Shallalat October – December 2017 Excavation Report
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Department of Foreign Missions Affairs
Subject: Excavation Report
According to the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities we started the tenth excavational season on 1st of October and finished it on 11th of December.
Ines Salem Mohamed (1/10/17 – 11/11/17)
Aziza Ali Mohamed (12/11/17 – 11/12/17)
The excavation work was held out by 12-14 workers per day.
Work at the site started on the 1st of October by removing a big amount of modern debris in order to extend the excavation area toward the South and West.
At the southern part of the enlarged area, about 5m. deeper than the surface ground, part of a roman road was excavated [pl.1]. It extends 24m. in the East – West direction. The maximum width that was excavated is 2,30m., as it seems to continue into the south side of the trench. It is made of big polygonal black stones that have been placed right on the soil. At the excavated part was not detected any kind of substratum. Its northern edge has not been preserved, except from the western part, where a curb made of limestone blocks has been unearthed. About 1m. under the road deck, part of the ancient canalization for the waste water was found, built at the typical arched type, known from other areas of Alexandria [pl.2]. Its sides are made by medium sized crafted stones and its top by stone slabs. The floor and the ceiling are lined by a kind of hard white mortar. At some parts along the road deck, remains of a destruction strata was detected belonging to later constructions [pl.3], which must have been abolished the function of the street. The road is identified as part of one of the main longitudinal streets of ancient Alexandria as described by Mahmoud Bey El Falaki, specifically as the street L2.
To the North-West of the road, 3m. deeper, parts of constructions, among them a stone path and a room, and its destruction layers have been excavated, some of which have used blocks from the Ptolemaic structure that we are excavating a little to the North [pl.4]. Their function has not yet been understood, as their excavation has not been completed, though their date seems to be roman.
Work at the site of the Ptolemaic foundation was restricted to the clearing of the entrance of the tunnel, that had been found during the previous season and the revealing of the continuation of the foundation blocks towards the North and the West, due to problems with the water pumping system.
After clearing the entrance of the tunnel, we confirmed that it is crafted into the breccia and that a canal made of small sized lime-stones and at a part crafted into one of the Ptolemaic blocks, extending to the North-South direction, was transporting water into the tunnel [pl.5]. Its excavation has not been completed, so for the time is not known if it is connected with any of the constructions mentioned above.
The excavation revealed a row of Ptolemaic foundation blocks extending to the North direction right to the west of the tunnel. A little further to the west, the foundation blocks continue toward the South direction [pl.6], though we could not proceed to their excavation due to the big amount of the water. According to the data that have been known by the excavation till now, the long axis of the building seems to be in the direction of East – West. The extent of the revealed part is 36m.
Besides the excavation work, geophysical investigations were held by the IMS-Forth, Laboratory of Geophysical – Satellite Remote Sensing & Archaeo-Environment, Greece.
The geophysical method of 2D and 3D Electrical Resistivity Tomography (2D/3D ERT) was employed in the east, south and north part of the garden and especially in areas which were accessible and free from modern constructions [pl.7]. ERT method was considered the optimum technique to meet the specific goals of the project considering the nature and dimensions of the targets trying to map in combination to their relatively large burial depth. The purpose of the 2017 geophysical campaign was to map the subsurface resistivity properties in different parts of Shallalat Gardens and indicate geophysical signatures that should be further investigated either by drilling or excavation to reveal their nature (archaeological or geophysical origin). A total area of almost 12.000 square meters was covered in different parts of the park along 41 ERT lines with a cumulative length of 4.6 Km.
The results of the survey are still being prossessed and are expected to be reported.
We would like to thank for their support the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Antiquities Service of Alexandria.
For and On Behalf of
Hellenic Research Institute of Alexandrian Civilization