Shallalat 27th September – 14thDecember 2022 – Excavation Report
Antiquity Service of Alexandria
Department of Foreign Missions Affairs Cairo, Egypt Subject: Excavation Report
Calliope Limneos—Papakosta, archaeologist, director of H.R.I.A.C.
Dr. Thomas Faucher, numismatologist Dr. Amir Fahmi El Mesiri, archaeologist Reham Abdalla Zaki, archaeologist Mahmoud Samir Hussein, conservator
Mohamed Ismaiel Omar Mohamed Sobhy Tawfik Kkloud Mohamed Shawky Hana Aziz Ghaly
The excavation work was held out by 20 workers per day According to the permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities we started the Twentieth excavation season on 27th of September.
The excavation continued from an extension that was made to the previously season excavated area towards north and west. After removing a deposit of debris, we started excavating an area 2.30 m long and 4.70 wide. We reached to an archaeological light brown loose layer of soil and sand filled
with pottery and stones, in the same level with this layer, we revealed in the eastern part of the trench, remains of broken wall constructed by rough stones.
The broken wall was based on a thick orange and black compacted layer, filled with pottery, gravels and red bricks, the objects from this layer, are Coins, metals- though they are extremely oxidized, painted mortar fragments, broken lamps and stamped reached to yellow sand with soft black soil, Among this layer we found a lime stone drum of huge column, there are traces of mortar residue on its surface.(PL.1) The underneath strata consisted of layers of dark black soil, destruction with off white layer. The third layer the majority of its component depends on the yellow sand and few black soil .The height of the drum 85 cm. and the diameter 1m. and the diameter of the square sinking of the drum is 12.7 cm square and 10.16 cm. deep. (PL.2)
Z2N \ (NW):
The excavation was carried out in another trench behind the aquadrangular construction (3042) which was discovered in the previous season, to clarify the stratigraphy. The upper layer was black and orange, compacted, the below layer was soft yellow sand. These two layers have been also identified in the previous excavations, under these two layers, 15 cm. of thick hard white layer was revealed, consisted of gravels. In the western part of the trench, we revealed the continuation of the Roman structure (3037), but it will need an extension to extend the area of the excavation. .(PL.3)
Z2N \ (NE):
The excavation was carried out from the surface.We created two trenches heading E-W. In trench (1), after removing the modern debris, that brought to the place in order to form the garden, we started excavating an area 5 m long and 4 m wide, at the depth of 1.43 m. from the surface, an archaeological layer of loose soil, included Irregular shaped limestone stones, gravels and pottery. (PL.4,5).
In trench (2), we excavated an area 5 m long and 5 m wide, after 43cm. from the surface, we revealed the extension of the heavy construction (F.no.6) that had been found at the south part of the site, it’s made by small and medium rough and semi dressed lime stones compacted into a white mortar.
The wall containing further to the west. We revealed the rest of one side of the its edges.(PL.6,7)
The excavation continued in the northeast part of the excavation area, in order to clarify the stratification in the area. After removing a modern debris, at the depth of 5.50 m from the current surface, a small section of a wall appeared, this construction (F.no.7) extends from (W-E), and it’s in the same level with a light brown soil loose layer with limestone gravels, included pottery, plaster fragments, architectural parts ,stamped handles and animals bones in a bad condition. The lower layer is compact limestone gravels with sand. Then we reached to loose black soil sandy layer, this layer was consists of pottery, plaster fragments. We extended the excavation to the east to reveal the rest of the construction that was built in irregular shapes of different sizes of limestone with a crepis. Till now the length of this construction is about 4.52 m. (PL.8,9).
An extension was made to the previously season excavated area towards north and west. After removing a deposit of modern debris, at the depth of I .40 m from the current surface, we revealed a loose layer of brown soil with thrown limestone (F.no-8); The layer was consists of pottery, red bricks, plaster, fragments of architectural parts and floor tiles. In the middle of the trench we revealed a red brick construction (F.no.9), we have the remains of the arched shaped red brick laying, part of the construction was made with alternating rows of bricks with different modules. To the northern west side of the construction, a loose soil layer with little sand with mortar was revealed, the inclusions of it are stones, pebbles, marble tiles, pottery and red bricks. To the northern west side of (F.no.9) we revealed a destruction layer soil sandy layer with thrown stones, floor tiles. We continue the excavation, in order to investigate the possible continuation of the remains of the brick construction. At the depth of 93cm. from the top of the construction, in front of it, we reached to loose, soil sandy orange layer. In the same level of the soil sandy layer, in the western part of the trench we reached to a yellow sand layer and black soil layer. Then we reached to a layers of sand and lime appear in separate areas of the western part of the construction. The excavation are being carried out carefully around the construction, to the northern part we revealed another constructed part with a vaulted hole. In the eastern part of the trench we reveled destruction remains of big stones based on red bricks, this part needs further excavation to the east direction to reveal and understand the continuation of it. Also to understand this construction further excavation is needed towards the north. (PL.10,11,12).
Z2N \ (SW):
Small trench was made to the southern part of the area of the excavation.
3.26 m. long and 3 m. wide, at the eastern part of the trench, we removed about 50 cm thick of archaeological debris, The underneath strata, consisted of two layers in the same level, a dark gray soil included pottery and a destruction layer, the composition of it were soil and few sand. Included a big quantity of different Sizes of lime stones, with red bricks. In the northern east part of the trench we excavated soil sandy layer, included pottery with and remains of fish bones. (PL.13)
Z 2/N (SE) Middle:
Another small trench was made in the south part of the site to clarify the stratification of this part. 2.10 m long and 2.30 m wide. After removing about 40 cm. of modern debris. We reached to soil layer included pottery, glass fragments, plaster fragments. At the western part we revealed a remains of stones maybe they related to a walling of an unidentified construction. at the northern west part of the trench there is a sand layer included gravels. The excavation in this part stooped due to the end of the season. (PL.14)
Z 2/N (NW) Tunnel:
During the 2022/2023 excavation season, the excavation work was completed to remove the debris from the tunnel after a two-year hiatus, with the aim of revealing the rest of the tunnel direction, and the scope of work was divided into regions and sectors. (PL.15).
The excavation work was completed and the debris was removed starting from Area 2, which is the area where the excavation work stopped in the previous seasons (PL.16,17).
After the initial examination of the layer of debris in the A2 area, it was found that there is a mass of white matter (limestone fraction), which is completely similar to the original material in which the tunnel was built, which may be a part of the collapsed roof of this area. (PL.18,19)
During the removal of the debris and the detection of the white mass (the aforementioned), it was found that there was an extension of the water canal blocked by a fraction of limestone mixed with black clay in some parts and layers of the rubble in other parts. (PL.20,21,22).
A mound was made in the discovered area (the rest of the tunnel direction). It turned out that it is an extension of the water canal path, so it was necessary to remove the white mass (the collapsed roof of the area).
During the removal of the white mass and layers of debris, a transverse path was found that cuts the natural path of the water canal from north to south, which differs in breadth from the natural path of the water canal.
* First: AREA 1 :
This area is the main direction of the tunnel, which was revealed in previous seasons, and after removing the collapsed parts and the debris from the entrance, where the rest of the tunnel was found completely free of the debris, and after that the tunnel was revealed, which has a length of 31.50 m. (PL.23).
* Second: AREA 2 :
This area is the beginning of excavations for this season 2022/2023. The removal of the debris began, and during that it was found that there was an extension of the water canal (AREA 1), in addition to the discovery of another Direction that cuts the main water canal from north to south.
After removing the debris from the area with a height of 2 m, supports were made of wood treated against moisture and based on wooden supports to secure the excavation work and avoid any collapse in the area. (PL.24,25)
* Third: AREA 3 :
That was full of compacted debris, including stones, red bricks and pottery, containing mainly fragments of architectural parts and many fragments of colored painting including (white – black – red – blue – yellow) with very high quality. It represents the path that cuts the water canal from north to south with a width of 1.40 cm. The backfill was removed from this area with a length of 4.80 m and a height of 2.60 m. A roof was made of treated wood against moisture to secure excavation work in the area.
During the completion of the excavation work and the removal of the fill, two semi-flat walls of white calcareous material were found. The left wall of them consists of white calcareous material, with a height of 1.90 cm. It is topped by a formation of brick tiles with a thickness of .35 cm. It was built using lime mortar and sand, topped with a layer of solid material. It is called (Roman cement), and it is the material generally used in the floors of Roman buildings, and its thickness
reaches 0.35 cm. This composition is similar to that of the external area at the entrance to the main tunnel. (PL.26,27,28,29,30,31)
During the excavation work, a block of limestone was found with dimensions of 1 m x 0.70 m, which turned out to be part of the Ptolemaic foundations of the royal quarter. (PL.32,33)
* AREA 4 :
It is considered a continuation of the direction of the water canal, which was found after removing the white and collapsed limestone mass in AREA 2, and it was blocked using blocks of limestone mixed with natural clay and rubble the debris of this area was full of compacted debris, including stones, red bricks, clay and pottery. (PL.34)
After documenting and removing the stone dam, both sides of the canal were revealed, and they were limestone courses with 8 courses on each side, which are similar to the rest of the courses in the walls of AREA 1
After completing the excavation work and removing the rubble, the truss roof of the track was revealed, which is made of limestone tiles with dimensions (0.50 x 0.30) with a length of 1.60 m . (PL.35).
During the removal of the debris from this area, large quantities of colored painting fragments of different colors were found, and collapsed parts of the truss roof tiles were also found. During the removal of the debris from this area, at a distance of 4 m on the left side, a block of limestone with a length of 0.60 m was discovered. It was used as a base for building the left wall, and it turned out that it is on the same axis of the limestone blocks that were found in the two zones AREA 3 / AREA 5. (PL.36)
*AREA 5 :
It is considered the completion of the path that crosses the water canal from north to south with a width of 1.25 m filled with large quantities of debris consisting of stone blocks of different sizes collapsed from the upper region (Roman buildings). During the removal of the debris from this area, at a distance of 0.80 m, a block of limestone was found that is similar to the stone block that was found in AREA 3, and it was found that they are on the same track. During the removal of the debris from this area, large quantities of colored painting fragments. (PL.37,38)
First: The ventilation system:
A single ventilation system was loaded with the aim of pumping appropriate amounts of air into the tunnel in order to ensure the continuation of the excavation work. (PL.39)
Second: Steel and reinforcement:
After the completion of the removal of the backfill and the detection of AREA 2,3,4,5, consolidation works were started to avoid the collapse of the upper layers of the backfill, which is approximately 10 meters high, until reaching the surface of the earth, in addition to ensuring the continuation of the excavation work, using metal and wooden supports treated against moisture. (PL.40)
Restoration works inside the tunnel:
A – Reconstruction:
Some of the collapsed parts, which architecturally affect the condition of AREA 1 in particular and the tunnel in general, have been rebuilt in order to complete the restoration and construction works that began in the previous season, using blocks of limestone similar in composition to the original stones in the construction of the tunnel.
A binder mortar was used for the stone blocks, which consists of yellow sand mixed with hydraulic lime at a ratio of 2: 1. (PL.41,42)
B: Restoration of pieces of wall Painting:
The mechanical cleaning of the pieces that were found were carried out, then the strengthening works were carried out using primal AC33 at a concentration of 5% in distilled water. (PL.43)
For and On Behalf of
Hellenic Research Institute of Alexandrian Civilization
Calliope Limneos-Papacosta Director