Deir el-Ballas Fieldwork

Deir el-Ballas Fieldwork

We are planning for two seasons, one beginning in December 2018 and another one beginning in the Fall of 2019. The fieldwork proposed will concentrate on ways to protect and restore this important Palace-City of the Theban kings. Our long-term goal is to coordinate our efforts with the Qena Antiquities Inspectorate and the Ministry of State for Antiquities to develop a strategy for the protection, conservation and management of the site. The areas we will focus on in the upcoming seasons include: work on the ‘South Palace’ to complete recording of it through detailed photographs and plans, and begin stabilization and restoration work on those areas recently damaged by vandalism and collapse by restoring the fallen brickwork, primarily on the eastern façade.

Similarly, at the North Palace we will begin stabilization and restoration work as well as undertake the construction of a perimeter wall to prevent further encroachment by the modern town. We will also continue our survey of the site to augment earlier maps and devise future plans for preservation and excavation.

The Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund in conjunction with the American University in Cairo conducted a season of survey, cleaning, recording and restoration to protect and restore the important Palace-City of Sekhenenre and Ahmose at Deir el-Ballas from December 11 – 31, 2018.

For the second season continued the survey work and restoration was begun on the “South Palace,” which had suffered from looters emptying out some of the casemate foundations and digging holes in the façade of the eastern wall of the platform, which has caused significant parts of the brick facing to collapse. This was filled in with modern, unbaked mud bricks stamped with an AUC logo and made in the same size as the other “South Palace “bricks [ca. 47 x 22 x 12 cm.]. At the North Palace, we cleaned up modern trash and debris littering the area and also surveyed the area in order to determine where best to build a protective wall around the Palace.

Many of the ancient houses, the workmen’s village and associated chapels appear to have been entirely destroyed. We hope to determine where we might have a boundary to keep the modern cemetery from encroaching further into the ancient settlement.

Damage done by looters to the ‘South Palace’ at Deir el-Ballas

Our initial season conducted from January 10th to the 25th 2017 consisted of a theodolite survey, photography and planning to assess the condition of the site, the perimeter of the antiquities area and possible ways to protect and conserve the site.

For the proposed future season of January 7-30, 2018 based on our overview of the previous season we would propose the following measures.

At the South Palace looters digging holes at the base of the eastern façade of the stair platform has collapsed much of the wall. We would intend to replace the tumbled brick and secure the façade to prevent further deterioration and restore its original appearance.

We would also fill in the casemates in the North Palace with clean sand to prevent collapse, deposition of trash and for safety concerns. We would seek to delimit the palace with new mud brick to define the archaeological area and clean it of trash.

We would also seek to define and delimit with brick and or fencing extant archaeological remains in the area of the North Palace and in the stretch between the North and South Palaces.

A pyramid-shaped hole was dug into the facade and caused large parts of the wall to collapse

Lastly, we would add signage in Arabic and English to mark the major monuments and attempt to engage the local population in understating the importance of the monuments and their preservation.

We look forward to working with the Egyptian Government’s Antiquities Ministry to safeguard this important site.