Monday, February 22, 2010
During the excavation seasons from 1910-1912, Herbert Winlock (who was at the beginning of his long and distinguished career at the Metropolitan Museum) worked at Malqata. During these two seasons, the expedition was clearing the areas around the King’s palace including the northern mounds on the western edge of the Birket Habu (February 18 blog). As you can see in the photo below (another taken by our friend Yarko during last season’s balloon ride), there are two sets of mounds. The A mounds are quite regular in size and would have been visible as a row of small hills to anyone sailing into the Birket basin (the agricultural land along the left side of the photo).
Mound B 1 at the bottom of the photo is close to the King’s Palace (which is just off the photo at the lower right). On the east side of mound B 1 (the left side in this photo), the excavators found the remains of a private house. Inside the house, in the midst of a deteriorated sack of linen cloth, was a stash of jewelry that had been accidentally left behind when the city was abandoned. The photo below, taken in 1911, shows the four necklaces that were in the sack: two strings of beads and two menat-necklaces.
The word menat refers to the key-shaped metal counterpoise on each of the two larger necklaces. The menat-necklace at the right is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. The other three necklaces were given to the Metropolitan Museum in the division of finds at the end of the 1910-1911 season. You can see color photos of all three of the Met’s necklaces on the Museum’s website (www.metmuseum.org – go to the collection database, Egyptian Art, search for 11.215.450, or Malqata, which will bring up everything from the site).
– Catharine Roehrig