Bir Handosi

An overview of ancient settlement Bir Handosi looking east. A relatively modern Bedouin graveyard was discovered across the wadi:
Plan of the part of Bir Handosi where the ancient buildings have been remodeled in more recent times, probably by Bedouin herdsmen: 


Objective of visit:
To draw a measured plan of the site and study the surface remains (including the ceramic finds).
Date of visit:
  - June 1999
Fellow visitors:
  Prof.Dr. Steve Sidebotham (University of Delaware) and Faragallah (our Bedouin guide).
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. Our plans and description were published in: S.E. Sidebotham, H. Barnard and G. Pyke; Five enigmatic late Roman settlements in the Eastern Desert; Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 2002; vol. 88: pp. 187-225.
Approximate position and date of the site:   Bir Handosi in the southern part of the Egyptian desert, between the Quft-Quseir and Edfu-Marsa Alam asphalt roads. Surface pottery dated to the late Roman period (ca. 300 - 600 AD).
Short description of the site:   Bir Handosi was settlement of simple huts in a dead-end wadi, far from any ancient roads, mines or quarries. Surface finds were limited to potsherds and a tombstone in Arabic which renders the function of the settlement enigmatic.
Additional remarks:
The reason for the existence of Bir Handosi might have been the hunting or gathering of yet unknown commodities or the temporary residence for political or religious refugees. At some point in time, Islamic visitors (probably Bedouin herdsmen) remodeled some of the ancient structures. There is a functioning well just west of the settlement which was most likely also operational when Bir Handosi was inhabited. Our work was sponsored by the University of Delaware and private donors.