Pseudo script in Gebel el Silsila, a query into quarry marks, characters, codes and magic

Project Details

Layman's description

For the first time in a comprehensive form, the project aims to document, categorise and analyse Graeco-Roman engraved marks (‘quarry marks’) in the ancient Egyptian quarry of Gebel el Silsila for the purpose of identifying who was responsible for making these stone cuttings and why.

For the first time in a comprehensive form, the project aims to document, categorise and analyse Graeco-Roman engraved marks (‘quarry marks’) in the ancient Egyptian quarry of Gebel el Silsila for the purpose of identifying who was responsible for making these stone cuttings and why. Contextual inscriptions date primarily to the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. Although the traditional identification of these marks has always centred around masons or stone cutters, other options will also be explored, including a more religious or superstitious significance: this is expressed in the proposed project title ‘quarry marks, characters, codes and magic’. While these marks are commonly dismissed as (simple) masons’ marks, they have never been fully classified or studied, thus resulting in a possible misconception of their meaning and function. The marks are studied here according to an interdisciplinary approach, combining the concepts of classicism, Egyptology and art history with an iconographical and semantic analysis of form and appearance and an iconological, linguistic and hermeneutic analysis of meaning and function. The marks will be compared with contemporary characters on magical amulets and papyri, contemporary textual signs and with later masons’ marks as well as contextual material, such as Greek and demotic inscriptions and archaeological material in order to understand their function and meaning. A comprehensive database will be created.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2012/01/012015/12/31