Shallalt 2019 2nd phase

To

Antiquity Service of Alexandria

Department of Foreign Missions Affairs Cairo, Egypt

Subject: Excavation Report

According to the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities we started the fourteenth excavation season on 21st of September.

 

Zone 2/N

During the first ten days we cleaned the area and removed modern debris from the eastern side of the site.

We started excavating at the NE part of the main area of the site, right to the north of the previously revealed Ptolemaic foundation which runs to the West-East direction, at an area 5,50m. x 3,50m. At the depth of c. 7,50m. from the surface ground, a layer of uneven breccia was found, about 0,80m. thick [pl.1].

We continued by helding a sounding, 5,40m. x 4,20m., further to the east. After removing a layer of modern debris, at the depth of c. 4,00m. from the surface ground, architectural remains were revealed. They consist part of the late roman/early byzantine workshop complex that has been excavated in previous seasons [pl.2].

At the depth of c. 9, 00m. from the surface ground, right to west of this constructions, a row of the limestone blocks that belong to the Ptolemaic foundation was unearthed at the axis N-W. It starts from the outer (southern) line of the foundation and possibly it was made as a double row, though the eastern blocks have been broken by the workshop remains [pl.3].

The amount of findings from these archaeological layers is significant. Among the findings stands a marble section of sculpture. It is the part of a lower leg, namely the toes together with the sandal [pl.4].

Working has also been done at the area of the roman hydraulic mortar – made floor, most specifically into the tunnel underneath. A considerable amount of mud was removed from the interior. After the cleaning, traces of fire were detected on the sides and the ceiling of the tunnel, which is dug into the layer of breccia. At each side, a formation of well dressed stones was found, preserving up to three superimposed rows at places. It seems to be a kind of water canal [pl.5].

Excavation work has also been done, at the southern part of the site, where the section of the roman road is preserved. Firstly, we held a sounding, 4,00m. x 4,00m., at the eastern preserved part of the road, in order to explore its continuation. The road was found destroyed by constructions of later date, apart from a small part that was found in place. Despite the heavy destruction, the presence of displaced irregular black stones, which belonged to the road, made clear that it continued further to this direction. Also, part of the canalization for the waste water was found, though also destroyed at this area [pl.6].

At the area, where the road was preserved, we extended the trench 4,50m. further to the south and 8,00m to the east. The total section of the roman road that was found at place, measures 3,70m x 4,00m. The rest of it has been destroyed by heavy constructions that seem to belong to the Islamic fortification system. They run to the axis NE-SW, though the southern is slightly out of the axis line of the northern. Both are made by irregular small size limestones compacted into a white mortar. The western side of them preserves a facet of medium size semi dressed limestones, preserved at the height of 2,00m. The continuation of the excavation may reveal more about their plan and the way they connect [pl.7].

Zone 2/K

 

We extended the last season’s trench K further to the west about c. 11,50m. (trench: 11,50m. x 9,60m.)

The heavy construction that had been found at the south part of the excavation trench is continuing further to the west. It is made by small and medium rough and semi dressed lime stones compacted into a white mortar and has a stepped facet at its north part. Most possibly it belongs to the Islamic fortification system.

 

At the northern part of the trench, after the removal of a layer of modern debris, a precinct-like construction was revealed. It is made by a double row of walls, which they are constructed by big size blocks with a space between them, wide about a meter. The precinct runs to the axis of W-E. Its southern wall preserves, up to now, 3 rows of blocks and the northern 2. The revealed length of it measures 2,30m. and its excavated height is 1,35m. Its eastern part is destructed by the late 19th century water-canal that was revealed during the work of last season. Toward the west the excavation is still in progress. Further excavation work needs to be done in order to date the construction [pl.8].

 

Right to the south of it a well of quadrate shape was unearthed measuring 0,85m. x 0,65m and 2,30m. height. It is built of fine dressed medium size limestones which they preserve carvings at the inner side presumably a kind of stepping system. At the depth of 1,20 m. at its north side there is an tunnel at the axis N-S. The sides of the tunnel are built by the same kind of limestones and its ceiling by clay tiles. The exact use of this construction is still unknown, though the well most possibly is a ventilation shaft [pl.9].

For and on Behalf of

Hellenic Research Institute of Alexandrian Civilization

Calliope Limneos-Papakosta

Director