Processing Finds from SAV1E

While there was no fieldwork today, we used this Friday to continue the processing of finds and ceramics. After 4 weeks at SAV1E, a total amount of 12 176 pottery sherds have been analysed – from the total 36 % are 18th Dynasty in date (4375 pieces). SAV1E-P18

Bread moulds, beer jars, dishes and plates are the most common types. The beer jars (cf. picture to the right) are especially numerous and seem to have been made in a local Nile clay variant.

Some of the small dishes found at SAV1E show a nice splash decoration with red paint inside like the rim sherd illustrated here – this pattern is well known from Egypt and predominantly originates from the reign of Thutmose III. SAV1E-P20.9-04 in


Small finds and objects are still rather rare at SAV1E – as reported, we have a number of reused sherds, a clay weight, pounders and other stone tools, especially grinding stones. Some of the latter were found directly in the sandy remains filling the negative outline of the outer walls of Building A. SAV1E-120-01

In the north-eastern corner of Square 2, we discovered from the lowest level of bricks a small fayence ring bead, probably of New Kingdom date.

All in all, we have traces of grinding, bread making, possibly fishing and storage facilities at SAV1E – typical domestic activities in Egyptian towns, of which some are also commonly associated with temples and cultic activities. With two more weeks of fieldwork in our excavation area, we attempt contextualising SAV1E and its architectural and material remains further.


Registration of Finds & more

By the end of week 2, our Filemaker Database for objects from SAV1E comprises 85 pieces. Most of them are reused sherds (e.g. scrapers) and stone tools (e.g. grinding stones and pounders). Each object gets an entry in the database and is illustrated by photos. In a future step we will also make technical drawings of selected pieces.

NB Photo makingThe highlight so far was a tiny piece of fayence: this fragment illustrated here was discovered directly between mud bricks of the eastern wall of Building A. Thanks to parallels, it is clearly coming from a so-called Nun-boSAV1E-085-01iwl, datable to the 18th Dynasty. Such fayence bowls, decorated with floral designs, fish and marsh scenes, are commonly found within the context of New Kingdom temples, but also appear in domestic contexts. Examples for finds of Nun-bowls from settlements are among others Abydos, Kom el-Rabia and also SAV1North, the northern area of the Pharaonic town on Sai Island.

Stone tools for grinding and more

On a very windy day today, fieldwork continued in both squares and produced among others some stone tools characteristic of the New Kingdom. These are mainly hammers, pounders and grinding stones in various materials such as quartz, sandstone and diorite. SAV1E-028This example of a pounder (SAV1E 028) is made in sandstone and measures 7.5 x 7 x 5.2 cm.

Bread and Beer

Having started our excavations as planned in the new area SAV1E, located 50 meters north of the sandstone temple A within the Pharaonic town of Sai Island, we encounter already some intriguing aspects. Just after 10 cms from the surface, first mud bricks appeared, still loosely scattered but obviously a hint to our expected Pharaonic building below. The ceramic material of the New Kingdom dates mainly to the early 18th Dynasty and the Thutmoside era – another feature which supports our prospects. The corpus of pottery is largely comparable with SAV1N, the excavation area further to the North at the enclosure wall. The so far most interesting aspect is a large quantity of New Kingdom beer jars and bread moulds. The latter have been almost missing in 5 years of work at SAV1N, but only the first two days at SAV1E yielded more than 50 pieces! Our preliminary interpretation refers to the neighbourhood of SAV1E to temple A – bread moulds and beer jars are typically associated with Pharaonic temple cult. A functional assessment of SAV1E is of course not possible at this very early state of work, but a connection with temple A is indeed likely. We are very much looking forward to our next discoveries!