Karanis Housing Project
about the project

------ Meet the Team ------

Karanis was a Greco-Roman town located in the Fayum region of Egypt. The settlement was founded around the third century BCE, likely under Ptolemy II Philadelphus, and was inhabited into the sixth or seventh century CE.

The site was primarily excavated by a team from the University of Michigan, led by Francis W. Kelsey, from 1924 - 1935. When Kelsey arrived, local farmers had been obtaining government permits to remove nitrogen-rich soil from the site to use as fertilizer (sebbakh) removing most of the center of the ancient settlement. The Michigan team undertook a thorough excavation of the areas that remained intact, cataloging each artifact and noting where exactly each item was discovered.

The excavation records, which include detailed field journals, excavation diaries, maps, plans, photographs and even a moving picture, are currently kept at the Kelsey Museum at the University of Michigan. The Karanis Housing Project aims to make much of the legacy data available to a broad audience: scholars wishing to work on artifacts and papyri that were recovered from the site as well as lay public interested in archaeology. End-users of the Karanis Geographic Information System will to be able to both search for the contents of specific buildings and also identify all instances of particular classes of objects or specific finds, spatially locating them in the digital map of the site. This will permit high-level analyses of the data, including neighborhood and network studies, revision of the stratigraphic record of the site, and assessment of archaeological distribution patterns and depositional sequences. (Wesson and Cottier 2014; Cooper and Green 2015). The formal goals of the project are:

    To develop a digital map of the site that translates the analog, hand drawn maps into a GIS format
    To generate a relational database with clear descriptions of the artifacts and papyri recovered from the site
    To populate the digital map with lists of finds, each associated with its respective archaeological findspot
    To link the finds from the relational database with external data sources, such as the Kelsey Museum artifacts database, Trismegistos.org, and Pleiades
    To make the GIS and artifact data available through an online platform and an associated webpage

This information summarizes the goals of the Karanis Housing Project. You can read a detailed white paper about the project here: Karanis Housing Project White Paper