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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Plaster cast of archer with reconstructed paint, based on a Greek original of about 490–480 BC, from the Temple of Aphaia at Aigina. Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek, Munich. Uta Uta Tjangala's masterpiece Yumari is a highlight of‪ #IndigenousAustralia, opening a week today
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This drawer was once part of the materia medica - a sort of pharmaceutical cabinet - in the collection of Sloane. The cabinet had several drawers, each carefully constructed to keep out destructive insects. Some drawers had small compartments like this example, others contained glazed boxes with seeds, fruit, bark, roots, gums and resins inside. Each had a label written by Sloane with a catalogue number. The botanical or medicinal name of the subtance, where it came from and who collected it were then recorded in his catalogues of his collection.
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