History of the Excavations

Malqata means “the place where things are found” and the site was well known as a source of antiquities by the end of the Nineteenth Century. The first archaeological investigation of the site was conducted by the Egyptian Antiquities Service in 1888 and directed by Georges Daressy. In 1901–1902 Robb De Peyster Tytus, a wealthy American, along with British Egyptologist, Percy Newberry, undertook a season of excavation at the site. The work of the Tytus Expedition was remarkably thorough and careful for its day, and Tytus published a report of the excavations with many fine, detailed renderings of the mural fragments that had been discovered.

The Metropolitan Museum Expedition excavated the site off and on for five seasons beginning in 1910 and ending in 1921 under the direction of Herbert E. Winlock. Members of the Egyptian Expedition exposed sections of the palace not excavated by Tytus and Newberry, and uncovered the remains of the palace enclosure that had not been destroyed by cultivation. In addition, the Met team excavated and mapped much of the surrounding area, including the North Palace, several groups of private houses, a glass factory, a great “festival hall,” and a mud brick temple dedicated to the god Amun. They also recovered a large number of inscribed potsherds, principally from wine jars brought for the King’s jubilee, or sed festival.

Later in the Twentieth Century, with the growth of interest in settlement archaeology in Egypt, the University of Pennsylvania conducted a re-examination of the site under the direction of David O’Connor and Barry J. Kemp. They conducted five seasons of work at the site between 1971 and 1977, and were able to determine that the town associated with the palace was far larger than originally thought. In addition, they concluded that the great artificial harbor, the Birket Habu, was created as part of the overall design of the complex and ascertained that the great mounds of dirt surrounding the Birket had been dug from the lake bed and then laid out and landscaped to create a beautiful waterfront and harbor for the palace-city.

In the 1970s, a Japanese team from Waseda University uncovered a barque way station, the Kom el-Samak, about one kilometer south of the Birket Habu. On completion of this excavation, they moved back to the north, where they concentrated on the important task of preserving and analyzing the painted plaster fragments that still remained in the ruins of the palace of Amenhotep III.

Since 2007, the Joint Expedition to Malqata (JEM) has been working at Malqata, with the aim of protecting the site and disseminating the results of previously unpublished work. The JEM was originally co-directed by Dr. Diana Craig Patch, Curator in Charge of The Department of Egyptian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Dr. Peter Lacavora, then with the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University and now with The Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund. Since 2018, the mission has been led by Dr. Patch.

During the initial season, which ran from December 4, 2008 until January 3, 2009, the JEM team carried out a survey of the entire site from the Amun Temple at the north end to the cleared strip some 7 km to the south. During this survey, the condition of each locale was evaluated as to the preservation of any mud-brick structures and the intensity of modern activity on or near the ancient material. Then  possible methods to preserve and protect were considered, and the most useful were proposed in our season’s report to the SCA.

Over the course of the subsequent nine seasons, the JEM has carried out substantial clearance and restoration of the mud-brick walls in the King’s Palace; cleared and mapped part of the Amun Temple; re-cleared and mapped the North Village; opened two new excavation areas, the West Settlement and the Industrial Site; and implemented a number of site management projects, including the installation of site lighting, many meters of fence, and the construction of a guard house. In cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities, the JEM is working to stabilize the site, restore certain buildings, and protect all of the ancient remains with the ultimate goal of making some areas of Malqata available to visitors.





  1. good job i hope you will publish this on pdf format as an article to take it as a reference for researchers

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