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 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.


Marleen De Meyer: Les tombeaux des nomarques d’el-Bercheh : iconographie et matériel funéraire

"Journée d’étude: l’Égypte de Sésostris III" at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, France (18 October 2014)

All information available here.

Old Kingdom funerary mask featured in KU Leuven Campuskrant (September 2014)

 (cllick to enlarge)

html version:


Marleen De Meyer: "Het late Oude Rijk in Dayr al-Barsha: Recente resultaten van opgravingen op de zuidheuvel"

30 september (Leuven) &  2 oktober (Gent). Voor details, zie onderaan.

Dayr al-Barsha Project featured in the upcoming exhibit 'Sesostris III, pharaon de légende' at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille

From 9 October 2014 to 25 January 2015 an exhibition about Sesostris III will feature an almost life-size replica of the tomb chapel of Djehutihotep at Dayr al-Barsha. More information about the exhibit can be found at the site of the Palais des Beaux-Arts. For a teaser of the exhibit, see this Youtube video.

Remote sensing research at Dayr al-Barsha

On 16 June 2014 a number of our project members presented the results of their remote sensing research at the 34th EARSeL Symposium in Warsaw, Poland: European Remote Sensing - New Opportunities for Science and Practice. This research was carried out within the APLADYN project: a Belgian Science Policy project on anthropogenic and landscape dynamics in large fluvial systems. The abstracts of these talks can be found here.


New book

Willems, H., 2014. Historical and Archaeological Aspects of Egyptian Funerary Culture. Religious Ideas and Ritual Practice in Middle Kingdom Elite Cemeteries (CHANE 73: Leiden, Brill).

Historical and Archaeological Aspects of Egyptian Funerary Culture, a thoroughly reworked translation of Les textes des sarcophages et la démocratie published in 2008, challenges the widespread idea that the “royal” Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom after a process of “democratisation” became, in the Middle Kingdom, accessible even to the average Egyptian in the form of the Coffin Texts. Rather they remained an element of elite funerary culture, and particularly so in the Upper Egyptian nomes. The author traces the emergence here of the so-called “nomarchs” and their survival in the Middle Kingdom. The site of Dayr al-Barshā, currently under excavation, shows how nomarch cemeteries could even develop into large-scale processional landscapes intended for the cult of the local ruler. This book also provides an updated list of the hundreds of (mostly unpublished) Middle Kingdom coffins and proposes a new reference system for these.

To order, click here.

Reactie op recente persberichten over hoe de Egyptenaren zware stenen verplaatsten (2)

Onlangs verschenen deze artikels in Nederlandse kranten over het verslepen van zware stenen in het Oude Egypte, als reactie op recente persberichten over dit onderwerp:

24 mei 2014: De Volkskrant

23 mei 2014 Vervoerden oude Egyptenaren piramidestenen wel over nat zand? Wetenschappers KU Leuven betwisten onderzoek

10 mei 2014: NRC Handelsblad