Years before the start of excavations, small teams lead by prof .S.E.
Sidebotham had already initiated a survey of parts of the Eastern Desert.
This pioneering work laid the foundation for the intensive survey campaign
in the southern part of the Eastern Desert, which was initiated in 1994.
A typical survey team consists of two to eight surveyors and archaeologists,
one or two Ababda Bedouin guides and one or two battered and sandblasted
pickup trucks. During a survey, which can last from one day to a month,
ancient settlements, cemeteries, forts, mines, wells and roads are examined,
planned and described. Many times the teams encounter previously unrecorded
archaeological monuments. Slowly a detailed picture of a complex and
efficient system of mines, forts, roads and road stations emerges.