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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Greece lightning: this exquisite bronze depicts Zeus, chief of the Greek gods #FridayFigure

In ancient Greece, powerful, shape-shifting gods provided compelling subjects for artists. The famous sculptor Phidias created a gold and ivory statue of Zeus, ruler of the gods, that was over 13 metres high for his temple at Olympia. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it symbolised the awesome presence of the god at his sanctuary site. There was also drama to be found in the gods’ ability to change their form as a means of disguise. Zeus, ruler of the Olympian gods, could take animal form – he seduced Leda as a swan, carried away Europa as a bull and Ganymede as an eagle.

This bronze statuette splendidly represents the majesty of Zeus, ruler of the gods on Mount Olympus and lord of the sky. Zeus holds a sceptre and a thunderbolt, showing his control over gods and mortals, and his destructive power. Although just over 20cm high, this exquisite work appears to be a copy of a much grander statue that does not survive.

You can see this figure in our exhibition #DefiningBeauty, until 5 July 2015.
Bronze statuette of Zeus. Roman period, 1st–2nd century AD, said to be from Hungary.
#art #museum #exhibition #ancientGreece #Zeus #gods This beautiful watercolour of Tintern Abbey is by J M W Turner, thought to have been born #onthisday in 1755.

Even before he had entered the Royal Academy schools at the age of 14, Turner had worked as an architectural draughtsman. This training is evident in his fascination with the details of the famous ruins of this twelfth-century Cistercian Abbey in Monmouthshire, which he visited in 1792, and again in 1793. Tourists of the time were as much impressed by the way that nature had reclaimed the monument as by the scale and grandeur of the buildings. Turner's blue-green washes over the abbey's far wall blend stone and leaf together, and on the near arch the spiralling creepers seem to make the wind and light tangible. 
#art #artist #Turner #history #watercolour ‪#IndigenousAustralia is now open. Discover a remarkable 60,000 years of continuous culture in our new special exhibition.
This show is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, celebrating the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. See spectacular objects like Torres Strait Islander masks alongside significant paintings.
Organised with the National Museum of Australia, ‪the exhibition also includes important international loans.
#history #Australia #museum #BritishMuseum Happy #StGeorgesDay! Here he is killing the dragon and rescuing Lady Una on a medieval pilgrim badge
#history #StGeorge #dragon #IndigenousAustralia opens tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek in the exhibition… 
#art #Australia #exhibition #BritishMuseum 
Objects pictured include: 
Roy Underwood, Lennard Walker, Simon Hogan and Ian Rictor, 'Pukara'. Acrylic on canvas, 2013. © the artists, courtesy Spinifex Arts Project. 
Charlie Allungoy (Numbulmoore) (c. 1907–1971), Ngarinyin Mowanjum. Pigment on composition board, 1970. Kimberley region, Western Australia. National Museum of Australia. 
Mask of turtle shell. Mer, Torres Strait, before 1855. 
Selection of shields:
Mulgrave River region, near Cairns, Queensland, c. 1900.
Adelaide Plains region, South Australia, before 1848.
South-east Australia, mid-19th century.
South-east Australia, before 1950. Legend has it that #onthisday in 753 BC Romulus founded Rome. Here's the myth on this coin
#history #coin #Rome #Romulus
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