Amara West project blog

Icon

Investigating life in an Egyptian town

Amara West 2014: First glimpses within another burial chamber (G244)

 Recording in grave 244

Barbara Chauvet, bioarchaeologist

Back in cemetery C, I began my second season at Amara West by excavating the eastern chamber of G244. After seeing what Michaela found last year in the western chamber, I expect quite a challenge!

What lies beneath the sand?

What lies beneath the sand?

The presence of around 70 cm of sandy fill inside the chamber seemed promising, but also reminds me of the amount of work needed over the next three weeks. Underneath the first layer of clean sand, I encountered a thick deposit of disturbed objects from the chamber, left behind by people robbing the grave – perhaps soon after its use. The human bones I find are disarticulated and fragmentary. Nevertheless, the number of bones allow us to record a “MNI” (Minimum Number of Individuals) of eight (three infants, one teenager, four adults). However, there were probably more individuals buried here.

: A beer jar and scattered fragments of human bones, sherds and coffins

: A beer jar and scattered fragments of human bones, sherds and coffins

I also found pottery sherds in this layer which can be joined with other sherds discovered in the same deposit and the entrance shaft. In most cases it is possible to reconstruct the complete vessel. A large, almost intact, beer jar appeared today.

Amongst the mixed, disturbed bones, I exposed many fragments of wood and plaster, some with a diagnostic shape, for example part of a coffin corner, or pieces of a bed. Some of the coffin fragments, painted yellow, red, black or blue are relatively well preserved, therefore I was joined in the chamber by Maickel van Bellegem, a conservator from the British Museum. Maickel is now consolidating the fragments, with the hope of recovering more details of the original deocration. Beads of glass, carnelian and ostrich eggshell were also found amongst the bones.

Small traces of paint preserved on coffin fragments

Small traces of paint preserved on coffin fragments

It is nice to be back, working in such wonderful surroundings. Working with a headlamp and enjoying the desert sunset, deploying acrobatics to enter the tomb and slowly reveal reach exciting finds, what is more fascinating?

Barbara recording in chamber 1 of Grave 244

Barbara recording in chamber 1 of Grave 244

Alongside regular updates on the blog, follow the season on Twitter: @NealSpencer_BM and #AmaraWest

If you would like to leave a comment click on the title

Advertisements

Filed under: Amara West 2014, archaeology, funerary, New Kingdom, pottery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: