Posted by: imalqata | February 5, 2012

First Day at the Site – Looking for the Narrow House

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Today we picked up our antiquities inspector and went to the site. (Inspectors are Egyptian Egyptologists who work for the Ministry of State for Antiquities and each foreign expedition is assigned an inspector.) Our workmen began to clean away the dreaded camel thorn that grows along the edge of the desert wherever a bit of moisture is available (for an idea of how they remove this thorny plant, see the blog post for February 15, 2010 below). Then we went off in various directions to check out the site. Joel, Pam and I went off to the Birket Habu mounds to see if we could find any trace of the “narrow house” that we told you about yesterday.  Joel and I had already made a stab at estimating which mounds the structure might be hiding between, but we checked four possible locations, checking each against the old photograph. Of course, photographic equipment was different 100 years ago, so we aren’t exactly sure yet, but we have two really good possibilities.

The rectangular Birket Habu is the most recognizable feature of the site

As you can see from the photograph below, Joel has just estimated the location of the South Village. We think the narrow house is between either mounds B4 and B5, or B5 and B6. If we can locate it in the next few weeks, Joel will be able to add a huge plan that shows what was excavated by our MMA colleagues a century ago, and we may be able to relocate some very interesting features, including what was once called a furnace, perhaps a kiln for making glass and faience.

The best way to see the site is on Google Earth

Peter and Diana contacted a member of the Polish team that is going to conduct some testing with a magnetometer in several parts of the site, which will indicate whether or not there are structures still buried beneath the surface.  That work begins tomorrow and we will keep you posted on the progress of that work to locate mud brick structures beneath the surface of parts of the site that have yet to be excavated.

– Catharine Roehrig

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