Since 2014 the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition has been surveying and excavating archaeological sites of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1700 BCE), Greco-Roman (c. 1st century BCE-4th century CE), and Arab Period (6th century – 19th century) consisting of amethyst mines and their associated settlements. Wadi el-Hudi’s unique archaeology and inscriptions offer insights into mining technology and the social and economic organization of how ancient Egyptians obtained precious stones to make jewelry and other luxury items for members of the royal family and other elite. 

Wadi el-Hudi lies in Egypt’s Eastern Desert southeast of Aswan, and its complex geology is rich in minerals such as amethyst and stone like granite. First occupied in Paleolithic times (approximately 200,000 years ago), the region is rich in archaeological heritage. The ancient Egyptians established multiple important mines in Wadi el-Hudi in order to acquire amethyst for making jewelry during the Middle Kingdom and in the Greco-Roman Period. These large scale mining ventures required up to 1500 laborers and administrators that lived and worked in substantial walled settlements adjacent to the mines. Sometimes misidentified as military fortresses, these dry-stone settlements are still well-preserved today, with many standing close to their original height at two meters tall.  

Over five seasons of work, the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition has used the latest technology and innovative methods (read more here) to pursue several archaeological goals here:  (1) document mines, temporary or ephemeral sites, and rock inscriptions at 41 sites, (2) map the standing architecture at 11 settlements, (3) carry out excavation of many of these key settlements, (4) analyze numerous artifacts from Wadi el-Hudi sites, and (5) study over 280 inscriptions both at Wadi el-Hudi and in Egyptian museums from previous archaeological work in the early 20th century. The Wadi el-Hudi Expedition is currently in the process of creating 3D models of the major mines and settlements and engaging a program of archaeological science to analyze artifacts and inscriptions. 

In addition to learning more about the past, the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition supports educational opportunities for students and early-career specialists.  We support connections with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Egypt and give opportunities to foster international connections and work.  Please see our mission statement.

We are excited to continue our work at Wadi el-Hudi and share this amazing site with the public. 

You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@wadielhudi) and on Facebook.

The contributions from our generous donors are vital for The Wadi el-Hudi Expedition to continue its work. Please consider making a donation to support archaeology at Wadi el-Hudi.

Thank you to his Excellence the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Khaled el-Anani and especially the Aswan Inspectorate for their continued support of and assistance with our project.

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