Shallalat 2015 Excavation Report
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Department of Foreign Missions Affairs
Subject: Excavation Report
According to the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities we start the sixth excavational season on 15th of October 2015 and finished it on 21 of the October 2015.
Members of the mission were as follows:
Archaeologist, director of H.R.I.A.C.
Nikolia Spanou, Archaeologist
Panayiotis Christos Konstantinidis, Archaeologist
Despoina Aggelakou, Archaeologist
Zorzeta Theofilou, Archaeologist
Hoda Sobhy Nashed
A team of students from the Alexandria University, Greco-Roman and Egyptian department, participated in the survey after an agreement with the Alexandria University. The excavation work was held out by 10-12 workers per day.
The excavation was carried out at the same area of Shallalat Gardens as the years of 2009, and 2010. We removed the modern debris from an area 23m. at the direction N-S and 35m. at the direction E-W. At the depth of 3,5m. from the surface, at the northern part of the excavation area, we unearthed part of a construction possibly of post arabic date, constructed of reused ancient lime blocks.
Subsequently, the excavation was carried out at an area 17,5m. E-W x 10m N-S. The southern part of the trench, 3,5m. from the south edge and 14m. from the east edge, had been excavated the previous years. As a result until the depth of 9,5m. we removed the modern debris that had been used to cover the area. To the rest of the trench, after removing a thick layer of earth empty of any kind of constructions, at the depth of 7,30m., we reached the strata of dark mud known from the previous seasons. At the NW corner of the trench a part of a shallow conduit built of partly crafted lime stones, architectural parts of earlier date and parts of clay bricks as connecting material was found into this strata. According to the pottery, the date of this strata should be placed at the post roman period.
The bad weather caused a great delay to the process of excavation, as the pumps were not sufficient enough to drain out quickly the quantity of water. In addition the whole trench was covered again with modern debris brought by the rainfall. Therefore we concentrated to the SW part of the excavation area, leaving the rest of the it unexcavated. At the depth of 7,60m. we reached the strata of the compacted lime breccia. Localy, under this lime mortar, a 25 cm. thick layer of pinkish mortar consisted of gravel and unwrought alabaster pieces, with clay bricks at its lower part, was detected. It is of great importance to note that the alabaster pieces used in the mortar and a big piece of semi-worked alabaster found in the strata that covered it, are of similar quality with the material that has been used for the construction of Alabaster Tomb placed at the Latin cemetery. Other finds of the same layer are late hellenistic/roman pottery, architectural parts, fragments of colored plaster and parts of sculptures. Among the latter prominent is a small fragment of an arm, which is already verified as a part of the Alexander’s statue exhibited at the National Museum of Alexandria since 2009.
At the depth of about 11m., immediately below the clay bricks at the base of the pinkish mortar layer, a heavy constuction of large lime blocks covered with a fine lime mortar extended towards all directions was detected. Due to the severe difficulties caused by the water, we were unable to continue excavating this season, in order to clarify the character of the construction.
Our main goal for the spring excavation season of 2016 is to accomplish a master plan for draining the water of the trench in order to reveal the construction at its all extent and excavate it systematically, as we have strong indications that we have reached the ptolemaic strata.
We would like to thank for their support Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mr. Hany Abou El
Azm, Mr. Mustafa Rusdi and Mrs. Samiha Noshy Rafla.
For and On Behalf of
Hellenic Research Institute of Alexandrian Civilization