 2.97mb)
Plates 96–133 (pdf 5.56mb)
Kom Firin 2002 (pdf 2mb)
Topographic survey; test excavations in the north-west of the site.
Kom Firin 2003 (pdf 2.7mb))
Magnetometry survey; excavations in the Ramesside temple.
Kom Firin 2004 (pdf 10mb)
Magnetometry survey; excavations in the Ramesside temple, and around the gateway of the Ramesside enclosure.
Kom Firin 2005 (pdf 8mb)
Magnetometry survey; excavations in the Ramesside temple, and near the north-eastern corner of the Ramesside enclosure (includes Third Intermediate Period levels).
Kom Firin 2006 (pdf 4mb)
Excavations near the north-eastern corner of the Ramesside enclosure (includes Third Intermediate Period levels); excavations across the northern segment of the late temple enclosure walls.
Kom Firin 2007 (pdf 6mb)
Excavations near the north-eastern corner of the Ramesside enclosure (includes Third Intermediate Period levels); excavations of domestic structures in the Citadel (Late Period); auger-coring.
Kom Firin 2008 (pdf 10mb)Kom Firin 2009 (pdf 4mb)
Excavations inside the north-eastern corner of the Ramesside enclosure (includes Third Intermediate Period levels); excavations of domestic structures in the Citadel (Late Period); brief zoology report (2002-2008).
Analyses of ceramics from Citadel (Late Period) and trench NA (Late Period-Roman); recording of newly exposed segment of Late Period enclosure wallSee a 360 degee panorama of Kom Firin in Google Earth, created by Stefan Geens: http://www.ogleearth.com/2007/11/the_kom_firin_d.html