British Museum blog

Amara West 2012: exploring house E13.8

Tom Lyons, archeologist

Last year we created a plan of house E13.8, but it was otherwise just an outline of bricks walls with sand filling the rooms. This year, with the help of Shadia Abdu Rabo, I have been excavating the house, room by room.

It is a modest structure, trapezoidal in shape, tucked between house E13.3-N and the imposing, three metre-thick, town wall.

Central room of the house E 13.8 with hearth and bench (left)

Central room of the house E 13.8 with hearth and bench (left)

The house has four rooms which are arranged in a layout typical at Amara West, with one room leading through to the next, although in this instance a small room is accessed off to the left of the front room. So far we have removed layers of windblown sand and collapsed rubble to reveal two rooms containing partially preserved mud-plaster floor surfaces; the largest of these two rooms is the central room in the house with a hearth and mastaba (or bench) against one of the walls.

General view of house E13.8 from the west with town wall on the left

General view of house E13.8 from the west with town wall on the left

The smallest room in the house is located just off the front room and contains three bread ovens and lots and lots of ash and burnt material. Experience tells us we will probably come across more of these ovens as we continue digging down.

Plan of house E13.8, with town wall at top

Plan of house E13.8, with town wall at top

We are only seeing the latest phase of this house at present – earlier floors might lie beneath, or even a completely different house.

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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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