An Egyptian- American archaeological mission from Yale University succeeded to found an extensive flint working areas revealing several periods, during the investigation of Bir Umm Tineidba area, located at the juncture of Wadi Hilal road within Elkab Desert Survey Project.
Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities explains that the mission has
discovered a wealth of archaeological and epigraphic material: extensive flint working areas revealing several periods of activity; numerous concentrations of rock art, primarily of Predynastic and Protodynastic date; burial tumuli of the Protodynastic Period; and another thus far unrecorded Late Roman "enigmatic" settlement,
He pointed out that the importance of this site which is known a lost "Oasis" of Ancient Activity in the Eastern Desert and newly recognized ancient well site at Bir Umm Tineidba, a veritable "oasis" in the Eastern Desert, is due to represent important archaeological and epigraphic site in an area of the Eastern Desert formerly believed to be devoid of major ancient remains.
John Coleman Darnell, head of the Yale University Mission said that the mission has found at least three concentrations of rock art presented in the Wadi Umm Tineidba. The rock art at these sites reveals important tableaux of Naqada II and Naqada III/Dynasty 0 date (ca. 3500-3100 BCE), providing evidence for the continuity and interaction of artistic styles of the Eastern Desert and Nile Valley. One particularly impressive image (probably from ca. 3300 BCE) includes large depictions of animals, including a bull, a giraffe, an addax, a barbary sheep, and donkeys. At a time immediately before the invention of the hieroglyphic script, rock art such as this provides important clues to the religion and symbolic communication of Predynastic Egyptians. The large addax in particular deserves to be added to the artistic achievements of early Egypt.
He added that the Wadi of Umm Tineidba is also the location of several burial tumuli that appear to belong to desert dwellers with physical ties to both the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. Investigation of one of the tumuli, which we now know was the burial place of a woman of about 25-35 years of age at the time of her death. She was probably one of the local desert elite, and was buried with at least one Marl A-1vessel of standard "Nilotic" style, and a strand of Red Sea shells and carnelian beads, alluding to her desert and Red Sea associations. Additional tumuli at the site may reveal further evidence concerning these desert people.
He continued that the newly discovered material at Bir Umm Tineidba is important in revealing a desert population coming under increasing influence from the Nile Valley during the time of Dynasty 0. The rock art shows the adoption of Nile Valley imagery, and the proper understanding of that imagery, by a group whose earlier art has more in common with that of other Eastern Desert sites. The importance of the Bir Umm Tineidba rock art and burial tumuli for understanding the integration of "marginal" groups into the early pharaonic culture and state is considerable.
To the south of the rock inscription and tumuli sites, we located a Late Roman settlement with dozens of stone structures. The ceramic evidence as well as comparative material indicates that the site dates to between 400 and 600 CE. This Late Roman site complements the evidence for similar archaeological sites in the Eastern Desert, and once again fills a gap in an area once blank on the archaeological map of the Eastern Desert. Probably associated with the ancient people whom Egyptian and later Roman documents call the Blemmyes.
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