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d’archéologie orientale du Caire


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Qal‘at Cheikh Hammâm

The site and its important:
The citadel of Sheikh al-’Arab Hammām is located in Qena Governorate, near the village of Al-ʿArakī, about 6 km southwest of Farshût. The site is remarkable for the presence of the citadel which faces the wadi el-Ḥūl, which leads to Darb el-Arbaʿīn, the famous camel trail on which caravans have continued to circulate since remote times in the history of the Egypt. Never excavated to this day, this site constitutes a unique example of military fortifications from the Ottoman period that have survived in Upper Egypt (el- Ṣaʿīd).
The personality of Sheikh el-ʿArab Hammām:
The site is deeply linked to the name of Sheikh al-ʿArab Hammām, Prince Šaraf ad-Dawla Hammām ibn Yūsuf ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Hammām known as Cheikh al-ʿArab, one of the eminent personalities of the Ṣaʿīd born in 1709 (1121 H.) in Farshût and died in 1769 (1183 H.). Historian El-Jabartī wrote about him:
“The great and glorious man is dead. It was a refuge for the poor and the princes, a shelter for the elders and the nobles. The Sheikh of the Arabs, the Prince, the Honor of the State Hammām ibn Yūsuf ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Hammām ibn Ṣubeih ibn Sībīh al-Hawārī, great of the land of Ṣaʿīd whose goodness and righteousness covered the near and far ... "
Sheikh al-ʿArab Hammām extended his power over much of Ṣaʿīd, from Minyā to Aswan, and chose Farshût as his capital. Building what can be called a state by establishing a diwān to run the affairs of the territories under his control, he formed a military force made up of Bedouin Hawâra and Mamluks fleeing the power of ʿAly Bey el-Kebīr. The latter sent three armies to fight him until his fall. In this, Sheikh Hammām is one of the figures with central influence in Egypt in the second half of the 18th century.
Site description:
The site consists of the remains of the citadel of Sheikh el-ʿArab Hammām, destroyed in 1769 by Muhammad Bey Abū al-Ḏahab during a battle and then ruined by the action of time and sand winds. Large in area, it is made up of palaces, houses and various outbuildings. The citadel was built of mud bricks and its walls are about 6.m high. It consists of two separate buildings, main and secondary, flanked by defensive towers, and includes stores, grain mills and barracks.
What has been accomplished in the 2020 season:
1- At the first excavation team conducted an archaeological survey of the entire site in order to develop an archaeological vision of what the excavation and excavation work could reach, and it was found that the site is promising and so big, and to facilitate the documentation work, it was divided in principle into a number of sectors starting from A to L.
2- The mission success to make a map of the site, on which the archaeological evidence that resulted from the archaeological survey has been signed, and the following has been found:
A- The total area of the site is about 32 acres, not 18 acres, and 6 shares, as mentioned in the papers of Ministerial Resolution No. 2661 of 2011, as well as the papers of the Minister of Culture 661 for the year 2011 to register the site
B- The archaeological evidence is already distributed over the entire site with a total area of 32 acres, which is the actual current boundary of the site.

Les Séminaires Riwaq
Le jeudi 25 février 2021

The Excavation of Qal'at Sheikh al-ʿArab Hammām