The project “The ancient Egyptian necropolis of Asyut: documentation and interpretation” was accepted as a long-term project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) in 2007. Having started in 2005 it is allowing for sustained research and fieldwork over a 12 year period. The field seasons are carried out in collaboration with the University of Sohag. Findings, find-contexts, inscriptions and decorations of several nomarchs’ tombs of the First Intermediate Period (21st century BC) and the Middle Kingdom (20th century BC) situated near the city of Asyut in Middle Egypt will be thoroughly recorded and published. The research endeavour will increase the knowledge concerning the history and art marked by the civil war period as well as the subsequent epoch of significant cultural and economic progress. Furthermore the research objective is to examine the necropolis mountain Gebel Asyut al-gharbi, due to its chronological and qualitative contribution over several millennia, as Asyut retained a large role of the cultural memory of ancient Egypt: Inscriptions from the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom (ca. 2145-1793 BC) are known to be from the necropolis of Asyut and were reused in different parts of Egypt for more than 2000 years. The reasons for the obvious value attributed to these works are the theological and religious-historical importance of Asyut, the linguistic quality of the inscriptions and the fact that they reflect mentality (high self-esteem and simultaneous loyalty to the king).
The project directors are Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ursula Verhoeven-van Elsbergen from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and (since 2010) Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jochem Kahl from the Freie Universität Berlin. On the Egyptian side, colleagues from the University of Sohag are acting as additional field directors. Fieldwork on the project is supported by inspectors and restorers of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).Since February, 2008: Memorandum of Understanding of scientific co-operation between the Department of Egyptology, Faculty of Arts, University Sohag/Egypt and the Department of Egyptology, Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz/Germany.