The first two weeks of work at Tell Basta have been full of a variety of different activities. Work in two new gridsquares has started, already revealing promising structures. Remains of a massive mudbrick wall and a large floor came to light in X/4. The mud brick structures belong to the walls of the Late Period - Ptolemaic tower houses that were mentioned in the previous post. The floor is especially interesting. It consists of limestone chips, some as large as a fist, some crushed nearly to dust. The whole mixture makes a quite durable pavement. We hope in due course to determine whether this are was used for specialised activities which required a hard-wearing floor.
Tell Basta - cleaning of Y5
Y/5, the other gridsquare, shows the contexts of the adjacent square Y/4, excavated in the previous seasons. Here we discovered one small room containing a large quantity of figurines, mostly of terracotta but some made of limestone. Some of them showed the remains of their original plaster and paint. The pottery found there also showed the remains of colours. Very handily, we also found a some of the colour pigments for producing yellow and blue colours, and it seems that the pottery vessels were used for mixing the colours used to paint the figurines. This all hints to the fact that the building might have housed a workshop.
Digging in a pit in Y4
An extraordinarily challenging task for Daniela and Eva was to draw mud brick walls of a very impressive thickness, as hundreds of unburnt mudbricks had to be drawn! It took us almost a week, quite often hampered by the capricious weather conditions: rain, sandstorms, hot sun…
As you know our attention also extends to the animals living at the site. Nectanebo III got some company when we discovered a new canine family: a mother with five puppies living in grid square R/2 where our monumental statue of a queen (a reused statue of a Ramesside queen) was found a few years ago. Alas, no cats yet…