Excavations at Amheida

Photo showing the general situation of Amheida taken from a height with people in silhouette in the foreground and the landscape of the Dakhleh oasis stretching away to the horizon in the backgroundThe Amheida project was started at Columbia University in 2001. Since 2008, New York University is the primary sponsoring institution, with Columbia University continuing as a partner in the project.

The excavations at Amheida collaborate with other participating groups in the Dakhleh Oasis Project, an international venture now three decades old dedicated to studying the interaction between human settlement and the environment over the long span from the earliest human presence in the oasis to modern times. Amheida itself has remains spanning nearly three millennia, and paleolithic material is found along its fringes.

Photo showing part of the excavation area at Amheida: people are seen standing and working in the foreground, a portion of a ruined mud-brick structure is visible behind them, with scattered trees behind that and the escarpment of the Libyan plateau rising in the backgroundThe excavations so far have focused on three areas of this very large site: a centrally located upper-class fourth-century AD house with wall paintings, an adjoining school, and underlying remains of a Roman bath complex; a more modest house of the third century; and the temple hill, with remains of the Temple of Thoth built in the first century AD and of earlier structures. Architectural conservation has protected and partly restored two standing funerary monuments, a mud-brick pyramid and a tower tomb, both of the Roman period. A recreation of the fourth-century house has been built near the site entrance as a future visitor center, and a protective enclosure for the decorated blocks from the temple has been built with support from the American Research Center in Egypt.

In 2022, the leadership of the project passed from Prof. Roger Bagnall as director and Prof. Paola Davoli as archaeological director to Dr. David M. Ratzan (director) and Prof. Nicola Aravecchia (archaeological director).

We invite you to follow our work:

  • Twitter @AmheidaProject
  • Instagram @amheida.project

The project director, David M. Ratzan, can be reached at:

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
New York University
15 East 84th Street
New York, NY 10028

Telephone: (212) 992-7832
Fax: (212) 992-7809
Email: david.ratzan@nyu.edu