Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Two: 12/15 – 12/21

Deir el-Ballas 2018-2019, Week Two: 12/15 – 12/21

We made a lot of progress in our first full week at the site. The façade of the ‘South Palace’ is now almost completely cleaned and is looking very impressive. Piet Collet and Vicky Jensen and Tom Hardwick are now busy planning the brickwork prior to Tony Crosby’s arrival and the beginning of the restoration phase of the project.

We were also lucky to have a visit from Salima Ikram and Nicholas Warner. Nicholas has worked a great deal on early Christian architecture in Egypt including working on the spectacular conservation of the Red Monastery in Sohag:

Salima and Nicholas escaping the cold wind

We were particularly interested in having him look at the remains of the Coptic Church that had been built in the North Palace. This had been largely removed by the original Hearst expedition with little record so it is a puzzle trying to figure out what remains.

A sturdy white plaster and baked brick platform where Reisner had suggested was a crypt was exposed and documented and we found some traces of other building. Hopefully, we can learn more about this later phase of the site in future seasons.

Reisner’s plan of the chapel and crypt

The plaster platform

Salima interviewed the local townspeople on what they thought of the remains and what they knew about them. We also worked together to write up educational materials for the school so that the children can learn about the history of the site.

Representatives of the Qena Inspectorate office came to the site to discuss where a protective wall for the North Palace should be built and where we should construct a guard house to keep watch on the ‘South Palace.’