Rock inscriptions in the Aswan region

The rocky Cataract region in southern Egypt has long fascinated visitors. Even members of the ancient Egyptian elite left their marks on the rocky surfaces for millennia. Therefore, Elephantine Island and the surrounding isles were in the focus of research since the 19th century. This spring, a DAI team from our Cairo Department set out to take some more photos of rock inscriptions. Armed with a set of cameras, a workstation, and 3-D-modelling software, the researchers tried to put the carvings in the right light to produce 3-dimensional models of them.

The team had to get up early every day so that the harsh rays of the sun would not block their view. But the sun was not the only problem they faced: many of the inscriptions are difficult if not impossible to access directly. Sometimes balancing and climbing were required; one day the team even worked from a boat! Another logistic issue arose, when it became clear that the electricity the workstation required would only be available in the dighouse. So, working meant running back and forth to the German House to check the picture quality and the freshly calculated 3-D models. What an effective workout! At the end of the day, a hearty meal, breathtaking views, and, of course, the fascinating models rewarded the researchers for their efforts.

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