The Dayr al-Barsha Project (2002-present) is an international and interdisciplinary research endeavor directed by the Egyptology department at Leuven University, Belgium. The site of Dayr al-Barsha in Middle Egypt, from which the project derives its name, is in fact only one of several archaeological sites in the region that are under study by the project. These pages present an overview of the project's approaches and the results that have been attained thus far. Plans, information about past excavation seasons, a selection of photographs, and a list of publications can also be found here. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, remarks, or suggestions.

New article by Harco Willems

A new article by Harco Willems has just appeared:

Willems, H., 'Die Grabkammer des Djehutinakht (I.?) in Dayr al-Barshā – methodologische Aspekte der Rekonstruktion des Ablaufs des Bestattungsrituals anhand eines neuentdeckten Beispiels.' in: A.H. Pries (ed.) Die Variation der Tradition. Modalitäten der Ritualadaption im Alten Ägypten. Akten des Internationalen Symposions vom 25.-28. November 2012 in Heidelberg (Orientalia lovaniensia analecta 240: Leuven, 2016), 133-170.

GoFundMe campaign for the antiquities guards of Dayr al-Barsha 

On Saturday 20 February, in the middle of the night, the antiquities guards of Dayr al-Barsha (Middle Egypt) were confronted with a gang of tomb robbers who were looting one of the tombs at the site. In an ensuing exchange of fire, one of the guards, Ashrawy, was killed, while two others were injured. Yesterday we were informed that the second guard, Mustafa Ali, who was badly injured, also passed away. Both men did not deserve such a fate, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

Ghafir Ashrawy

We were shocked to be informed today of the death of our ghafir Ashrawy. As far as our information goes, some antiquities looters were apprehended by Ashrawy and two other guards. In an ensuing exchange of fire, Ashrawy got killed, the two others were injured. Ashrawy has been with us as a guard since the start of the KU Leuven mission to Dayr al-Barsha. He was a very loyal and gentle man (and, in fact, a gentleman). He would have deserved a better fate. Our thoughts are with his family.

PhD defense Athena Van der Perre

On Thursday 25 November Athena Van der Perre succesfully defended her PhD dissertation "Stone for Amarna. The Use of ancient limestone quarries in the Greater Dayr al-Barsha Region". Congratulations, dr. Van der Perre!


Study day: Djehutihotep. 100 years of excavating in Egypt

In 1915, the American archaeologist George Reisner began excavations in the Egyptian village of Dayr al-Barsha. A hundred years later, a KU Leuven team carries on the excavations. This centennial is the occasion for an exhibition about how archaeology was pursued in Egypt a hundred years ago, and how this work continues to impact on modern research.

Exhibit: Djehutihotep. 100 Years of Excavating in Egypt

On 5 November 2015 an exhibit about the research history at the site of Dayr al-Barsha will open in the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels, titled 'Djehoetihotep. 100 jaar opgravingen in Egypte'. This exhibit is organised by the Egyptology department of the KU Leuven and its students. More info can be found at (in Dutch).

Looting of the tomb of Djehutihotep

Two weeks ago, the Egyptological world was shocked by tweets by Monica Hanna about the looting and extensive destruction of the tomb of Djehutihotep at Dayr al-Barsha. According to some reports, entire walls with relief decoration would have been removed, and one report even suggested the dig house had been looted.

Benefietavond Djehoetihotep

De studenten archeologie en egyptologie van de KU Leuven nodigen u van harte uit op hun Egyptische benefietavond ten voordele van de tentoonstelling ‘Djehoetihotep. 100 jaar opgravingen in Egypte’ (zie de flyer onderaan voor meer info). De tentoonstelling wordt georganiseerd in samenwerking met de afdeling Egyptologie van de KU Leuven en het Jubelparkmuseum te Brussel. Om dit unieke project op poten te kunnen zetten kunnen wij nog een duwtje in de rug gebruiken!

Wat mag u verwachten?

New Publication

Véronique De Laet, Gertrud van Loon, Athena Van der Perre, Iris Deliever, Harco Willems, 'Integrated remote sensing investigations of ancient quarries and road systems in the Greater Dayr al-Barsha Region, Middle Egypt: a study of logistics', Journal of Archaeological Science 55 (2015), 286-300.



Excellence Cluster Topoi

Gertrud van Loon was awarded a  fellowship to Berlin by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut and in the framework of Topoi-Cluster B3 and B4. For the project Dayr Anba Hadra, a medieval monastery on the West Bank of Aswan, she will document and study the paintings in the church, the cave and the monastic complex. An important aspect is the relationship iconographical programme – function of space.