British Museum blog

Amara West 2012: nice objects among archaeological puzzles


Tom Lyons, archaeologist, and Shadia Abdu Rabu, Sudan National Museum

Since the last update from house E13.8, excavation of further deposits and features within the rooms has revealed earlier architecture and some interesting finds.

In the central room in the house we have photographed, drawn and dug away a second mud plaster floor surface with a central hearth. This floor was covered in broken pottery and had a partially complete vessel set in it. It also contained a hearth in the same place as the later floor which lay above it. Such consistency of layout suggests the function of the room remained the same.

Bread ovens in the small room at the front of the house have also been excavated. These proved relatively straightforward to remove, but proved difficult to define as they consist of hard-fired ashy silt.

Cleaning ovens in room E13.8.4

Cleaning ovens in room E13.8.4

These are examples of some of the more typical archaeological features we encounter when excavating at Amara West, and indeed in any New Kingdom brick houses. Every house in the town has so far contained a central room for domestic activity and often a separate room for making bread and grinding cereals.

Faience scarab with a depiction of a king as a sphinx

Faience scarab with a depiction of a king as a sphinx

Less common are fine faience artefacts, an example of which turned up this week – we recovered a small but very finely carved scarab which depicts a representation of the king as a sphinx, a classic symbol of pharaonic power, with the name Menkheperra before it. This was one of the names of Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC), popular on amulets and scarabs long after his death.

Looking further ahead (or down!) we saw earlier layers emerging. My trowel made that familiar scraping noise when it strikes hard sandstone: a big stone which by the end of the day had begun to look like a door step, or threshold stone, complete with a little socket for a door post – the only issue being that there isn’t, as yet, a door to go with it, only a big wall. This leads us to believe that there’s either a hidden or blocked doorway, or the adjacent wall is a replacement of an earlier wall.

Such are the daily puzzles which confront us…

Find out more about the Amara West research project

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Filed under: Amara West, Archaeology, , , , ,

20 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. That’s incredible stuff. I can’t imagine what it’s like to look history in the face like that… makes me want to roam Pompeii again!

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  2. Hands Up says:

    Really great architecture in the past!

    Like

  3. Marty says:

    Awesome!! It’s funny, my son gets excited when he finds something at the beach and I get excited when I read this! Great work guys.

    Like

  4. Emcees says:

    Wow! I like to be an archaeologist too. I like to discover an ancient artifact for millions years ago. Great discovery keep searching and discover new thing in the past.

    Cheers!

    Like

  5. hanijey says:

    Cool news

    I love it

    Thanks

    Like

  6. IRA says:

    I want to be an archaeologist too. Is the curse of the pharoah true? Scary..

    Like

  7. Joe Luna says:

    Excavating history really brings the present and future to life.
    There’s some really interesting reading available on Thutmose and Moses of the Bible.

    Like

  8. There are many areas in the world has not yet discovered.
    There are also several ancient monuments coccobacillus Must have,
    And it’s nice to have such a discovery to learn about ancient civilizations
    Thank you …

    Like

  9. FitnFly says:

    You watch Ancient Aliens? Best part about it are the Egyptian discussions, you never know what we could find next.

    Like

  10. This stuff really fascinates me. As a young boy I could recite every dinosaur that ever roamed the earth. Egyptology is particularly interesting because of just how long ago people were creating giant structures that rivaled modern day skyscrapers.

    Like

  11. These articles are nice because the focus is on the broader culture with skeletal evidence as a piece of the puzzle and not the entire focus. For mortuary archaeology, these posts are a better option.

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  12. G. Wells says:

    The pottery vessels set into the floor appear to be an ancient form of built-in storage.

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  13. Amazing treasures! Thanks for the article.

    Like

  14. Brad says:

    “My trowel made that familiar scraping noise” I LOVE that noise. Thanks for the article!

    Like

  15. I want to be an archaeologist too. Is the curse of the pharoah true? Scary..

    Like

  16. Majas Lapa says:

    I am history mayor in History and during the summer we had to do archaeology work to get our mid-term grades. I know how it is to sit in sun all day, brushing stones and the perfect feeling when you find something realy old and meaningful. I always think about such findings as a part of local history – someone before 200, 500 or 1000 held it in his arms, made it and for some reasons left this object (or it was in grave, etc). It can realy rush the imagination. Good job guys! Best of luck!

    Like

  17. iNAP says:

    Hey Thanks for the great insight into the archaeology. I wanted to know if you have volunteer session where a person can attend or be part of excavations?

    Thanks.

    Like

  18. edwardsox29 says:

    What an interesting job. I don’t know something about getting absolutely ripped and going and looking at bones or whatever sounds absolutely amazing. How long do you have to study to get the qualification for it?

    Like

  19. Awesome Post. I wonder if this also applies to Meteor findings? Do the tools and ideology differ when looking for pre-historic rocks and meteors. How do you recognize the difference from one to another?

    Like

  20. I too want to be an archaeologist

    Like

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The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was born #onthisday in AD 121.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-80), who appears on the coin set in this ring, is best known for his philosophical work, The Meditations. Although he was the most powerful man in the Roman Empire, he dwelt on the emptiness of glory: 'Shall mere fame distract you? Look at the speed of total oblivion of all and the void of endless time on either side of us and the hollowness of applause... For the whole earth is but a point, and of this what a tiny corner is our dwelling-place, and how few and paltry are those who will praise you.' It is ironic that such sentiments as these have preserved his fame to this day.
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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.

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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. 
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