Delta Survey

A British Academy Research Project

Information on the archaeological sites of the Delta is presented here in the form web-pages containing an alphabetical listing of sites. Where a substantial amount of information is available, or photographs of the site exist, links are provided to supplementary pages. The site-names in most cases are those of the Survey of Egypt maps. The material is offered as a source of reference and a tool for the planning of new projects.  The letters 'T' and 'K' in the lists stand for 'Tell' and 'Kom' respectively, Arabic words for 'mound', describing the usual appearance of archaeological sites in the region.

We would recommend viewing this area of the website on a desktop computer. 

You may also be interested to visit the separate Western Delta Regional Survey on Durham University's website here: 

Delta Reports

Delta Reports is a journal dedicated to the publication of archaeology, geography, history and heritage relevant to the Nile Delta. The first volume Delta Reports 1 Research in Lower Egypt was published in 2009 and edited by Donald Redford. The series has been restarted with a full editorial board and will be published by Archaeopress. Each edition will be published when a sufficient number of papers have been prepared, so there is a rolling deadline.

The publication aims to make fieldwork reports from the North of Egypt (including Alexandria, Wadi Tumilat, Wadi Natrun and North Sinai) available soon after the fieldwork has been completed. Each volume would contain about 10-15 reports from fieldwork, in order to make the material immediately accessible to other archaeologists and interested parties. There is no limit on time-period and historical and heritage material will also be accepted. The volumes will be edited by the editorial board and another academic reviewer. Reports would be published in English or Arabic and all reports would have an English/Arabic abstract.

If you are interested in sending us a paper, please do contact the email address below.

Download the submission guidelines

All correspondence and submissions should be made to: [email protected] 

Shown on the SoE 1:100,000 (1916) map as Kom Aziza el-Kebir. Visited by Penny Wilson in 2004 and again in 2005 for mapping and drill-core surveys. Click here for map. Excavations by the MSA in 2021 found Old Kingdom burials and a Graeco-Roman pottery workshop (see below).

This site has been partly built on by a new school at its southern end where there is also a road and canal. The sides of the canal did not have much pottery in them, so this may be an old channel and the 'real' edge of the site. The site seems to have been a low flattened mound, with a very sandy surface containing pottery and perhaps some more desert gravel (if not building material from the construction of the school?). There is a village on the east which may be built over part of the ancient site. At the north the tell has been cut away revealing substantial deposits of pottery including whole amphorae to a depth of about 3m at the deepest part of the section. A cut away section just north-west of the school also shows pottery. The school yard shows red brick building traces and also pot emplacements. It seems to have some traces of mud brick structures too. 

Kom Aziza was apparently split in two by a canal and road, leaving the village and its mosque on the south side of the road and the sandy kom on the north of the road. The new school was built on this side. The sandy surface has some pottery sherds pressed into the surface and on the north side, the mound is cut away leaving sheer sections. More pottery is visible in the section, some limestone and the bases of intact vessels, which seem to be in situ. Some mud brick walls are visible along with pottery filled soil in a section at the edge of the mound.Two transects of drill cores were made across the site: one to the south through the village and the other to the north across the area of the remaining kom. The village proved to have a sand foundation, though at the western side the natural sand and shale had been flooded and alluvial mud deposited at some time. Sand was later deposited upon this 50cm thick layer of silt. The drill core in the village beside the mosque had some degraded pottery at 3m and the fragments were found directly upon the sand hill. The drill to the west showed 3.5m of silt, slowly becoming sandier, but this was clearly alluvium from the canal.

The second transect showed that, to the north, the sand hill was predominant across the area of the site. There were some bands of shale interwoven with the sand and, in core 6,  some pottery fragments near to the ground surface and a band of silt at 1.5m. Core 7 was made through the sebakh layer next to the houses and this proved to be the most interesting. The matrix was sandy-silt but was black in colour, almost all the way through (to 5.17m). There was consistent human cultural material consisting of bones, burning, pottery and brick fragments. Though the drill head was washed out at 5m, it seemed that this stratum would still have continued. The sandier areas may, therefore, be the edges of the original settlement mound with a small area still preserved under the houses on this eastern side. Two pieces of identifiably Old Kingdom material were found in this core: a rim sherd and a fragment of a late OK-FIP bread mould.

Pottery collected at the site was mostly Ptolemaic to Roman, but there was one sherd of the Late Period. A few pieces of possible OK date were noted (cf. the core results above), and two flints were also picked up from the surface. The surface is very disturbed and covered with all kinds of rubbish. It is not certain that this pottery originated in this place or from what context it came. Confirmation of Old Kingdom occupation was obtained in 2021, following excavations for the MSA directed by Ibrahim Sobhy. Old Kingdom brick-lined graves with pottery and stone vases typical of the fifth to sixth dynasties were found (see image below). The presence of Old Kingdom remains at such a northerly site is noteworthy. In an upper level a Graeco-Roman pottery workshop was discovered (Luxor Times). In an upper level a Graeco-Roman pottery workshop was discovered (Naem, A.M. and Ebrahim, E. S., 'The SCA excavations at tell Kom Aziza, 2023’' in Ain Shams University 2023, The Eighth Delta Survey Conference and Workshop, 18th-20th March 2023, Program & Abstracts, 20.

The photographs here show the small size of the mound, the utilisation of part of it for a football ptich, the adjacent town to one side and agriculture on the other. One photograph shows a collection of surface sherds.

About 800m west of the site is a large modern cemetery, almost certainly built on another mound. 

Selection of photographs from a large collection images kept at the Egypt Exploration Society. (© Dr Penny Wilson, 2004)




Vessels from OK graves, 2021