In the north-eastern Delta there are several archaeological sites grouped close together in an area centred around the village of el-Khata’na, which is 6km north of the town of Faqus. Two of the most important of these sites, Avaris at Tell el-Da’ba and Piramesse at Qantir, are described on separate pages.
Tell el-Qirqafa, at the southern end of this area, seems to have been an important site during the Middle Kingdom. Remains have been found of the granite entrance door of a columned chapel built some time between the reigns of Amenemhet I and Senwosret III of Dynasty XII. Recent investigations of the site show that it was probably in use at least from the Middle Kingdom through to the new Kingdom, with evidence of early Asiatic or Minoan settlers.
Ezbet Rushdi el-Saghira
Ezbet Rushdi is a little to the north of Tell el-Dab’a, on the northern bank of the ‘lake’ or flooded area of the site. King Amenemhet I of Dynasty XII chose to build a town here, possibly on the site of an earlier settlement or cult centre. The site was investigated during the 1950s by an Egyptian archaeologist and remains of a small mudbrick temple was found. The temple plan suggests standard elements of a Middle Kingdom structure of this type, including an open courtyard, pillared court and three sanctuaries, with some of the construction, such as columns and doorways built in stone. The temple seems to have been expanded by Senwosret III in a second phase of construction. During the 1990s the site was re-excavated by Dr Manfred Bietak as director of the Austrian Institute in Cairo.
Tell Abu el-Shafi’a
To the north of Qantir at a village known as Tell Abu el-Shafi’a there is the base of a seated colossal statue of Rameses II. The area around Qantir has recently been in the news after results of a lengthy geophysical survey which have almost certainly revealed the lost city of Piramesse (Per-Rameses), built by Rameses II during Dynasty XIX as his southern capital. This vast and important city, still buried beneath the modern agricultural village of Qantir, was well documented in ancient texts, but its location was not suspected until the 1920s when some decorated tiles bearing the names of early Dynasty XIX kings were discovered in the area. The statue base of Rameses II at Tell Abu el-Shafi’a could be related to his capital, or perhaps indicate the site of another temple.
Tell el-Fara’un is the site of a large mound in the north-eastern Delta, known to the ancient Egyptians as Imet and was once the capital of the 19th Lower Egyptian nome (before the capital was moved to Tanis). Other modern names for the site include Tell Nabasha and Tell Bedawi and it is situated near the village of el-Huseiniya, about halfway between Qantir and San el-Hagar (Tanis). The outlines of a large enclosure can still be seen, which once contained a mudbrick temple dedicated to the goddess Wadjet, probably constructed during the Ramesside Period. The enclosure is thought to have originally contained at least two temples, a smaller one to the north-east of the enclosure has been dated to the Late Period by foundation deposits naming King Ahmose II (Amasis) of Dynasty XXVI. Today there are few remains of structures to be seen although re-used monuments from the Middle Kingdom were also found, but may have been brought from another temple in the area.
To the south-west of the temple enclosure there are remains of a Graeco-Roman town and further to the east of this, a cemetery, which dates mostly to the Late Period. The cemetery was excavated by Petrie, who discovered a number of vaulted mudbrick tombs, some of which contained many interesting objects. Among the greatest finds Petrie found during his excavations were a grey granite sarcophagus inscribed with the name of a priest and royal prince of the Late Period, remains of a colossal seated statue of Rameses II, a Middle Kingdom granite altar and remains of two Middle Kingdom statue-thrones carved from red sandstone.