Tuna el-Gebel is situated about 300 km south of Cairo, in Middle Egypt, on the western side of the Nile. It is the necropolis of Hermopolis Magna, ancient capital of the 15th nome and cult centre of Thot, god of writing and sciences. The archaeological site of Tuna el-Gebel is particularly known for its Greco-Roman necropolis and the ibiotapheion, one of the largest animal cemeteries of pharaonic Egypt. In the course of almost a millennium, millions of ibises and baboons, representing the god Thot, were buried in the vast catacombs. Since 1989, the objectives of the Tuna el-Gebel project at the Institute for Egyptology and Coptology of the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, work-ing in cooperation with the Faculty of Archaeology of Cairo University, have been to explore the architectural development of the animal cemetery and related religious and administrative buildings.Since 2002 the principal investigations have been concentrate on the site to the east of the underground galleries. A processional way leads from the animal necropolis to the remains of the ancient town, the Kom el-Loli, where priests and craftsmen of the religious association of the animal cemetery had lived. The preliminary plan of the geophysical prospection of this area, con-ducted by the University of Kiel, revealed that, to the north and south of this processional way, huge mud-brick building complexes lay side by side under sand mounds.

Tuna el Gebel (Egypt)