The BORDERSCAPE Project: A Kazimierz Michałowski Memorial Lecture by Maria Carmela Gatto

The Director of the PCMA UW Research Centre in Cairo invites to a lecture by Dr. Maria Carmela Gatto “The BORDERSCAPE project Egyptian state formation and the changing socio-spatial landscape of the First Cataract in the 4th and 3rd millennia BCE”.

Abstract: “The talk introduces a new research project established at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences and funded by the Polish National Research Centre and the Norway Grants. BORDERSCAPE is a multidisciplinary project that aims at investigating how the rise of the Egyptian state at the end of the 4th millennium BCE impacted and transformed the social and spatial landscape of the First Nile Cataract region. A revolutionary process such as that of state formation entailed profound changes in the socio-economic structure of Ancient Egypt, known to be the earliest territorial polity of human history, more so at its newly established borders.

The project develops along two lines of research, one applying a spatial perspective, including insights from geospatial analysis, the other focusing on ethnicity and identity, an approach in line with an anthropological perspective. Three are the research objectives: to reconstruct the ancient settlement landscape; to define patterns of land use; to investigate changes in group affiliation of the local population. Another pivotal goal is to comprehend how the changes occurring in Egypt affected the socio-political dynamics in Nubia, as well as the interplay between the two neighbours.

Dr. Maria Carmela Gatto is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, where she directs the BORDERSCAPE Project. Previously she held research and teaching positions in Egyptology and Archaeology at the University of Leicester, University of Birmingham, Yale University and at the British Museum. In recent years, Dr. Gatto has been a Visiting Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, a Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bologna, and a Guest Lecturer in Prehistory at the Sapienza University of Rome. Since 2017, she is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History of the University of Leicester. Dr. Gatto’s research explores processes of interregional interaction, cultural contact, human-environment interaction, and socio-political dynamics in the Nile Valley and the Sahara. She has worked extensively in North Africa and since 2005 she is the PI and co-director of the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project in Egypt, a joint venture between the University of Bologna and Yale University.

The Kazimierz Michałowski Memorial Lecture Series is organized by the PCMA Research Centre in Cairo to commemorate the life of Kazimierz Michałowski, a pioneer of Polish archaeological research in Egypt and the founder of Polish Mediterranean archaeology.

  • Thursday, 24th May 2022, at 6 pm (EET)

The lecture will be held at the PCMA UW Research Centre in Cairo (11 Mahalla st., Heliopolis, Cairo). Please, write to to attend in person (the number of places is limited).