The Piramesse excavation team of the Roemer- and Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim in Germany, has uncovered parts of a building complex as well as a mortar pit with children footprints and a painted wall in Piramesse ancient City (recently known as Qantir) in East Delta.
Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, Mahmoud Afifi announced. He describes the building complex as ” truly monumental” with its extension of about 200 x 160 metres. The layout makes an identification as a palace or a temple very likely.
Mission Director Henning Franzmeier explains that based on the results of the magnetic measurements, carried out last year in order to determine the structure of the ancient city, a field was rented beneath which relevant structures were to be expected. In this area parts of a building complex are located.
In addition, he went on, to the archaeological potential of the site it had been chosen for its proximity to the edges of the modern village of Qantir which endangers with its fast growth the antiquities beneath the agricultural fields around.
Franzmeier said that the team has also uncovered an area of about 200 sqm. It is the goal of this works to understand a potential entrance to the monumental building which non-typically seems not to be located in the axis of the complex but in its North-western corner. Furthermore a second small trench was laid out in an area where we believe the enclosure wall can be traced.
“The finds and archaeological features uncovered are most promising,” he pointed out adding that just a couple of centimetres beneath the surface a multitude of walls was uncovered. They can all be dated to the pharaonic period. Due to the limited size of the trenches no buildings can be reconstructed so far. Nonetheless it is obvious that the stratigraphy is extremely dense and several construction phases are preserved; not all the walls are contemporaneous.
The team has also found a mortar pit extending to at least 2.5 x 8 metres. It still preserves a layer of mortar at the bottom which shows footprints of children which most probably mixed the components of the mortar. Even more extraordinary is the filling of the pit as it consists of smashed pieces of painted wall plaster.
“No motifs are recognizable so far but we are certainly dealing with the remains of large-scale multi-coloured wall paintings,” said Franzmeier. The team has cleaned it in situ and subsequently removed. A comprehensive excavation of all fragments followed by permanent conservation and the reconstruction of motifs will be subject of future seasons.
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Photos are courtesy of MoA