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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US artist John Sloan was born #onthisday in 1871. 
John Sloan, painter, printmaker and teacher, first took up etching as a self-taught adolescent.  Moving to New York in 1904, he became part of a group of eight artists, better known as “The Ashcan School”, who focused on creating images of urban realism. Between 1891 and 1940 Sloan produced some 300 etchings. He was also one of the first chroniclers of the American scene and wrote about printmaking and the etching technique.
This etching comes from the series of 10 prints entitled 'New York City Life', recording the lives of the ordinary inhabitants in less affluent areas of Manhattan. The prints had a mixed reception at the time and a number were rejected from an exhibition of the American Watercolor Society as ‘vulgar’ and ‘indecent’. #August is named after the Roman emperor Augustus. Before 8 BC the Romans called it Sextilis! 
This head once formed part of a statue of the emperor Augustus (ruled 27 BC – AD 14). In 31 BC he defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium and took possession of Egypt, which became a Roman province. The writer Strabo tells us that statues of Augustus were erected in Egyptian towns near the first cataract of the Nile at Aswan and that an invading Kushite army looted many of them in 25 BC.
Although Roman counter-attackers reclaimed many of the statues, they did not reach Meroë, where this head was buried beneath the steps of a native temple dedicated to Victory. It seems likely that the head, having been cut from its statue, was placed there deliberately so as to be permanently below the feet of its Meroitic captors.
The head of Augustus appears larger than life, with perfect proportions based upon Classical Greek notions of ideal human form. His calm distant gaze, emphasised with inset eyes of glass and stone, give him an air of quiet, assured strength. Coins and statues were the main media for propagating the image of the Roman emperor. This statue, like many others throughout the Empire, was made as a continuous reminder of the all-embracing power of Rome and its emperor. 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
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