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Assistant Professor Laurel Bestock, director.
The site of Abydos, located in southern Egypt, was of central importance for more than 3000 years of pharaonic history. Abydos was the seat of the first kings of Egypt, who started as local and regional rulers before uniting the country into a single state for the first time. The kings of the First Dynasty built their tombs and associated temples at Abydos even after establishing a new capital of the country, far to the north. In part because of this association with early kingship, Abydos was believed by later generations to be the seat of the god Osiris, ruler of the underworld. As such, the site was home to a major Osiris temple and annual religious festival, and was venerated by all Egyptians as a place key to achieving a successful afterlife. Royal and private monuments abound attesting to the importance of this festival and the pilgrimages dead individuals hoped to take to Abydos.
Brown’s current excavations concentrate on both the very early and the very late history of Abydos, dealing with First Dynasty royal mortuary temples and monumental Ptolemaic graves and animal hypogea. In addition to shedding light on these periods, we hope to come to a better understanding of the patterns of use of the site as a whole over its long history.