Diana Craig Patch
The day started with breakfast at 6 AM and a ride out to Malqata for a 7 AM start time for the work. The morning was cold but clear and the fine weather brought the hot air balloons out in numbers. We counted fifteen sailing toward Malqata from where they take off in the northern part of the west bank. However for JEM, today was a good day and all the balloons landed in the desert or the floodplain, well outside of the site’s boundaries.
We started today with a small group of workers, many of whom are well known to us because they have been part of our team for several seasons. We will be hiring more as the week progresses and Peter is able to begin the process of protecting the ancient mud brick in the palace. However the recently made mud brick still needs to be transferred from the manufacturing yard to the King’s Palace, so it will be a few more days before that work can begin.
Catharine and I however started work in one of the two areas of northern Malqata where we will work this year. As you may remember, we have recleared most of the North Village where Ambrose Lansing worked over a hundred years ago. During 2010, 2013 and 2014, we uncovered the eroding houses that make up the North Village and carefully recorded the remains of the mud brick structures. These drawings are now being turned into a detailed plan of the North Village. However, all of these houses were already disturbed and although we have collected some interesting information, there is not much in situ beyond the walls (where they survive).
During the 2012 season, we had a team do magnetometry in various parts of the site. It was not particularly successful (see https://imalqata.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/magnetometry-at-malqata/ ) because the desert’s substrate is very similar in substance to Malqata’s mud brick. As a result it was difficult for the magnetometer to find any differences between the two materials. To the west of the North Village, however, the team got readings that showed the remains of small house structures. It appears that this section is undisturbed and we are looking forward to clearing these rooms. To that end, we cleared the surface of Trench P, still visible from Barry Kemp’s 1973 season, which is at the south end of this undisturbed area. We will let you know in the coming weeks what we find!