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Schiestl, Robert ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8295-1835 (21. November 2022): Telling Tells Apart. Assumptions about Hills. In: Bußmann, Richard; Hafemann, Ingelore; Schiestl, Robert and Werning, Daniel A. (eds.) : Spuren der altägyptischen Gesellschaft. Festschrift für Stephan J. Seidlmayer. Beiheft zur Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, Vol. 14. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter. pp. 65-86 [PDF, 2MB]


This article discusses some aspects of the history of depicting and interpreting tells of Egypt, based on examples in the northwestern Nile Delta. The question addressed is a graphic and an epistemological one: how does knowledge of tells and their formation effect visual representations, and vice versa, how do images of tells influence our assumptions about their formation? The first section provides a detailed discussion of the earliest map showing tells along the Rosetta branch of the Nile, from the 16th century Kitab-i Bahriye by Piri Reis. Identifications for the depicted sites with archaeological tells are suggested. The second section discusses as case study the two small tells of Shabas cUmayyir in the northwest delta. A series of late 19th and early 20th century maps of the tell provides an archive for the archaeological site, presumed to have been diminished over the course of time. The assumption that this tell, used as a modern cemetery, was entirely ancient, was tested by auger coring. The shifting borders of tells are viewed as part of the transformation of tells due to both natural processes and modern uses.

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