Amara West project blog


Investigating life in an Egyptian town

Amara West 2014: the desert survey comes to an end….

Pottery from 2-S-37

Tomomi Fushiya (archaeologist), Anna Garnett (Liverpool University) and Anna Stevens (Amara West Project Curator, British Museum)

The survey excavation finished last week. We moved from the sites (2-R-18 and 2-R-65) near the palaeo-channel in the desert to a new site, 2-S-37, along the river Nile. It was a nice change of the landscape: from the rocky desert to sand dunes and a stretch of trees along the river.

Excavating a small trench at 2-S-37

Excavating a small trench at 2-S-37

We laid out a small trench where pottery sherds are scattered and a few metres away from the traces of mud brick remains visible on the surface. As soon as we began removing the surface sand, large numbers of pottery sherds were recovered.

Napatan.pottery from 2-S-37

Napatan.pottery from 2-S-37

The preservation of the pottery excavated from the extra-mural survey, combined with the high percentage of diagnostic sherds collected (i.e. rims, bases, or interesting fabrics) has made the analysis a particularly rewarding experience. Together with the 18th Dynasty pottery from 2-R-18 and 2-R-65, this third site (2-S-37) has yielded hundreds of wheelmade pottery sherds dating to the Napatan Period, which means that the survey has revealed new sites of domestic activity which were used before and after the Ramesside occupation of the town itself, illustrating the importance of the area around Amara West over many hundreds of years.

It was a very productive three weeks of surveying the area around the walled town. A further study will help us understanding the history of use and development, beyond the Ramesside period, in the broader area of Amara West. A team of young men from the Ernetta island where we live over the excavation period helped our desert survey. In the midst of cold mornings, sandy wind and nimiti-attack, they kept working and entertaining us.

A team of the local young men helped the desert survey with Nubian music in the background: Moustafa, Hamada, Hashem and Nazil.

A team of the local young men helped the desert survey with Nubian music in the background: Moustafa, Hamada, Hashem and Nazil.

Many people from the island support our excavation and life in Amara West, both on and off site every year. Without them, our work in Amara West is not possible. (Thank you!) We continue working together on the town site excavation until the end of March.

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

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Filed under: Amara West 2014, archaeology, hinterland, New Kingdom, Nubian, settlement, survey

One Response

  1. […] the week has been spent out in the desert about a kilometre north of Amara West, where we have been continuing a project to investigate several small occupation sites first noted by French archaeologist André Villa in […]

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