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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Joel Irish with Roxie Walker and Salima Ikram.
Site of skeleton find.

We have had a fly-in visit from anthropologist Joel Irish from Fairbanks, Alaska (he flew 42 hours for a one-day consult?). He specializes in assessing teeth from ancient human remains and is particularly interested in the ethnic variations in dentition. Since one of our queries about the skeleton found in Square 9 in 2011 (the head was on the round pierced stone seen in the photo here) is whether he was Egyptian or foreign, Professor Irish was the natural person to consult. He is talking with Roxie Walker who, with Salima Ikram, excavated the skeleton, and first recognized that it was a bound captive. She has spent the last several days cleaning the teeth in preparation for Joel’s visit, and now they are discussing what is visible.

Katherine, Gaultier, and Katie.

In Katie’s square east 12 we are very deep compared with the newest trenches. It has been largely devoid of regular mud brick walls from the beginning, and this season it has been characterized by broad magloob surfaces and a few smaller brick features, two of them rounded. In the overall shot, the juvenile burial from a couple of days ago is identifiable by the lighter colored sand covering it on the right side of the photo. The detail showing the east baulk with the large vessel in situ does not include the burial (it would be just right of the picture), but it shows the context: the floor of the vessel corresponds to the burial, and the heavy sherd layer -- all of it with red and black fire indications. A large fire can now be tracked at this level and slightly above and below in both Squares 12 and 9. The head to the juvenile skeleton was removed earlier, but here you can see most of the remainder lying against the baulk still flexed.

Square east 12.
East baulk with large vessel in situ.
Skeleton remains.

Sean and Sheri sorting pottery.

Here is a big shout-out: “thank you” to Sheri and Sean who have joined me on the pottery mats! I was truly drowning in the non-stop ceramic deluge brought from Meredith, Marina, and Maggie’s new squares. The industrial spots in the top levels here behind the lake were reused during the 25th and 26th Dynasties, but had been largely abandoned since the New Kingdom. Thus we have huge Late Period pottery pits that cut into the earlier levels everywhere we work – and the pottery is large and heavy. So Sheri and Sean are counting and sorting the baskets for me and bagging the diagnostics. What a huge help. And they seem to enjoy it! May I can get them even more interested in ceramics and have them do analysis – what do you think?

Sheri holding pottery sherd.
Sheri and Sean with pottery.






Meredith's square east 13.

Meredith’s square East 13 is in New Kingdom levels immediately – the Late Period reoccupation missed most of the trench except in the northwest. Walls also appeared right away, and in regular form. Already it is time for the drawing to begin, and Meredith and Allie prepare and begin to do these perpendicular walls on the east and south of the square. An overall shot of the square taken from the west gives you the layout so far.

Meredith and Allie.
Overview of square east 13.


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