Geoﬀrey John Tassie (1959-2019), who died suddenly in Cairo on 28th March 2019, was an archaeologist specialising in the ﬁeld of prehis-toric Egypt, and a research fellow at Topoi bet-ween 2013 and 2015. Born in London, where he studied for his BA, MA and PhD at the UCL In-stitute of Archeology, Tass (as he was aﬀectiona-tely known) acquired a profound knowledge and passion for Egyptian archaeology, promoting the preservation and management of Egypt’s heri-tage through the Egypt Cultural Heritage Orga-nisation (ECHO), which he co-founded in 1996 with Fekri. A. Hassan. During his time at Topoi, Tass collaborated on the Topoi project A-2-4 The Neolithic of the Nile Delta, directed by Joanne Rowland, who sent us these words from Cairo:
„One of the key aims of the Topoi project was to revisit the material from former work at Merimde Beni Salama in light of new research questions and theories, to bring new information as to the dynamics leading to the settlement at Merim-de. Having much experience through his work on prehistoric Egypt – including the book of the same name which came out while he was in Ber-lin, Tass was the ideal person to work full-time on the project. A major part of this project saw visits mainly by Tass and Sebastian Falk, sometimes accompanied by Joanne Rowland, to museum collections from the East Coast of the USA to Egypt housing material from the site. Tass pho-tographed, drew and recorded the material in his typical focused way and, in the end, the team were able to publish a searchable web-based da-tabase of materials from the original excavations at Merimde Beni Salama:
In addition, Tass contributed to building the project’s archive, comprising maps and publi-cations relating to the site, and continued with ﬁeldwork, which provided the ﬁrst AMS radiocar-bon dates as well as residue analyses on material from Merimde. He was also assistant director of a new survey project around Merimde, aimed at understanding the movement of peoples and the transition to a food producing economy in the western Nile Delta.
Tass was also instrumental in the organi-sation of the Topoi workshop Revolutions. The Neolithisation of the Mediterranean Basin: The Transition to food Producing Economies in North Africa and Southern Europe, organised together with Joanne Rowland and Giulio Lu-carini, in October 2015. He worked extremely hard on editing the articles before they were submitted to the reviewers and the volume will be dedicated to him.
Colleagues in the group, notably Sebastian Falk, Sophie Schmidt and Georg Cyrus worked with him also on the GIS for Merimde, and everyone became very attached to his unique personality. He was not only one of the most dedicated researchers you could wish to be, but also the kindest and most patient. He em-braced the life in Berlin, which he loved a great deal, and also that at Topoi, as he participat-ed in other workshops and became a familiar ﬁgure around the department as well as a key member of Topoi. He was a very social being and threw himself into life not only on the proj-ect but as part of Topoi, meeting regularly on Friday evenings at the Luise and also of course a key member of the Topoi football team.”
His passion for archaeology is reﬂected by his many publications and heritage initiatives and lives on in the memories of those he taught, worked and laughed with.
Text: Helen Dawson, Joanne Rowland