Shallalat 2010 Excavation Report
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Department of Foreign Missions Affairs
Subject: Excavation Report
The Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization (H.R.I.A.C.) obtained the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities to continue the archaeological excavation in Shallalat Gardens of Alexandria on 31st of March 2010.
The excavation started on 6th of April 2010.
Members of the mission were as follows:
Kalliopi Limneou-Papakosta, Archaeologist, director of H.R.I.A.C.
Nikolia Spanou, Archaeologist
Raymond Anis-Fouad, Archaeologist
Vassilis Datsioudis, Conservator
Sintichakis Andreas, Civil Engineer
Theofilou Georgia, Archaeologist
Kanatselou Katerina, Archaeologist
Venieri Konstantina, Archaeologist
Belegris Alexandros, Photographer
Riham Abdallah, Archaeologist
Iman Hussein Mohamed
The excavation work was held out by 10-13 workers per day.
The excavation ended on 10th of May 2010.
Shallalat Gardens (early 20th c.) cover a vast area, replacing the northern bastions created at the years of Mohamed Aly, which “modernized” the medieval city walls of Alexandria. The complex follows the curve NE of the Rosetta Gate.
The excavation was carried out at the same area we excavated the previous season. We enlarged the excavation area, after removing two big palm trees, in order to detect the edges of the lime mortar construction that had been detected. For this reason we extended the previous trench 14m. to the west, 2,00m. to the south, 3,00m. to the north and 5,00m. to the east.
We started excavated at the western part of this trench and at the depth of -3.60m. below the surface we revealed a strata consisted of a destroyed structure made by mortar and clay plinths, part of a destroyed brick wall and plentiful pottery. Among these we excavated two large pithoi, still in situ, but with their upper part broken. All over this area we detected traces of fire. We didn’t excavate this strata, since we want to enlarge the area as long as possible. The strata was traced at an area 7.50m. x 8.00m. and probably is part of a workshop or storage area. Depending on the pottery, though not systematically studied yet, the chronology rises up to the late roman period.
We continued excavated eastern of this occupation area, after leaving unexcavated a 3.00m. zone. At the depth of -7.10m., at the west side of the area, we revealed a wall 1,78m. high and 1.57m. wide made mostly by broken pieces of crafted lime stones, connected with earth. The wall is based on the lime mortar structure that had been revealed at the previous season. Because of the water, that covers the biggest part of the wall, most of the stones had been removed. Depending on the sherds collected among the stones, we consider this structure also late roman and it is, probably, part of foundation.
At the depth of -7.60m.(S), and -8.30 (N), we traced the extension of the lime mortar construction to the west and at the depth of -7.60m. to the east. Its total excavated length is 12.50m. and width 4,50m. Above it, we excavated the same strata with the plentiful late hellenistic/roman pottery, architectural parts, parts of sculptures and colored plaster. To the north-west part of the trench, at -8.30m. we revealed two big crafted stone blocks of psammite, covered at some parts by bricks. The stone blocks are based on the lime mortar construction, the basement of which we couldn’t trace, because it extends to the whole area. In order to see the basement of the psammite stone blocks, we had to remove a small part of the lime mortar construction right in front of the blocks. Among the small parts of the crafted stones and the bricks we removed, we revealed a big building block lime stone with anathyrosis at one side that was drop there, used as filling of the lime mortar construction.
Among the pottery there are many sigillattas and other fine red ware, pointed – base amphoras, parts and wholes, some with painted marks and plenty of coarse ware. Other significant findings are a miniature nude male torso, two parts of female statues, a finger and one breast, a part of another marble statue, possibly a knee, two small parts of capitals, lamps, coins- though they were extremely oxidized by the water-and stamped amphora handles.
The surveying plans of the H.R.I.A.C. are to undertake a systematic research of the whole area of Shallalat Gardens for the next years, continuing the excavation project on October-November-December 2010. The site is very important for the topography of ancientAlexandria and has to be studied carefully.
The most important issue now is to find the suitable way to drain the water of the trenches, because our experience after four excavation periods in Shallalat is the necessity to control this major problem, because we think that the Ptolemaic layer of Alexandria is below the level of water.
We wish to thank, the Supreme Council of Antiquities for permitting our Institute to work in Alexandria, His Excellency the Governor of Alexandria Mr. Adel Labib, the Authorities of the Antiquity Service of Alexandria as well as our Egyptian friends and colleagues that supported our work.
For and on behalf of the HRIAC