Wednesday, February 20, 2013
We were working in two areas of Malqata this season that are very different from one another. The main palace is a vast, spacious structure with thick, solid walls and the North Village with its tiny, cramped, rather flimsily constructed buildings set along narrow, winding streets.
It is not just the architecture that gives a picture of the distinction between the workers and the nobility and high officials. We can also see a difference in the pottery they used. In the palace we see a great deal of elaborately painted ceramics (https://imalqata.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/pots/) that are sometimes called “palace ware” because of their abundance in the royal residences at Malqata and Amarna. While the blue painted ware occurs in other, non-royal, sites, it is not found in such quantities.
It is not only this type of decorative pottery that is found in the palace, but also a fine, cream-colored polished marl clay used for a number of containers that imitate the look of alabaster vessels. The marl clay requires greater preparation and fires at a higher temperature, so is more expensive to produce than ceramics made from Nile clay. While some Nile clay, red wares are found in the palace corpus, they are less common than the finer marl pots.
In the North Village the pottery looks very different and consists mostly of vessels made of Nile mud. Many are bowls and some are finely finished with the polished red slip characteristic of a lot of 18th Dynasty pottery, while others are less finely finished with a surface made by wetting the clay and smearing it to create a smoother surface. There are a few random sherds from blue painted vessels and marl amphora, but these may be strays from the palace area. Indeed, it looks like sherd debris had been taken from the palace area and laid down to make a level surface when the North Village expanded. This probably occurred at some point between the Sed Festivals.