Shalalat 2008 Final Report
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Department of Foreign Missions Affairs
Subject: Excavation Report
The Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization (H.R.I.A.C.) obtained the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities to start an archaeological survey in Shallalat Gardens of Alexandria on 3rd of February 2008.
The excavation started on 25th of April 2008 for a preliminary research of the site. Members of the mission were as follows:
Kalliopi Papakosta, Archaeologist, director of H.R.I.A.C.
Nikolia Spanou, Archaeologist
Raymond Anis-Fouad, Archaeologist
Emmanuel Chamaoui, Conservator
Olga Hatzifotis, Architect
Dr. Gad El-Qady, Geophisist
Nagat Mohamed Metwaly
A team of post gratuated students of Alexandria University participated in the survey. The excavation work was held out by 6-8 workers per day.
The survey, including excavation and drilling, ended on 22nd of May 2008.
Shallalat Gardens (early 20th c.) cover a vast area ,replacing the northern bastions created at the years of Mohamed Aly,which “modernized” the medieval city walls of Alexandria. The complex follows the curve NE of the Rosseta Gate.
We defined an area 6x5m according to the results of the geophysical survey at site , profiles 1 & 2. After we removed the modern debris, a part of a wall revealed at 5,40m depth below the surface, almost at the center of trench. The wall was built by lime stones and structural material in second use, without any connecting material. Its orientation is from East to West and by the pottery collected from the level of its foundation it’s probably dated at the Arabic period. The western part of this wall was established over the remains of a previous dated wall, perhaps of Byzantine date. At 5,80m depth at the southern part of the trench, as it is defined by the wall, and beneath the wall itself, at 6,80m depth, we revealed a layer of sand, empty of any material. Beneath that, in 7,40m depth we detected a layer of sandstone. The fact that in the same depth we reached the level of the aquiferous horizon, forced us to continue the excavation at this part of the trench in a smaller area about 1×1 wide. At 8,40m we detected that the sandstone ended and another layer of sand appeared. Unfortunately, at this depth we had to stop the excavation because of the water.
At the northern part of the trench, at 5,70m depth we revealed a layer of debris. Among the findings there was not any contemporary pottery, but in order to date this layer we should first study the materials from it carefully. The debris was consisted of pottery, many fragments of plaster with paint, large fragments of alabaster and architectural parts. At this area, a layer of sand was revealed at 7, 70m, but until the depth of 8,40m we didn’t reach any layer of sandstone.
Among the findings there are 11 stamped amphora handles, 2 coins, an inscribed part of marble, an inscribed part of alabaster, a limestone part of acanthus leaf, a part of a small column and a part of architrave.
The surveying plans of the H.R.I.A.C. are to undertake a systematic research of the whole area of Shallalat Gardens for the next years, beginning a new excavation project for October-November-December 2008. The site is very important for the topography of ancientAlexandria and has to be studied carefully.
The most important issue now is to find the suitable way to drain the water of the trenches, because our experience after two excavation periods in Shallalat is the necessity to control this major problem, because we think that the Ptolemaic layer of Alexandria is below the level of water.
We wish to thank, for this start of our research, the Supreme Council of Antiquities for permitting our Institute to work inAlexandria, His Excellency the Governor of Alexandria Mr. Adel Labib, the Authorities of the Antiquity Service of Alexandria as well as our Egyptian friends and colleagues that supported our work.
For and on behalf of H.R.I.A.C.