British Museum blog

Amara West 2012: this season’s houses


Neal Spencer, British Museum

The expedition house is suddenly very busy, with 10 more team members arriving over the last 24 hours – archaeologists, an illustrator, finds registrar and physical anthropologists. We were on site today at 7.00am, and full-scale excavation in the town was soon underway.

Mat Dalton overseeing excavation of south street E13.12

Mat Dalton overseeing excavation of south street E13.12

Shadia Abdu Rabo was joined by Tom Lyons, and the latest floor has been reached in the middle room of house E13.8, built against the inside of the northern town wall. The focal point of the room is a small round hearth – which would have provided heat but also a cooking place – and there is also a low bench (mastaba) against the back wall. Amidst the rubble on the floor, fragments of mud with impressions of reeds, grasses and wooden poles hint at the roof that once covered the room.

Room two in house E13.8, with partly excavated rubble above hearth and floor

Room two in house E13.8, with partly excavated rubble above hearth and floor

To the south, house E13.6 is being excavated for the first time. Set in the middle of the block, with an entrance onto the southern street, parts of three rooms were excavated today. Mary Shepperson started removing wall and roof collapse from the front room, while Hélène Virenque cleared parts of the room in the northeast of the house. No floor has appeared yet….

Key plan of housing block in E13.3

Key plan of housing block in E13.3

Finally, in the southwestern corner of the block, Mat Dalton has returned to house E13.7 (itself beneath house E13.4), the early dwelling arranged around two large rooms, with walls painted in white. We’re trying to reveal more of this house without removing later (but still 3,000 year old) architecture above. With this in mind, Mat has started removing material from the southern street. Unfortunately a deep pit through the street and the wall of the Deputy’s Residence makes it difficult to excavate without loose sand flowing in.

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Filed under: Amara West, Archaeology

2 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Motsamai says:

    I hope and bellieve that it will be a successful operation.
    Written by Motsamai

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  2. The floor plan is most interesting. I think there is perhaps a cross-cultural universality to the growth patterns of many ancient architectures. Also, I notice that some rooms have no door, suggesting that they were entered from a second story above.

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English sculptor Henry Moore was born #onthisday in 1898.
Drawing played a major role in Henry Moore's work throughout his career. He used it to generate and develop ideas for sculpture, and to create independent works in their own right.
During the 1930s the range and variety of his drawing expanded considerably, starting with the 'Transformation Drawings' in which he explored the metamorphosis of natural, organic shapes into human forms. At the end of the decade he began to focus on the relationship between internal and external forms, his first sculpture of this nature being 'Helmet' (Tate Collections) of 1939.
This drawing titled ‘Two Women: Drawing for sculpture combining wood and metal’ was based on a pencil study entitled ‘Ideas for Lead Sculpture’. It reflects his awareness of surrealism and psychoanalytical theory as well his abiding interest in ethnographic material and non-European sculpture; the particular reference in this context is to a malangan figure (malangan is a funeral ritual cycle) from New Ireland province in Papua New Guinea, which had attracted his interest in the British Museum. 
Henry Moore, Two Women: Drawing for sculpture combining wood and metal. England, 1939. Here's another fabulous view of the Great Court captured by @whatinasees at our instagramer event #regram #repost
Check out all of the photos at #emptyBM Vincent van Gogh died #onthisday in 1890. Here's a print of his only known etching. It depicts his doctor, Dr Paul Gachet, seated in the garden of his house.
#vanGogh #etching Beatrix Potter was born #onthisday in 1866. Here are some of her flopsy bunnies! 🐰
#BeatrixPotter Made in AD 700, the exquisite Hunterston brooch was found at Hunterston, Ayrshire during the 1830s. It is a highly accomplished casting of silver, richly mounted with gold, silver and amber decoration. It is sumptuously decorated with animals executed in gold wire and granules, called filigree. In the centre of the brooch is a cross flanking a golden ‘Glory’ representing the risen Christ #MedievalMonday
The Hunterston brooch will feature in our forthcoming #Celts exhibition, on loan from @nationalmuseumsscotland. Encounter an African contribution to the global carnival tradition through contemporary artist @zakove’s Moko Jumbie sculptures in the Great Court. These spectacular 7-metre-high male and female figures in striking black and gold costumes are inspired by aspects of African masquerade. #ZakOve
Find out more about our #Africa season this summer with events and displays at www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/celebrating_africa.aspx
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