Posted by: iMalqata Blog | March 1, 2019

One Person’s Trash . . .

One Person’s Trash . . .

Janice Kamrin

As promised, a short report on new architecture in the West Settlement: we do have more “walls” (still generally only one brick high, but clearly outlining built structures laid out along a NE-SW grid) in the West Settlement. These line up with walls uncovered in earlier seasons, and also connect with ones excavated by Barry Kemp in the 1970s. The wadi has washed out anything that might have remained to the east (What Lies Beneath), but the settlement does continue to the west and perhaps also to the north, and promises to yield more information in future seasons.

N140 line: looking southwest over squares excavated in 2019

But today’s blog is about our “midden.” We have uncovered a large (about 2 and a half meters in diameter) deposit that spans the border between two of our squares, an area we are calling Feature 201. On the surface, this looked like the usual sort of sherd scatter, but as we began to clean and clear, we discovered that it continued for a several levels, and was thick with large and small sherds and lots of faunal remains. These include bones of various sizes, bits of hide, and even several parts of hooves.

N140/E115: looking south over Feature 201

A preliminary look at the pottery (with which we have filled 26 of our yellow bags so far) suggests a higher percentage of the elite “Palace” ware than we’ve found in most of the rest of the site, although we will need to analyze it properly before coming to any conclusions.

JEMWS.2019.B40: Keratin of the hoof of a ruminant (identification courtesy of Salima Ikram)

This is larger than other such deposits we have found in previous seasons. It is also not clear how it relates to our architecture – other deposits have tended to be along walls or in corners, or even used as leveling fill under walls (Broken Dishes); this looks like it might go over a wall, although we will need to do more excavation here to find out for sure.

This is an intriguing deposit, and one that is sure to yield interesting and useful information once it has been completely cleared and the material recovered has been studied by our experts.


  1. Any chicken bones? If memory serves, Salima’s ARCE presentation on the Kharga Oasis reported that Amenhotep III’s visits to the oasis left evidence of chicken bones. I understand this was unusual as chickens were uncommon. I forget all the details. If you find any in this midden one could have lots of fun with it! See you soon. Carry on.

  2. Salima will come and look at the bones next year, so we will keep you posted!

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