April 14th 2012: Judith Bunbury
Judith here, as a representative of the geology team and reporting on the landscapes of Gurob, past and further past.
The shiny new auger has arrived thanks to the legendary labours of Rachael, Boris and Oscar who transported it from Copenhagen. What a delight to behold the brand new shiny kit with every part present and correct including the instruction manual which, if only we had seen it before, would have steered us around the many pitfalls that are part of becoming experienced 'berimistas', a coin termed by the students at the Mit Rahina Field School last year from a combination of berime, 'screw' and barrista, which needs no explanation.
As you may recall last season left Morag working her way down the 'ramp' from the desert near the 'fort' and the industrial area towards the cultivation where Ellie had previously struck pay-dirt in the form of apparent river channel deposits containing New Kingdom sherds. A borehole further out from the site revealed that these deposits were more likely to be part of a relatively narrow channel, a few tens of meters across, than a lake as we anticipated on our first visit to the site.
Realising that the area at the base of the ramp and adjacent to the channel was therefore likely to be a key area, I have spent
some time fossicking about in the bushes at the base of the ramp and past a parked donkey into the cultivation. Mark also
directed the clearance of a section of an excavated pit for me. In the walls of the pit appeared mud bricks (photo attached)
on a sandy foundation and covered by windblown desert sand. Surface finds from this area include material from the First
Intermediate Period so the most obvious explanation of these deposits is that we have an area of relatively persistent settlement
on the banks of a channel that flows around the west of the site.
Further out from the palace, towards the cultivation the same sandy surface is replaced by sand without sherds (even where the ever-busy sebakhin have dug it up) and this area corresponds to the area where Ellie's channel deposits were found. Tracking these features to the north of the ramp, the development of the water-front area seems very limited in extent and stretches only around 100 m or so along the channel bank.
My tentative conclusion so far is that we have a small development along the waterfront at the base of the ramp which would make this modest waterfront the fabled harbour of the palace. I can't wait to explore it further...