After yesterday’s excitement in Mansura, today we returned to Kom el-Daba and continued investigating our town house, moving the work back from the southern end to the northern one where we had started our excavation in early March. We had then found part of the northern side of the house before it was cut by the sebakh pit which had destroyed the north-east corner. Today we followed the wall face up the mound towards the level of the base of the intact mud-brick on the top. Most of the excavating was through the deep dust fill which we had first encountered in this area and which is virtually empty with the few sherds that do occur being totally out of context – one Roman Period cooking-pot rim came up in the same pick-cut as a weathered cigarette end today! To make working on this steep slope easier for the men (and us) they cut steps in the empty fill alongside the face of the wall, to create level surfaces on which to stand.
Excavating up the side of the mound.
Nearing the top!
So far the northern face extends at least 10 metres from the position of the destroyed north-east corner so it is possible that the plan of the building is rectangular, rather than square as we had previously conjectured.
Defining the wall face.
We had some visitors on site today when a flock of sheep and goats were brought to graze on the rather sparse vegetation that the tell offers.
Mixed flock of sheep and goats passing to the north of the excavation.
After we had to turn around on Thursday when trying to return to Kafr es-Sheikh because the road was blocked by trucks and other vehicles queueing for diesel, we’ve taken the longer route to and from the site, via the main shopping street of Riyad as, this way, there are no garages on the roadside. When we were returning from Mansura yesterday in our microbus, the driver had to veer off-road through the very narrow alleys of a village because of another diesel queue that was completely blocking the road. The diesel-shortage problem does seem to be getting worse. Although our ‘new’ route wasn’t blocked by queueing vehicles, our carriageway was totally blocked at one point by a pile of pebbles for concrete-mixing and the bulldozer which was moving them around.
Today’s road blockage which meant both lanes of traffic had to negotiate though a very narrow gap behind the bulldozer.
When we got back to our hotel, there were many more vehicles here than usual with groups of people being welcomed by young men with green sashes to an event at the ‘club’ next door. Their sashes had written on them (in Arabic) ‘Moslem Brotherhood’ so we assume it is some kind of political party convention taking place in the club.