Shallalat 2019

 

Shallalat February – June 2019 Excavation Report

 

Subject: Excavation Report

According to the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities we started the 13th excavation season on 20th of February and finished it on 3rd of June.

 

Members:

Calliope Limneos–Papakosta, archaeologist,

director of H.R.I.A.C.

Nikolia Spanou, archaeologist

Reham Abdallah Zaki, archaeologist

Angela Tsesmetzi, architect

 

 

The excavation work was held out by 15-18 workers per day.

 

 

Excavation

 

During this season the excavation was held at three sectors, Zone 2: trench N and trenches K / K1, Zone 3: trench S3 and Zone 4: trench N2.

 

 

Zone 2/N

 

During the first week cleaning and arranging work has been done at the site (Zone 2), in order to be able to extend the survey towards the north part of the excavation area.

We extended the excavation area, at the westernmost part of the site, where the double row of limestone blocks that belong to the Ptolemaic building running at the N-S axis was revealed during the last season excavation. The excavation was held at an area 4,00m x 4,00m. Part of the destruction layer of the mosaic floor that was unearthed at the previous season was removed in order to continue to the deeper layers. At the depth of 9, 00m, from the modern surface, a double row of the Ptolemaic foundation was unearthed, being the continuation of the part that was excavated at previous season. Above it a destruction layer of the channel like structure made of pinkish coarse mortar and brownish red bricks was detected. This structure was constructed on a breccia layer about 0,40m. thick. Upon its destruction, at a later date, has been built a poorly shaped retaining wall [pl.2]. Due to the lack of space we were unable to continue excavating though this row of the foundation blocks seems to be preserved even to the north [pl. 1].

We continued excavating at the south-western part of the area where the Ptolemaic foundation has been revealed, trying to detect as much of it as possible. We uncovered part of it at the southern and eastern edge of the channel-like construction made of pinkish coarse mortar and brownish red bricks, though destroyed at its most part [pl. 2a].

Also, we held a small scale research at the area of late roman/early byzantine workshop remains, south of the prolemaic foundation, that were uncovered at previous seasons [pl. 2b].

 

Zone 2/K [pl. 3a]

After topographical evaluation of the possible extension toward the east of the roman road, that was unearthed during previous seasons and was identified as road L2 according to El Falaky’s map, we made a sounding, 2m. x 2m., at the eastern edge of Zone 2 where the cross section of L2 with the broad road R1 would have been. At the depth of 2,00m., under a layer of modern debris, part of a structure with a crepis was revealed extending at the axis of E-W. Right at its south, at the same depth a layer of compact soil, 0, 80m. thick, was detected, most probably being the foundation of a street (L2). At its western detected part this layer seems to have been curved following the outline of a well that was built at the place. The construction of the well seems to be contemporary with the sub layer, but ante date of the construction with the crepis.

Further to the south, an open water channel made of coarse grayish waterproof mortar which runs E-W was uncovered, after removing a layer of modern (early – mid 20th century) debris, the same that cover the whole area. Most probably, this channel used to belong to the watering system of Shallalat at an early date, though it has not been unearthed at its whole. South of it, part of a second construction with a crepis was detected extending outside the limits of the trench. In order to investigate it we made another sounding, K1, west of the K.

 

Zone 2/K1, [pl. 3b]

At this trench, parts of both structures with crepis and the water channel were found, though they extend out of the limits of the trench. The character and the exact use of the crepis structures were not ascertained, thought their preserved surface made of compacted strong mortar and semi – dressed stones, indicates their use as a foundation.

An earlier construction, made of a paved with small size semi – dressed limestones area and three successive layers of limestone blocks at its east side was also revealed at a lower depth. Its excavation will be continued during the next excavation period.

 

Zone 3/S3 [pl. 4a]

We held a sounding, 7, 50m. x 4, 50 m., at the south side of Shallalat gardens, at the area S3 according to results of the geophysical survey. After removing the modern debris, at the depth of 3, 50m. a layer containing Islamic/Ottoman pottery was detected. Worth mentioning is that this same level contained pieces of the characteristic black stones by which the roman road L2 has been made of. According to our estimations at that point R1 broad road of Roman Alexandria would has been located. After removing it, a part of the defensive wall of the Medieval/Ottoman city was revealed, at the depth of 3, 40m. – 5, 00m. The wall runs E-W and is constructed of a row of well dressed stones at its north face bearing white mortar, though its filling has been made by rough and semi – dressed stones compacted with grayish-whitish mortar. The south edge of the fortification wall has not been detected as it seems to extend further out of the limits of the sounding.

At the SW corner of the trench, later constructions seem to have disturbed part of the filling of the fortification wall. Also, we were unable to explore its foundation as it goes deeper than the level of the water table. In total, the part of the wall that has been unearthed measures as follows: length: 7,50m, width: 4,50m., height: 3,20m.

The excavation work at this sector has been completed for this season by covering the trench with soil. The following season the excavation will be continued at this area.

 

Zone 4/N2, [pl. 4b]

We held a sounding, 6, 00m. x 4, 50m., at the north side of Shallalat gardens, at the area N2 according to the results of the geophysical survey. After removing a thick layer of modern debris, at the north part of the trench, at 7, 50m. depth, part of a construction made of limestone blocks was detected. The construction resembles to the Ptolemaic foundation unearthed at Zone 2/N, but due to the limited space of the trench and the need for dewatering planning we were not able to continue the work at this sector this season.

The excavation work at this sector has been completed for this season by covering the trench with soil. The following season the excavation will be continued at this area.

 

Besides pottery, various small finds were collected. Among them there are 4 pieces of clay figurines and part of a marble hellenistic figurine, most probably a portrait of Alexander the Great [pl. 5-7].

 

 

 

For and On Behalf of

Hellenic Research Institute of Alexandrian Civilization

 

Calliope Limneos-Papakosta

Director