Deir el-Ballas 2023, Week 3: 1/14-1/19

Deir el-Ballas 2023, Week 3: 1/14-1/19

This week, excavation work continued at the site as we further explored House E and House F, as well as the North Wadi Settlement.

We were joined this week by Sara Ahmed Aziz, who was a great help to us with work in the North Wadi Settlement excavations as well as the on-site magazine and workroom.

Ana Oliveira Asuncion started to finish up work in the House F grid extension to the north. Much to our surprise, her excavation work has revealed an entirely new structure that is comparable to the size and scale of House F. We will need to further investigate this building in future seasons in order to determine its full extent and function, though for now we jokingly have called it “House G” on site.

Figure 1: Ana Oliveira Asuncion and Piet Collet work in the House F North Extension to document and record the newly discovered structure.

Victoria Shakespeare continued work in the North Wadi Settlement, a series of structures to the north of the North Palace and North Settlement. In one of the three buildings that she and her team were cleaning, they discovered an ancient oven made of clay in the form of a round cylinder. As a precaution against looting and/or vandalism overnight, the team decided to lift the oven and found it is 45cm in diameter and 55cm tall. We look forward to future studies of this object and installation, as similar ovens were found at the village of Deir el Medina and Amarna.

Figure 2: Nicholas Brown and Piet Collet discuss how best to lift and remove the in-situ ceramic oven discovered by Victoria Shakespeare and her team in the North Wadi Settlement.

Nicholas Brown and Matei Tichindelean were working in House E to finish up, their investigations of the periphery areas of the structure. In Matei’s trench on the East, his team discovered an entirely new room in the building, now designated as Room E4, along with a trash midden. Nicholas and his team in the West were finally able to figure out the full extent of the courtyard’s extension wall, as well as discovering evidence of yet another silo installation. This makes a total of at least four such installations in the west courtyard!

Figure 3: Nicholas Brown spent time this week in House E West drawing and recording the newly discovered silo installation before its excavation.

Nicholas also explored the South Hill where there was evidence of extensive modern digging and was also able to get a panoramic shot of the site from that vantage point.

Figure 4: A panorama view of Deir el-Ballas from the top of the South Hill: Starting from the left, one can see the North Settlement with House E and House F excavations, followed by the remains of the North Palace, then the modern village of Deir el-Gharbi, the surrounding farm fields, the South Wadi, and finally the “South Palace” on the right side of the photo.

Amr Shahat completed his research on the botanical remains, and Bettina Bader and Hassan Elzawy continued to analyze and document the ceramic material drawing a selection of the pottery recovered this season and in previous seasons.

Piet Collet finished up his survey of the northern part of the site. In addition to shooting in the newly discovered structures and rooms into the Total Station, Piet spent time creating photogrammetry models of the trenches. Both jobs will help to add to the map of Deir el-Ballas and contribute to our overall understanding of the site.