One of the larger structures, comprising several rooms and an enclosed yard, in the desert settlement Bukhelug. The quartz vein that was excavated here in antiquity is behind this building, across the very narrow wadi:
Several of the smaller structures in Bukhelug, usually only comprising a single room, were constructed at the edge of the very narrow wadi around naturally placed boulders:


Objective of visit:
To draw a measured plan of the site and study the surface remains (including the ceramic finds).
Date of visit:
  - July 1996
- August 1997
Fellow visitors:
  Prof.Dr. Steve Sidebotham (University of Delaware) and Saleh Ali (our bedouin guide).
Results: A survey was performed using the Global Positioning System, a theodolite and steel tape measures. Off-site assistance was given by pottery expert Dr. Roberta Tomber (Museum of London). No excavations took place. A full publication of this site is pending.
Approximate position and date of the site:   Bukhelug is in the central part of the Egyptian Eastern desert, just south of the Qena-Safaga asphalt road and just east of Bir Sirbakis. Surface pottery dated to the Ptolemaic period (ca. 330 - 30 BC) but the find of a scarab with the name of Psamtek II (ca. 600 BC) may indicate that the settlement was inhabited even before that.
Short description of the site:   Bir Sirbakis was a gold mine which was operational in Ptolemaic times. There are many remains of ancient structures built around a large area where a quartz vein was excavated in order to extract gold.
Additional remarks: Apart from the large central mining area, at the north side of the wadi,  there are numerous smaller excavations. Not many pounders or grinding stones were seen, but a channel for separating the gold from the quartz (either with water or mercury) was preserved. Our work was sponsored by the University of Delaware and private donors.