Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Field archaeology is always an evolving mix of observation and interpretation. Working in the North Village today Diana and I were looking at a mud brick staircase noted on the original Metropolitan Expedition plan. Diana thought the stairs could not go to a second story or the roof, as the structure was too flimsy to support any weight. She wondered if it might be leading to a shrine instead.
Similar shrines or chapels were associated with the Workmen’s Villages at both Deir el-Ballas and Tell el-Amarna. Looking similar to modest houses, these private shrines usually had one or more forecourts and a shallow fight of stairs leading to a raised platform that would have supported a votive image. Also, as in both Ballas and Amarna, the stairway at Malqata was build up against a hillside.
Soon after this discussion a small pottery sherd turned up from a bowl with an elaborate scalloped rim. Such bowls with clay figurines of deities are frequent gifts to the chapels found at Amarna and Ballas. Does this mean we have chapels here? Stay tuned to (?) find out!