Saturday, February 13, 2012
We have located the entrance to the village where we believe the workers who cooked, cleaned, and delivered materials for the various buildings of Malqata lived. Some of the village was located on the top of a small rise in the low desert where the remains of a few poorly preserved walls and stairs may still be seen. Their visibility is better now that we have been clearing here for the past week so that we can make a good plan.
The entrance to the village is cut into the side of this hill and the walkway has shoulder-high walls with a ramp that takes you to the top of the hill. Much of the floor of the ramp is made from hard-packed pebbles and sand. This layer is the upper part of natural desert or “gebel” as it is called here. This pebble layer in undisturbed areas of the desert here is 40-50 cm thick. However, it is a thin layer in the entrance and parts of the village because most of this layer was removed, probably for use in casemates elsewhere at the site. This pebble layer in the ramp was probably given a layer of mud plaster, which has long since disappeared. We have found the same method in the floors of the structures on top of the hill. The sides of the gebel in this entrance were lined with mud bricks; the south side still has part of its wall, while the north has only traces of mud brick. The initial access faced north, but immediately after entering you make a hard left hand turn to climb the ramp to the top of the hill. You might wonder why people just didn’t climb the small hill, dispensing with this rather elaborate structure. A wall most likely surrounded the village and this type of entrance allowed a guard to supervise who enteredthe small community.
-Diana Craig Patch