Tell el-Balamun: A City of the Nile Delta of Egypt


Map of the location of Tell el-Balamun in the Nile Delta

The archaeological site of Tell el-Balamun lies in the middle of typical agricultural land of the Egyptian Delta, at Latitude 31 15 31N, 31 34 17E. The site consists of an area of undulating mounds, over a kilometre in diameter, and rising to a maximum elevation of almost 18 metres above the surrounding fields. It has been under investigation by an expedition sponsored by the British Museum since 1991. The only previous work was carried out by Howard Carter in 1913 (MSS in Griffith Institute, Oxford) and Francis Ghattas (Mansura University) in 1977-78.

The large and relatively intact mound is the site of the ancient city of Smabehdet, known in the New Kingdom also as Paiuenamon, with a temple enclosure on the south and high occupation mounds to the north and west. The western mound is Roman with occupation down to beginning of sixth century AD. The eastern mound is dynastic, with surface material dating mostly from the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

Temple foundations of Sheshonq III, Psamtik I and Nekhtnebef, dated by foundation-deposits, have been identified, together with enclosure walls of dynasties 26 and 30. Part of a Ramesside temple enclosure-wall was found in 1998, cut by the tomb of Lower Egyptian Vizier named Iken dating from 900 BC. Other tombs were found nearby in an elite cemetery at the front of the Ramesside temple, to the left of the axis.


Send any enquiries about the British Museum excavation at Tell el-Balamun to:

Please include "Balamun" in the subject line.