Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Four: 12/30 – 1/2

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Four: 12/30 – 1/2

We had hoped to get an extension on our permission in order to work through January, but that did not come through so we had to finish up our work for this season.

In the final cleaning of the staircase, we found a series of ship timbers that had been used to reinforce a course of brickwork near what was the top of the stairs, but the actual connection from the stairs to the top of the platform seems to have been lost.

Wood and casts of timbers used to strengthen inner wall of staircase in the ‘South Palace.’


Capping the collapsed brick from the façade of the ‘South Palace.’

Masons who were experienced in unbaked mud brick restoration undertook some emergency filling in the areas of the “South Palace” façade that was in danger of collapse under the director of Qena Inspectorate Conservator Mohammed Hussein.

Filling in the looter’s hole in the façade of the ‘South Palace.’

We also cleared and re-planned one of the houses by the North Palace previously excavated by Reisner. We had filled it back in during the 1980’s work at the site but it has been dug up by looters looking for treasure who had also dug some deep holes into it. We re-filled these holes and will again recover the structure for now, but may consider restoring it as it may be a better option for its long-term preservation. A neighboring structure, “House D” that we recorded in the 1980s had been almost entirely scraped away by a bulldozer that had leveled a great deal of the area including much of the small and large enclosures around the North Palace.

We had a visit from the staff of the inspectorate office of Qena to discuss building some walls to protect the North Palace as well as the houses that are being encroached upon by the modern cemetery. Another visitor to the site was Amr Shahat of UCLA who is working on a study of the botanical remains from Reisner’s excavations at Deir el-Ballas now in the Hearst Museum in Berkeley.

Our colleagues from the Qena Inspectorate visiting the site.

Piet Collet finished planning the ‘South Place’ staircase and recorded the House by the North Palace and Vicky Jensen and Tom Hardwick drew completed drawings of the sherd material and other features of the site.

In the following days, we will be overseeing the backfilling to protect the site and the completion of the guardhouse and protective walls.


‘House A’ by the North Palace in danger from the encroaching modern cemetery.