Back at SAV1East, Sai Island

SAI_0926As scheduled, we started today the 2014 field season with our team of workmen, supervised by Rais Imad Mohammed Farah and our NCAM inspector Huda Magzoub. It’s very good to be back at SAV1East – we extended our excavation area towards the North and West aiming to cover more of Building A.

SAI_0936SAI_0946Especially the Western part proved already very interesting after the first surface cleaning – almost 50 % of the ceramics are 18th Dynasty in date! They can be well dated to Thutmoside time respectively the mid 18th Dynasty. Like we observed in 2013, the amount of beer jars and bread moulds is striking! Especially conical bread moulds increase in quantity the further south we get in our new squares – mirroring the results of last year and probably reflecting the nearness to Temple A, the local Amun-Re temple of the 18th Dynasty.

Just today, I had already fragments of 30 bread moulds among the surface material, always associated with 18th Dynasty beer jars and flower pots. Hopefully we will be able to contextualize these findings this year more precisely!

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!