Barry Kemp har startet en nyhedsmail, hvor han fortæller om arbejdet i Amarna. Hvis man ønsker at modtage denne, kan man skrive til ham, som anført nedenfor. Jeg har fået lov til at videregive den første mail her (med tilføjelse af nogle billeder). Den kom i lørdags og handler især om Stenlandsbyen.

Jeg er i øjeblikket i kontakt med Kemp for at arrangere et besøg i Amarna i forbindelse med DÆS-rejsen i efteråret 2009. Hvis vi kan få tiderne til at passe, vil han nemlig gerne vise os rundt. Jeg skriver snart yderligere til de interesserede i denne rejse.

Amarna

Amarna Winter Season 2008: 1st report

Greetings from Amarna. I have taken the liberty of creating a mail list of people who might be interested in the progress of the Amarna expedition. Please let me know (to bjk2@cam.ac.uk) if you wish to be on this list. With my good wishes: Barry Kemp

I joined the expedition on Wednesday, December 3rd, and arrived by a new route. Our long-distance driver took advantage of newly completed stretches of asphalt road that allow you to cross the Nile eastwards by the bridge at Minia, head immediately south beside the river and then turn off to the eastern desert highway just before Beni Hassan. The final turning to the west brings you down past the South Tombs and then straight to the expedition house. It is longer than crossing the river by the Amarna ferries, but avoids the delays and uncertainties that attend them.

Ferry
DÆS-rejsen marts 2007

The winter season’s work was already well advanced. Anna Stevens and the Stone Village team had started at the beginning of November and they gave me a tour of their work. If you stand on the grey, gravel-covered plateau and look west, the Nile valley and villages seem not too far away. But turn and start to walk down into the hollow where the village lies and the sense of isolation closes in. The sun might be bright in a clear sky, but a chill wind blows hard and steady over the desert and brings home what a lonely place it is, and a strange one in which to plant a settlement.

The aim of this year’s campaign is to come to a better definition of the site as a whole, giving equal treatment to signs of human disturbance in several locations outside the obvious perimeter of the village itself. The plan is yielding unexpected dividends.

The village partly faces the open desert, the wadi that leads to the royal tomb in the distance, and partly a low rounded bluff close by. On the far side of it, an investigation of shallow scrapings visible on the surface has led to the discovery of two tombs neatly cut into the soft orange-brown rock. In each case a short shaft with stairs leads down to a small burial chamber. They have been robbed, but a good part of one body remained articulated accompanied by a large piece of textile, and loose bones probably from the other chamber lay loose in the covering spoil. There are clearly other tombs awaiting discovery. This is a significant find. It suggests the presence of a community with a sense of permanent attachment to the place, a true village, rather than a transient camp.

Amarna south
Kort over den sydlige del af Amarna med Stenlandsbyen
(klik for større plan)

Further round the slope closer to the village larger scrapings in the hillside have also looked like the signatures of modern grave-robbers. An archaeological trench dug into the hillside has now actually revealed a carefully cut ancient rock face, around 2 metres deep. At the bottom, however, is no shaft or chamber but the foundations of a cross-wall of brick on the solid rock floor. Further exploration means moving a great deal of sand from in front, and there are signs of other similar cuttings close by. It is too early even to guess at what has been going on here. But it does show that, just as at the Workmen’s Village that lies a kilometre away, the people of the Stone Village were utilising the adjacent hill slopes for extensions of their distinctive way of life that only archaeological fieldwork can define.

Stenlandsbyen

Within the village perimeter a further test area has been opened at the top of the site. Here the walls are better preserved, in height and in condition, with much of the original orange clay plaster still covering the rounded boulders that were the main building material, at least for the lower parts. To counteract the slope of the ground the floor had been cut down into the rock so that the back wall of the rooms was partly built against the cut. The surviving deposits of debris at this point reveal that – as noticed in other locations – the site has an internal history of modification if not enlargement.

The increased size of the archaeological team is also yielding a steady stream of small finds, sherds and organic material. Amongst the finds is a group of three tiny fragments of mud seals, of the kind used to close rolled-up papyri, for example. They bear the same distinctive design, but probably not from the same ring or scarab. Are they from an administrative centre that controlled the village?

Increasingly the Stone Village looks like a fully-fledged permanent community, a smaller but just-as-busy version of the better known Workmen’s Village. There is, however, still a long way to go before the site is adequately described, let alone understood.

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