History of the Tell el-Dab'a Wall Painting Project - The Wall Paintings of Tell el-Dab'a

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History of the Tell el-Dab'a Wall Painting Project

The study of the wall paintings was initiated directly after their discovery at the beginning of the 1990s as a project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, supported by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP). As Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palyvou started their work, the newly excavated material was considered as a sensation within the archaeological community. Conservation, study and reconstruction were then focused on the bull-leaping and bull-grappling scenes, which were published as a volume in 2007. Within the framework of this project, the first technical studies were conducted by Rudolfine Seeber and Ann Brysbaert. In the late 1990s Katherina Aslanidou and Lyvia Morgan started to work in the project. The former was studying the large-scale male figures of H/I, the miniature paintings of H/IV, and different ‘decoration schemes’ of H/III and H/IV as the subject of her PhD, while Lyvia Morgan’s work concentrated on the hunt scenes. Together with Nanno Marinatos she analysed the small-scale felines, published in articles in 2010. Her work is currently continuing with the small-scale hunting scenes. Also since the 1990s the so-called ‘ashlar-imitation’ of ‘Palace F’ is being studied by Clairy Palyvou with the support of students of the architectural department of the University of Thessaloniki. Constance von Rüden joined the team in 2007, focusing on the organisation of a comprehensive documentation, which should pave the way to an integrated study of the material, including conservation, contextual analysis as well as technical and iconographical studies. The additional financial support of the German Archaeological Institute in 2009 permitted the inclusion of several students in the study as well as further analyses to support the conservational work. Since 2012 the study is embedded in a project of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which aims to compare different sites with similar characteristics in Western Asia, Egypt and the Aegean.

Fragment of the Bull-Leaping Scene
M. Bietak, N. Marinatos and C. Palyvou, Taureador Scenes in
Tell el-Dab’a (Avaris) and Knossos, UZK 27 (Vienna 2007) 95
(digital reconstruction by M. A. Negrete-Martínez).
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