Posted by Ashraf Abd el-Aziz, SCA archaeologist
I was talking to Ahmed Ezz, one of the team members, about when I excavated Gallery III-4 at Madient Het el-Gourab when I realized that excavation was 10 years ago and no one excavated in the gallery complex until this year, 10 years later. One of my dreams was to excavate in these galleries again and I’m very pleased to be back to the galleries this season.
I was alone with four workmen only when I excavated Gallery III-4. We excavated the entire gallery except its northern part in squares which we had excavated in 2001. My Gallery III.4 excavation was almost 150 square meters. The AERA team said to me, “You cannot excavate the entire gallery in a season” and even Dr. Mark Lehner was unsure telling me “Frankly, it is a lot of work for one person”. But I felt I could do it. In 4 months I excavated GIII-4 with only the four workmen and people keep asking me, “How did you excavate the entire gallery alone in one season?”
This season I have come back to the galleries and I’m excavating in the gallery next to GIII-4. We want to compare the layout and material culture of GIII-3 with GIII-4. But this year the team is much larger as it consists of Dan Jones and 6 Egyptian inspectors, in addition to 6 workmen.
2002 was a very memorable year for many reasons: Ana Tavares joined us for the first time and I still remember when Mohsen Kamel and Ana arrived from Luxor after finishing their season in the Valley of the Kings with Niclas Reef.
2002 was also the first season excavated in RAB. Usually funny things happen every season to change our previous plan. In 2002, (in the middle of the season) we faced a challenge when the Egyptian government decided to build a cement security wall all around the Giza plateau to protect it. So they cut a north-south trench to the west of the town of Nazlet el-Saman, which lies just to the east of Madient Het el-Gourab. We had a long trench along the eastern edge of our site. So we dove in and identified the remains of the Eastern Town for 120 m. We had to save this valuable information before it was lost forever. The company building the wall said “you have only a few days to finish your recording” because recording the archaeology was not in their plan. Fortunately, the Giza inspectorate supported our work and pushed the company to leave the trench open for a couple of weeks for us to save the information.