Amara West project blog

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Investigating life in an Egyptian town

Amara West 2015: who let the dog(s) out?

Matt Williams, archaeologist

The paw-print, just inside the front door.

The paw-print, just inside the front door.

We found a pair of dog paw-prints this week in house D12.9, somewhat surprising given the relative lack of dog bones in the animal bone assemblage. The house is one of the later dwellings in the suburb: small and squeezed into a space between the older buildings in the burgeoning suburbs.

House D12.9, with three small rooms

House D12.9, with three small rooms

Strangely, the initial floor surface was constructed below street level, predictably leading to water run-off and dirt flowing down into the room from the street outside. During the early life of the house it must have been a constant job to keep the doorway clear of this debris. Later residents installed a higher doorstep and raised the floor considerably.

At some point the room seems to have gone out of use, maybe the building was abandoned for a period. During this time, mud accumulated around the doorway, spreading into the room and partially covering a nearby hearth and a ceramic bowl lying on the floor.

Figure of a dog with fish in mouth (ivory, bronze). Late 18th dynasty, c. 1350 BC. Egypt. British Museum EA 13596

Figure of a dog with fish in mouth (ivory, bronze). Late 18th dynasty, c. 1350 BC. Egypt. British Museum EA 13596

Perhaps a scavenging dog managed to get into the house, looking for leftover scraps or somewhere to escape the elements? On the way out (with a string of sausages in its mouth?) it left its prints in the wet mud by the door… bad dog!

A dog in Nubia, on Tuesday (thank you AcrossBorders!).

A dog in Nubia, on Tuesday (thank you AcrossBorders!).

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

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Filed under: Amara West 2015, archaeology, New Kingdom, settlement

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