Tuesday, February 18, 2014
We were intending to examine an enigmatic structure situated just to the east of the palace entrance this season, but our task was made all the more urgent when we returned this season to discover that cars and trucks had been driving over it. Even though it is situated on top of a small hill, vehicles were still riding over the fragile mud brick and leaving clear tire tracks.
The hill is about a meter and a half high and the building on it was designated Ho. W. 1 [House West 1] by the original Metropolitan Expedition. The plan was a bit difficult to understand.
But looking on the ground it was possible to get a better idea of what the original structure would have looked like, even though some of the walls were missing. Like the houses in the North Village, it incorporated the uneven terrain in its design. Some of the marl substrate had been cut back to define the perimeter of the building and to create an elevated foundation. At a lower level and reached by a ramp cut into the marl, long brick walls, which bore traces of their original whitewashed interior, connected it to the entrance corridor of the Main Palace.
The position of this building is very like the so called, “King’s House” at Amarna relative to the Great Palace there and U25 at the North Riverside Palace at Amarna.
The connection of these other buildings with the palace has suggested to scholars that they may have been an informal retreat for the royal family or even the residence of the Vizier. They also are juxtaposed with large blocks of what appear to be administrative buildings which indicates that they are all part of the palace administration.
We hope to study Ho. W. 1 further, but for now, our main goal is to protect it, so we are building up the walls facing the road with new brick so it can be more clearly seen and to cover and protect the fragile ancient brick.
We will also screen some of the original fill from the site removed by the earlier excavators, and pile in the hollows along the road in order to make a less inviting shortcut. This will also give us an opportunity to study the material found by the earlier expedition and hopefully glean some more information about this puzzling construction.