Summary of the Project and the First Season
The Joint Expedition to Malqata is co-sponsored by the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Our work is done in co-operation with the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.
The site of Malqata is located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the modern city of Luxor, about 430 miles south of Cairo. Egyptologists usually refer to Luxor as Thebes, one of its ancient names, and the west bank is often called western Thebes. Approximately 3350 years ago, the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III began an ambitious building program in preparation for his jubilee or heb-sed, which was celebrated in the thirtieth year of his reign (about 1360 B.C.). For the first heb sed and two later jubilees, the king’s architects created a huge harbor, the Birket Habu, at the edge of the desert. Near the northwestern corner of this harbor, they built a large royal residence including several palaces, administrative buildings, a temple dedicated to the god Amun-Re, and a ceremonial platform. There are also the remains of the villages that housed the workmen, artisans, and merchants who supplied labor and goods for the city.
Farther south, they built two more ceremonial platforms: the Kom el-Samak, and the Kom el-Abd. And west of the Kom el-Abd, Amenhotep had a wide strip cleared in the desert that stretches more than three miles to the cliffs that border the Nile Valley.
The various sections of Malqata have been studied for more than a century and a number of important archaeological expeditions have excavated at the site. These include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which conducted field work on the structures of the palace city between 1910 and 1918.
The first season of the Joint Mission to Malqata (JEM) was conducted from December 8-20, 2008 and included Egyptologists Dr. Peter Lacovara (Michael C. Carlos Museum), Dr. Diana Craig Patch and Dr. Catharine H. Roehrig (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Virginia Emery (Chicago House, University of Chicago), surveyor/Egyptologist Joel F. Paulson, and surveyor Robert Paulson. During the first week of the season, the team made a walking survey of the site, from the mud-brick city in the north to the cleared strip in the south, examining each of the structures and establishing control for an overall map. During the rest of the season, visible features of the buildings were tied in to the map survey so that plans of these structures made by previous expeditions could be superimposed on the map.
The reports of some of the earlier expeditions are posted below: