Please Note: This program is not currently accepting applications for Summer 2014 due to the standing travel warning from the US State Department for Egypt. The availability of future semesters will be determined closer to the term in question. If you are interested in discussing alternative programs in the Middle East for please contact Whitney Strickler, Education Abroad Adviser for the Middle East.
Mendes Expedition, May 26, to June 27, 2014
The ruin mound of Tel er-Rub'a in northern Egypt marks the site of the ancient city of Mendes, one of the largest cities in the ancient world. The sometime capital of ancient Egypt (fourth century BCE), Mendes was a major trading center in contact with the eastern Mediterranean, Greece, and Rome. A riverine harbor is still in evidence, and the site boasts a temple to the Ram-god and a cemetery (ca. 2200 BCE) of nearly 9,000 internments. Occupied from prehistoric times to the present, though largely unencumbered by dwellings, Mendes offers an excellent prospect for excavation with a view to studying ancient urbanism, demographics, burial practices, and trade.
For the past decade, archaeologists and student volunteers have been excavating the site using cutting-edge research discovery and field training techniques. The latter includes digging techniques, recording, planning, photography, analysis of finds, and introduction to the history and archaeology of ancient Egypt. In addition, weekend field trips are led by the director to such neighboring sites as Tanis, the North Sinai, Alexandria, and the pyramid fields.
This program will occupy four consecutive six-day weeks. The participants will be put in charge of various tasks: excavation supervision, recording, registry, pottery sorting, and seriation. From time to time they will also be called upon to assist the technical core staff in such tasks as surveying, human and faunal remains recovery, pottery cleaning and restoration, and photography detail.
Mendes is located approximately 120 miles north of Cairo, 17 miles east of Mansourah, and 40 miles south of the Mediterranean coast. Cairo and Port Said may be reached in two hours of driving. The staff lives in a modern twenty-room field institute building, which was constructed on-site in 1992 and has electricity, running water, and plumbing.
Overnight trips will be taken to the city of Alexandria and to the pyramid fields near Cairo. There will be a day trip to Tanis and the Suez Canal as well.
Education Abroad Credits
All students must register for six credits of CAMS 492 Intermediate Field Methods (6 credits)
Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.
Dr. Donald Redford is the field director of Mendes. He is a professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and history at Penn State. He is a noted expert in ancient Egypt and is the author of several books and numerous articles. He has been featured in series and documentaries on A&E and the History Channel.
Dr. Susan Redford is a faculty lecturer at Penn State. She is the author of numerous articles and The Harem Conspiracy: The Murder of Ramesses III. As director of the Akhenaten Temple Project's Theban Tomb Survey since its inception in 1992, she has mounted annual expeditions to the Valley of the Nobles. She has been featured in documentaries on the National Geographic and Discovery channels. She will be the co director at Mendes