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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We've reached Room 52 on our #MuseumOfTheFuture series of gallery spaces – the Rahim Irvani Gallery of Ancient Iran. Iran was a major centre of ancient culture. It was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.
During the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great founded a mighty Persian empire which eventually stretched from Egypt to Pakistan. Objects on display from this period include the Cyrus Cylinder (in the centre of the picture) and the Oxus Treasure (in the case to the left of the picture). Monumental plaster casts of sculptures from Persepolis are also displayed in Room 52 and on the East stairs.
The later periods of the Parthian and Sasanian empires mark a revival in Iranian culture and are represented through displays including silver plates and cut glass. The next gallery space in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series is Room 51, Europe and Middle East 10,000–800 BC. Farming began in the Middle East around 12,000 years ago, making possible the social, cultural and economic changes which shaped the modern world. It arrived in Britain around 6,000 years ago bringing a new way of life. This change in lifestyle meant people competed for wealth, power and status, displaying these through jewellery, weapons and feasting.
The objects on display in Room 51 show how the people of prehistoric Europe celebrated life and death and expressed their relationship with the natural world, the spirit world and each other. The object in the centre of this picture is the Mold gold cape, found in Flintshire in 1833 and dating to around 1900–1600 BC. This is Room 50, Britain and Europe 800 BC–AD 43, the next gallery space in our ongoing #MuseumOfTheFuture series. The Iron Age was a time of dramatic change for the people of Britain and Europe. Iron replaced bronze as the material used to make tools and weapons, while religion, art, daily life, economics and politics changed dramatically. The story of these civilisations (known to the Greeks and Romans as Britons, Celts, Germans and Iberians) and their distinct material cultures, is told through decorated Iron Age artefacts known as 'Celtic art' and more everyday objects. In the foreground of this picture you can see a selection of torcs and to the right is the Battersea shield, found in the River Thames in the 1850s. Next up in the #MuseumOfTheFuture gallery series it's the Weston Gallery of Roman Britain – Room 49. The Roman occupation of Britain between AD 43 and 410 dramatically transformed the material culture of the province. Imported goods and settlers from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa created a richer, more diverse society and a wealth of mosaics, wall paintings, sculpture, glassware and metalwork was produced.
The laws, administration, currency, architecture, engineering, religion and art of Rome met Britain’s Iron Age societies to create a distinctive 'Romano-British' identity, which is illustrated in Room 49 through a variety of objects and artworks including the Mildenhall treasure, the Hoxne Hoard and the Hinton St Mary mosaic. Born #onthisday in 1600: Charles I. During the Civil War this medal was worn in support of the King
#history #medal #king This is Room 48 – Europe 1900 to the present. It's the next gallery in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series. Room 48 examines changing ideas about how objects should look, and the desire to make well-designed objects available to a wider audience. Many of the objects on display show how designers in the West have drawn inspiration from other cultures, past and present.
Highlights include Continental Art Nouveau, Germany’s Darmstadt artists' colony and the Bauhaus, Russian Revolutionary porcelain and American applied arts between the two World Wars.
The Museum is actively collecting objects from the 20th century and the display continues to change as new acquisitions are made.
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