Based on Edouard Naville's 1888 report to the Egypt Exploration Society in London; about the ancient Egyptian site of Terenouthis; and the artifacts said to come from there in the Cairo Museum. Enoch E. Peterson (Director of the Kelsey Museum 1950-1971) initiated a surface exploration of the site, 1 km southwest of the modern town of El-Tarrana, in October 1934.
Terenouthis had once been a thriving commercial center on the central western edge of the Nile delta (about 70 km northwest of Cairo), but today lies below 1800 years of debris from Nile floods and successive human occupations. As early as the 1870's, tantalizing fragments of a Ptolemaic temple of Hathor Mafkat, and a temple of the same period of Apollo were reported. By the end of the last century, numerous artifacts attributed to Terenouthis and its nearby necropolis of Kom Abou Billou, had begun to turn up at the Cairo Museum; giving further indications of the importance of the site.
Encouraged both by the initial indications and the encouragement of the noted English archaeologist R. Engelbach, Peterson set about securing the necessary permissions from the University of Michigan's Near East Research Committee, and from the Egyptian Antiquities Services. Receiving these, for the next thirty-five days, the Michigan archaeological team supervised hundreds of local workers trenching and clearing three key areas of the cemetery. From the outset it was apparent to Peterson that the site had suffered pillaging at the hands of both antiqua hunters and the sebakhin or "compost hunters."
Excavations of Kom Abou Billou, the necropolis of Terenouthis; revels it to be one of Egypts oldest. Containing burials from the time of Pharaoh Pepy I (2,300 B.C.) of which an alabaster vase, inscribed with his name was discovered. And continuing in constant use, through the Graeco-Roman period. The artifacts below are from that period.
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