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- Happy New Year from the most beautiful old quarry in Western Norway!
- Geoarchaeology of the famous ancient amethyst mines in Wadi el-Hudi, Egypt: Desert heritage at risk
- Værnes: Norges mest komplette sandsteinskirke fra middelalderen
- Fra Aswan til Hyllestad. Hva er et steinbruddlandskap?
- Gneiss for the Pharaoh: Geology of the Third Millennium BCE Chephren’s Quarries in Southern Egypt
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Category Archives: Ancient Egypt
This fall I joined the Wadi el-Hudi expedition to the famous Middle Kingdom amethyst gemstone mines in the Eastern Desert south-east of Aswan. The expedition is led by Dr. Kate Liszka of California State University San Bernardino (US), and over the last few seasons it has excavated and documented the ancient mining settlements in very high detail. My task was to take a closer look at the geoarchaeology – to try and understand relationships between geology and mining. It is hugely important to document what is left, for the ancient mining area is now at high risk from looting, modern gold mining and stone quarrying. Continue reading
Menneskene har brutt stein til alle mulige formål siden tidenes morgen. Men hva er et steinbruddlandskap? Hva kan vi si om alle de millioner av steder der folk har tatt ut stein? Fra den tidligste steinalder til i dag? Det var temaet jeg fikk til et foredrag på det 14. Hyllestadseminaret i slutten av april 2016, i regi av Norsk Kvernsteinsenter. Dessuten skulle jeg snakke om hvordan steinbruddlandskap kan formidles. Jeg innså raskt at oppgaven var helt umulig. Continue reading
Chephren’s Quarry. A name imbued with splendour. It was not the first quarry from which stone vessels and sculpture were provided in Ancient Egypt, but it was definitely the most spectaular one. Work started here, far south in the Western Desert of Egypt, already by the Predynastic period or earlier. By the Old Kingdom, 4500 years ago, it was a huge work site, comprising 700 quarry pits in the flat desert, covering an area of some 50 square kilometres. With Tom Heldal as the lead author, Ian Shaw, Elizabeth Bloxam and I have now written an account of how geology shaped Chephren’s Quarry. It is a story spanning millions of years, explaining the beauty of this hard, bluish stone – and how it could be exploited. Continue reading
I wish to thank my clients, partners, colleagues and followers of my website for a fine year! The very best to you all for 2016! With a cavalcade of images, I would like to recapitulate a few 2015 events. First of all, I was finally able to finish my book on the history of stone quarries, which was published jointly by The Restoration Workshop of Nidaros Cathedral and the Geological Survey of Norway. But my work took me to many parts of Norway, from a Mesolithic quartz quarry near Arendal, deep down south, to the fascinating rock art at Alta, far in the north. Though I was not able to visit Egypt last year, I’m still publishing papers on the geoarchaeology of desert quarries down there, together with good colleagues. Read on! Continue reading
The basement of the Archaeological Museum at Stavanger University holds the largest collection of grinding stones and querns found at archaeological excavations in of Norway. Dating from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, they show the development from saddle querns to standardised rotary hand querns. The finest querns are on display in the museum, and together with the magazine objects they particularly show the early development of the rotary hand quern in Norway: From 1800 year-old, very diverse specimens to the standardised, transportable rotary quern that we know so well from the Viking Age and later, and which became an important commercial trade good. Continue reading
The number of discovered Late Palaeolithic rock art sites in Wadi Abu Subeira (Upper Egypt) is ever increasing, now with finds also outside of the wadi, at el-Aqba el-Saghira. Archaeologist Adel Kelany of the Ministry of Antiquites (MAS) in Aswan has just published an overview paper, now listing ten sites, all with numerous panels. The largest site has a much as a hundred ones. As previously noted on this blog, this world-class rock art is under heavy pressure from modern mining, though efforts to protect the sites have shown some effect recently. Continue reading