Diana Craig Patch
Last season the Inspectorate of the Antiquities of the West Bank asked us to consider building a guardhouse at Malqata to aid in the site’s protection. Each year JEM has undertaken to do something to improve the state of the site. So we agreed to build this structure for the MSA. We chose a high natural hill that doesn’t have any cultural material associated with it –west of the West Settlement and the North Village− and provides a great lookout for the main structures of the site. Last year we dug the foundation and put up the walls, the roof, and installed windows. The guardhouse seemed virtually done.
Well we were wrong because a group of ten workmen have been working very hard for three weeks giving it the finishing touches. They applied a mudplaster surface to all walls inside and out and then added two more coats to make the building a desert color while protecting it a bit from rain. They added a concrete floor and concrete surfaces to the eight mastabas or benches that are against each wall inside and out. One of our talented workmen installed all the wiring for the circuit breakers, switches, sockets, and plugs.
The last unfinished step, a big one, was connecting the guardhouse to electricity. The company came last week and laid the large cable but were unable to finish the timer and hook up to the main power. Apparently that happened this evening, so we hope to see lights in the new guardhouse and satisfied guards, who will help protect the site.
February 2, 2016