Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Dockets from Malqata indicate that the site was used for three sed-festivals, but documenting that the North Village was occupied more than once is not easy. It is especially difficult because the small structures are constructed on uneven ground. Such terrain rarely produces strata that clearly communicate a progression of time. During the 2010 season, we did note that, in the middle of one room, there was a
slight trace of marl brick. [Actually with two more seasons at the site, I know now that I observed the remnants of the marl plaster laid down on the desert or gebel surface prior to the laying of any wall’s foundation brick and not the brick itself.] Regardless, there was a trace of wall in the middle of an open space providing a clear indication that there was a second period of rebuilding in a room on the highest part of the North Village.
In the 2013 season, we uncovered a large pit full of sherds from large pottery vessels with fresh breaks. This indicates that they had been rapidly buried. The material seemed to reflect what one would expect in palace garbage which is not surprising since the Queen’s Palace was only meters away. On top of this pit, we found the remains of a wall belonging to a village structure. The contents of the dump must have been created during the sed-festival prior to the construction of this wall.
This year we have uncovered two great examples that demonstrate two periods of occupation. The first is in a small room to the north that was originally plastered with a mud floor on the desert surface. This floor is well preserved in the southwest corner of the room. Very close to this space, the original owner buried a huge storage jar in the
floor. Sometime later, one assumes another sed-festival, a layer of what we call leveling fill was laid down and a second plaster floor was added. When this took place, the new owner wanted to continue using the jar in the floor, but the new floor was going to make the jar’s mouth too low. So he laid down a white (probably gypsum) plaster layer around the jar that slopes from the new mud floor level down to just under the jar’s mouth (the old floor level). Visible in the photo, this plaster was capped by a second plaster layer of the traditional mud. As you can see in the picture, although there is a steep slope to the mouth, the jar is still useful for storage.
The second example is on the east side of the village where we again found a mud plaster floor under leveling fill, which was subsequently capped by a second mud plaster floor. In this location, another jar installed below the floor was capped over by the new floor instead of being kept in use. The fill layer had been deposited over destroyed house walls to make a foundation layer for a new wall. The reason for this
restructuring was that the North Village’s eastern perimeter, which previously may not have been clearly defined, was now provided with an enclosure wall. This new wall created a corridor between the Queen’s Palace and the North Village. After the enclosure wall was built, new rooms in the village were created along the enclosure wall’s western face.
Diana Craig Patch