Monday, February 18, 2013
One of our goals this season was to try and find the northern end of the Palace of the King. This part of the site had been trenched by Georges Daressey in 1888 and by the time that Robb de Peyster Tytus started worked there in 1901, any of the architecture that remained in this area was badly destroyed. Annie had earlier brushed the northern perimeter of the site where some brickwork had been visible, but what she exposed seemed to be part of the underlayment of the floor paintings that Daressy had found and brought to Cairo for the Museum.
Some additional bricks were visible at the very edge of the palace area where it slopes down to meet a wadi or dry river-bed that runs perpendicular to the building. I asked Azab Ahmed Ibrihim, one of our most skilled workmen who has excavated with the German Archeological Institute for many years in Thebes and with the Metropolitan Museum Expedition at Dashur, to brush this area down and see if he could find a trace of the northern enclosure wall.
He was able to reveal about a 6 meter (20 foot) section of wall which appears to be a revetment at the end of the building. In the North Village and elsewhere at the site, the builders worked with the local topography building terraces, retaining walls and adapting natural features into the design.
From the southern corner of the palace to the newly found northern wall, the western enclosure wall is now 155 meters long (508 feet). The width of the palace still is to be determined; the southern enclosure wall runs off into the cultivation at 103 meters (338 feet) and probably continued east for a considerable distance.
This was truly a monumental structure. To put the vast size of the palace into perspective, it was far larger than either the White House or Buckingham Palace!