The Tell Basta team arrived in Egypt on February 21st. As usual, we spent the first two days in Cairo to get our SCA paperwork done. Having succesfully accomplished our first task, we went to Zagazig, the modern city close to the ancient site of Tell Basta on Friday 24th.
Here, also as usual, we faced the first challenge of the season: we had to clean our flat from the dust of the last months and settle in.
Work on site started at 7 o’clock the next morning. As planned we continued our excavation in Area A, the entrance area of the temple of Bastet and the current main focus of our project. The excavations of the last few seasons had revealed remains of tower houses dating to the Late and Ptolemaic Periods some 40m east of the temple. We assume that these buildings were once a part of the subsidiary system of the temple.
Stormy weather at Tell Basta
Unfortunately, the first week was very trying in terms of the weather! After two days of bright sky and sunshine, we found ourselves exposed to cold sandstorms followed by heavy rainstorms. All possible work – digging and cleaning as well as taking measurements and drawing – was extremely hindered by the strong winds which blew away not only paper sheets but even heavy tools! In order to find some shelter we were forced to have our second breakfast in our container, where we used a camping stove to warm ourselves up.
Apart from the weather, the first week started under a good omen: the puppy we found in the temple and took care of during the last autumn season (“Nectanebo III”, see http://goo.gl/GNzWt) has survived. A little taller now but still a very cute and playful young dog, he at once renewed his friendship with us and is a joyful companion at the site.