The present day appearance of the site
Kom Firin, previously located at the edge of the desert, is now surrounded by intensively farmed land (above, right). A small village lies adjacent to the southern edge of the site. The lake just west of the village is coloured red through the run-off of chemical fertiliser from the surrounding fields, and attests to the high level of the water table.
Much of the site consists of gently undulating terrain with no visible surface features, and covered with areas of halfa-grass. However, several parts present a different appearance.
The central part of the site (left), west of the SCA resthouse and magazine, was termed the 'citadel' by Flinders Petrie, on account of its elevated position and the presence of multi-roomed mud-brick structures on the surface. Petrie believed this area was a later foundation, on top of a sand mound, but analysis of the open sections revealed evidence of earlier phases of building activity in this area. Excavations here in 2007 and 2008 revealed well-preserved houses of the 7th through 5th centuries BC.
The south-eastern part of the site is formed of pedestals of archaeological fill and remnants of mud-brick structures, created through the removal of parts of the mound to use as agricultural fertiliser (a common practice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). The traces of the narrow-gauge railway track built to remove the deposits are still visible today, along the access track from the nearby road. Excavation and survey work focused on this area between 2003 and 2008.