Season 2016 Update - Standing Wall Island: A most unusual building
When we first started excavating the Standing Wall Island area, we hypothesized that the large, open area was a corral and the two enclosures attached to it were used for slaughtering and butchering animals. However, in 2015 we found enough evidence to determine that at least one of the enclosures (ES2) was not a place of butchering and we began to believe it was instead a house, probably the official residence of the person who oversaw the compound.
This spring we returned to ES2 and discovered that its eastern wall stands nearly 2 meters high! This is phenomenal preservation for the "Lost City of the Pyramids," where most walls are only waist- to ankle-high. The house also appears to be fortified, with mudbrick walls surrounded by a massive field stone girdle. Inside we found bins, jars, vats, and silos which suggest the storage and processing of grain.
While we did not find any clear evidence this year to confirm the "cattle hypothesis," there are other examples in Egypt of an official residence existing within the same area used for keeping and slaughtering animals and the paper-clip pattern of the large, empty enclosure does resemble other corrals both as they have been found at other sites and as they are depicted in ancient Egyptian art. We are looking forward to returning to this area and the unexcavated enclosure (ES1) next year and hope to find more evidence for what was going on at this southernmost tip of the Lost City site.
Look for the results of our 2016 season to be published in an upcoming AERAgram and our 2015-2016 Annual Report, both of which will be sent to our members later this year.
Unearthed: Dark Secrets of the Pyramids
In this new documentary, AERA's Mark Lehner and Glen Dash discuss their most recent survey work at the Great Pyramid of Giza and the system of blocks and grooves within the pyramid used to protect the King's Chamber from tomb robbers.
Ever since we uncovered the first pedestals on the Lost City site, we have puzzled over their function. The first pedestals were found in 1988 in what came to be known as the Pedestal Building and had tops that were completely eroded and revealed little about their purpose. We've since discovered better preserved examples with beer jars or bowls propped upright at the slots between the pedestals, as if positioned to catch drips from whatever was stored above or perhaps to serve as standard measures for doling out the contents.
In 2015, we discovered the best preserved pedestal to date in the AA-S area. We've now documented this pedestal using photogrammetry to create a 3D image. On our website you can read more about the pedestals and download an interactive 3D PDF which will allow you to zoom in and rotate the image and get a sense of how these pedestals may have once functioned.
Our members help make possible our excavations in Egypt, field school training, rescue archaeology, conservation, education and outreach. Members also receive printed copies of AERAgrams and annual reports as soon as they are published.