Z-basin (Fayum Desert)

Z-basin is one of the areas with neo-lithic remains identified in the Fayum Desert (north of Lake Qarun) by Gertrud Caton-Thompson in the 1930's:
This area was chosen to study the fluctuations in the level of the lake which caused artifacts to be either covered with metres of sediment or to be dramatically displaced by erosion:


Objective of visit:
  To record geological and archaeological features in and around Z-basin, using the Geographical Positioning System, to facilitate the study of the long history of the area. Also, to assist in the collection and study of the lithic artifacts scattered on the surface and the excavation of several trenches in quarternary deposits to find layers with evidence of human activity.
Date of visit:
  September/October 2003.
Fellow visitors:
  A small team of archaeologists and geologists,  directed by Willeke Wendrich (UCLA) and René Cappers (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), including two (female) trainee-inspectors of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
A large number of features were recorded and  an interactive section of Z-basin was produced. Full publication of the results is pending.
Approximate position and date of the site:   Z-basin is located on the north shore of Lake Qarun (in the Fayum Depression) between the better known sites of Karanis and Kom W, to the south-east, and Qasr al-Sagha and Dimae to the north-west. On the surface lithic artifacts were found that dated to both the Qarunian (Epipaleolithic or 'Fayum B') and the Fayumian (Neolithic or 'Fayum A') periods.
Short description of the site:   Z-basin is a depression in the desert north-east of Lake Qarun. No structures are visible on the surface which consists mostly of wind-blown sand over an eroding deposit of silt. Where the layer of sand is thin numerous stone artifacts, dating to various periods, can be seen. In the area where two trenches were excavated in a slit ridge one stone tool was found at a depth of over two metres. The alternating processes of deposition and erosion, closely related to the water level in the lake, make an understanding of the archaeology difficult and time consuming.
Additional remarks:
My work in Fayum would not have been possible without the support of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA.