Posted by: imalqata | February 15, 2012

Work in the South Village

February 15, 2012
For the past week I’ve been trying to find one of the buildings in the South Village. This building is called either the “boat house” or the “narrow house” on the old photographs from the Met’s excavations in 1910-1011. I chose that building because I had a photograph of it (see the post for February 4, 2012); I could locate it on the old plan; and it appeared to be between two of the mounds that define the western side of the Birket Habu.
Unfortunately, there are problems with two of these bits of information. The old photograph was taken 101 years ago, and the lens is different from those on modern cameras. As a result, the angles and distances in the photograph do not look exactly the same as what I can see when I stand between various pairs of mounds. The plan is a problem because there is no arrow indicating where North is located, and the scale reads 1:200?, which means that 1 centimeter on the plan may or may not be equal to 2 meters on the ground. Not very helpful!

The Narrow House on an Old Plan of the South Village. How Big Is It? (scale 1:200?)

In the first days we were on the site, before we hired any workmen, I stood between several pairs of mounds and eventually chose what I thought was the most likely location. I’m still fairly certain that I have the right pair of mounds – but, after four days, we haven’t found any walls of the “narrow house.” All we’ve found so far are a jumble of mud bricks and some lovely fragments of the distinctive blue-painted pottery that comes from this period – including two joining pieces of an open-mouthed Hathor jar like one we have at the Metropolitan Museum. Pottery is something Malqata has by the ton – though most of it isn’t decorated.

Fragments of the Face of a Hathor Emblem from a Blue-Painted Jar

The two fragments were found some distance apart, so you mustn’t think that the workmen were being careless.

Hathor Jar from Malqata (11.215.472), courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

– Catharine Roehrig

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