The starting point for the comprehensive study of Graeco-Roman epigraphy at Gebel el-Silsila was a spontaneous visit in 2007 as part of a larger research journey, when the authors were astounded by the enormous amount of engraved symbolic quarry marks and their textual context. It became evident that the previous canon of Graeco-Roman graffiti, published by W. Spiegelberg and F. Preisgke in 1915 (Graff. Silsile), was in need of revision in order to present a complete corpus. Also, R.A. Caminos’ collated material and any hypotheses based thereon remained unpublished and unavailable for the public. For this, J. Ward and M. Nilsson made a series of field surveys in the following years and, at the time of the Egyptian revolution (2011), they had accumulated more than 3000 quarry marks and nearly 800 Greek and demotic textual graffiti. Following new regulations in 2012, they were granted the concession to lead a new epigraphic expedition. The first field season took place in September 2012, where they were joined by A. Almásy as demotist, Shihat Mohammadin as driver/cook/helper of all kinds and Mr. Ashraf as the assigned inspector. The documentation continued during the following three years in the field, followed by post-processing in the office. The current monograph is the first volume of three dealing with Graeco-Roman epigraphy on the east bank of Gebel el-Silsila. The following two volumes will cover the demotic texts and quarry marks respectively. Demotic texts and quarry marks will be included within the current volume as contextual documents, but will not receive special commentary, which is reserved for their respective publications.
The authors would like to thank the Permanent Committee and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Mostafa Waziri and Dr. Khaled El-Anani, for granting the concession to work at Gebel el-Silsila. Special gratitude needs to be offered to Dr. Abdel Moniem, General Director of Aswan and Nubia, who put at the disposal of the expedition his generosity, understanding, and efficiency. His official director Mr. Mostafa Bedawi, and all the inspectors, especially Ashraf Mohamed, Mohamed Ibrahim and Mohamed Mohsen, have been nothing but supportive and helpful and are considered part of the ‘Silsila family’. This is true also for the entire Silsila team and our respective families! We owe special gratitude to Prof. Willy Clarysse, Dr. Michael Zellmann-Rohrer and Mr. Cary Martin for their valuable comments, advice and proof reading, without which this volume would not have been completed.
Of course, none of this work would have been possible without financial patrons, for which acknowledgement and thankfulness is due to Vetenskapsrådet (#2012–00337; #2015–00291), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (P19–0860), Crafoordska Stiftelsen (20140509; 20160607), Gerda Henkel Stiftung (AZ 58-V-15), Vitterhetsakademin (Enboms stiftelse), Magnus Bergvalls stiftelse, Lars Hiertas Minne, Helge Ax: son Johnsons stiftelse, Birgit & Gad Rausings Stiftelse, Gunvor och Josef Anérs Stiftelse, and Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences.