Shallalat 2016 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 seventh excavational season on 1st of April 2016 and finished it on 5th of June 2016.
Members of the mission were as follows:
Archaeologist, director of H.R.I.A.C.
Nikolia Spanou, Archaeologist
Christos Troullinos, Archaeologist
Dimitrios Sourlas, Archaeologist
Zorzeta Theofilou, Archaeologist
Angela Tsesmetzi, Architect
Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim Abd Elgawad
A team of students from the Alexandria University, Greco-Roman department, participated in the survey after an agreement with the Alexandria University (supervisor: Dr Mona Hagag). The excavation work was held out by 10-12 workers per day.
The excavation was carried out at the North-West part of Shallalat Gardens at the same area as the previous season (October-November 2015). We further removed the modern debris until the debth of approximately 6m., towards the west and north of the main trench by mechanical means.
For the first time in the area we undertook a dewatering project in order to solve the problem of water table that all the previous years was preventing us from excavating deeper. A system of five wells around the trench, ten meters deeper than the level of the excavation area, was made as well as three inside the trench. In every well were placed two pumps working 24 h per day. The result was successful enough to enable us excavating properly.
Subsequently, the excavation was carried out at an area 14, 00 m. E-W x 12, 00 m N-S. We removed the modern debris that had been used to cover the area of the trench manually. At the rest of the area, west and north, we excavated the ancient debris, a thick strata full of fragmented pottery from hellenistic to roman period, known from the previous seasons. We collected a small amount of pottery that we deposited it again at the area, after conferming the date of this strata. At the debth of 8, 30 m. to the south and 9,10m. to the north-west we reached the strata of the compacted lime breccia. The breccia was not found at the most part of the north side of the trench; there the strata of the ancient debris continues until the debth of 10, 20 m.
At the SW corner, under the strata of the ancient debris, we unearthed part of a construction made by pinkish thick mortar that contains gravel and unwrought alabaster pieces which seems to be kind of floor. This part seems to have been detached from the rest of the construction that goes further into the west side of the trench. Immediately underneath there are fallen parts of a kind of wall made by dark reddish clay bricks, fallen on the breccia. To further understand this construction we have to continue excavating towards the west. The chronology of it seems to be of a late date.
At the middle of the trench under the strata of the ancient debris part of a drain was found. For its construction part of the breccia was dug. The drain was placed immediately on the blocks of the foundation that has been revealed at the biggest part of the trench. It was made of well worked pieces of limestone in second use and broken parts of clay bricks. Among these, was a pedestal made of alabaster, also in second use. We removed the drain, after drawing and photographing it.
At the rest of the trench, under the strata of breccia we revealed part of the foundation of a large building, that extents further to the south and to the east. To the west almost certainly we have reached its limit, while towards the north it is not clear yet as at many parts the blocks have been removed. Also, at the NW part, north of the foundation blocks that have been revealed and mostly into this side the trench, a part of wall was found. For its construction have been used limestone blocks in second use, most probably from the foundation. Though it seems of a later date, further investigation is needed toward the north.
The excavated dimensions of the foundation are 10, 00 x 12, 00 m, N-S and E-W respectively. The size of the limestone blocks used for the construction of it is approximately 1,00 x 0,60 x 0,50m. At the SE corner of the trench a small part of wall has been found made also by big limestone blocks, measuring 1,15 x 0,60 x 0,60 m., put together without joining material. The wall also extends towards the south. Blocks of the foundation continue to extend under the wall to the east and south. The construction strata of the building has been dated to the Ptolemaic period, according to the pottery that has been collected from it, among it an early Hellenistic lamp that has been collected under the blocks of the wall.
It is important to mention that under the foundation at the height of 10, 70 m. we reached a strata of pure sand and sandstone, which we consider as the bedrock.
The size of the foundation blocks as well as the size of the wall blocks, which is extremely big and the dimensions of the whole construction show that we have uncovered part of a public building of Ptolemaic period. This fact in combination with the site, which possibly belonged to the Royal Quarter of the ancient Alexandria, makes the finding important for the knowledge of topography of the Ptolemaic city.
The plans for the next excavation season are the continuation of the excavation to the south where the construction is extended, after demolishing the big volume of debris and soil at this area.
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