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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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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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 Grenville Jewel. Dating from about 1635–1640, this superb locket contains a portrait by David Des Granges of Sir Bevil Grenville, a Cornish Royalist General who died during the English Civil War in 1643. The case is a bravura demonstration of enamelling on gold. Minute pansies, marguerites and green leaves stand out against a black background. A large square sapphire adorns the centre, surrounded by rubies, opals and diamonds. A pendant pearl in an enamelled setting completes the piece.
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Check out #emptyBM to see all their amazing photos! 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! 
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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
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