ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 299-306
Claudio Gallazzi and Gisele Hadji-Minaglou, Tebtynis L La reprise des
fouilles et le quartier de la chapelle d'Isis-Thermouthis. Cairo: Institut
frangais d'archeologie orientale, 2000. 126 pages + preface and plates.
Gisele Hadji-Minaglou, Tebtynis IV Les habitations a l'est du temple
de Soknebtynis. Cairo: Institut frangais d'archeologie orientale, 2007.
250 pages + preface and plates. ISBN 978-2-7247-0468-6.
Together these two volumes present important results from the FrancoItalian excavations at the southern edge of the Ptolemaic and Roman settlement at Umm-el-Breigat, in two adjacent sectors at the northeast corner of
the temple of Soknebtynis. Volume 1 describes the quarter of the chapel of
Isis-Thermouthis, including both sacred and residential buildings. Volume 4
focuses on the area of housing directly to the south. While the excavators have
already discussed aspects of this work in print elsewhere, sometimes in more
detail, these volumes provide an opportunity to contextualise their work with
respect to the recent history of the site as a whole, and more importantly, to
draw together the evidence for the occupation of the area as a coherent district,
offering conclusions about patterns of development through time and space.
Repeated reference is made in Volume 4 to material presented in Volume 1,
and the former also elaborates on questions of continuity and change which are
raised in the latter. Each can be read in isolation and readers who study both
together will necessarily find some repetition of basic facts and interpretation.
They will, nevertheless, be amply compensated by a perceptive and detailed
picture of how occupation in this whole area changed through time, developments which are well summarised in the second part of Gallazzi's introduction
to Volume 1 and in Hadji-Minaglou's conclusion to Volume 4.
Volume 1 opens with an introduction by Gallazzi to early investigations at
the site. In particular, Grenfell and Hunt's rich finds of papyrus here attracted
the attention of other papyrus-seekers as well as antiquities-dealers and sebakhin, whose activities have progressively degraded the remains of the settlement and hampered systematic investigation of its layout, architecture, and
stratigraphy. When the Franco-Italian excavations began in 1988 their aim was
to build on previous archaeological and papyrological research, exploring how
patterns of occupation changed through time and recovering further material
before it was lost. The detailed description of the excavated material which
takes up the remainder of Volume 1 and is continued in Volume 4, together
with the detailed analysis of settlement change referred to above, demonstrates