The Gurob Harem Palace Project

The Gurob Harem Palace Project is an international collaborative multidisciplinary field project in Egypt studying the urban and funerary remains at the ‘harem town’ of Mi-wer in the Faiyum region of Egypt. The project began in 2005 and was funded primarily by the Carlsberg Foundation.

About the Project

One crucial way to try to understand the nature of an Egyptian harem of the New Kingdom, as well as the whole community and socio-economic infrastructure that developed around such an institution, is to study a place that has yielded both archaeological and textual evidence for a harem. Gurob (or Medinet el-Gurob: “City of the Crows”) represents precisely such an opportunity – it is a New Kingdom settlement and cemetery site at the south-eastern end of the Faiyum region that was occupied from at least the early 18th Dynasty until the late Ramessid period. Many aspects of the inscriptions, papyri and archaeological remains suggest that the principal raison d’être of this settlement was to maintain an important royal harem.


The principal aims of the project are:

  • To excavate selected areas of the site
  • To produce an accurate 1:1000 topographical and archaeological map of the site as a whole, combining GIS so as to allow our growing databases of ceramics, small finds and lithics to be mapped onto the visible surface features
  • To create more detailed plans of the main points of archaeological interest in the settlement and cemeteries
  • To produce a basic modern corpus of pottery at the site
  • To use satellite photographs, geophysical methods, core-drilling and surface examination to gain a better understanding of the original architecture and ancient activities, as well as the relationship between the site of Gurob and its landscape and environment.
  • The vast majority of the ceramic material covering the surface of the site dates to the mid- to late New Kingdom, affording considerable potential to analyse chronological and functional patterns across the site through the study of such material

Funding and support

We are grateful to the following institutions for generously funding and facilitating our work at the site:

and the Universities of Liverpool and Copenhagen for generously funding and/or facilitating our work at the site.

Reports and bibliography

For annual reports, full bibliography and further details, see the Gurob Harem Palace Project website.

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