The American Research Center in Eygpt

Qurna Area, Deir el-Shelwit and Mut Temple Improvements

Qurna Area, Deir el-Shelwit and Mut Temple Improvements

Qurna Area, Deir el-Shelwit and Mut Temple Improvements

Director: John Shearman
February 2012 - ongoing

Updated: February 2014


ARCE's Qurna Site Improvement project (QSI), funded by USAID, was developed in response to both the demolition of the hamlets in Sheikh Abd el Qurna and el Khokha, and the economic crisis that followed the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

Read more about this project >>


This archaeological field school in 2013 taught the fundamental concepts central to archaeology, basic excavation and survey techniques, solid recording and archive practices, and the interpretation of a variety of materials. The field school was divided into two duplicate, eight-week sessions. Read more about this training >>

Captializing on the work of the field school, the original entrance to the tomb was cleared and opened. Read more about the archaeology >>


The conservation of the central shrine in the Temple of Isis at Deir el Shelwit is providing another opportunity for conservation training. This Roman temple dates to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD and is amongst the last of the temples built in Egypt. The temple's exterior is unfinished and the interior wall surfaces are convered in a thick layer of dirt and soot.

Work here has included humanely relocating a colony of bats, a thorough condition survey of the shrine ceiling and walls, and a series of cleaning tests and conservation treatment trials. It is expected that extensive original paint remains.

The conservation field school continued for a second season in 2013 where students learned how best to organize their materials and workflow. They also benefited from lectures and exercises on conservation treatment trials and the ethics of conservation.

During the 2013 season a supervisor training was also conducted.

A full photographic record was maintained of the work before, during, and after its completion.


In 2013, ARCE paved the temple axis with sandstone paving and is working now on the walkways inside the temple as well as electrical work for new lighting. It is anticipated that in the future Mut Temple will be reopened to visitors.

Read more about the work of ARCE member Johns Hopkins University at Mut Temple >>


In early January 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Organization held a conference in Luxor to focus attention on boosting this crucial aspect of the Egyptian economy. A highlight of the conference included the opening of two ARCE projects: Deir el Shelwit, including the newly conserved Isis Temple, on Luxor’s west bank and the Mut Temple Precinct, part of the larger Karnak Temple complex on the east bank. Read more >>

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