The 2017 Season

From January 11 – 24, 2017 the Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund conducted a short initial season of survey and recording in order to figure out ways to protect and restore the Palace-City of Sekhenenre and Ahmose at Deir el-Ballas.

At the request of Mr. Mustafa Waziri and the Qena Inspectorate of Antiquities, in response to damage at the site, new work was conducted at the site from January 10th to the 24th 2017 to survey, photograph and planning to assess the condition of the site, the perimeter of the antiquities area, and possible ways to protect and restore the standing structures.

The team consisted of Peter Lacovara as Director along with Piet Collet, as surveyor and Tom Hardwick and Victoria Jensen, archaeologists.  The work was greatly facilitated by Hassaan Mohamed Ail.  We concentrated this season on the “South Palace” which had suffered from looters emptying out some of the casemate foundations and digging holes in the façade of the eastern wall of the platform, which has caused significant parts of the brick facing to collapse.

Façade of the “South Palace” cut into by looters

To record the current condition of the structure, it was photographed and surveyed by Piet Collet. In addition, a number of exposed sections of casemates and casemate fill were planned and photographed to better understand the construction.  (fig. 5) We also endeavored to clean up modern trash and debris littering the area. Piet Collet also surveyed the entire ancient site and we conducted a walking survey to assess its condition.

Piet Collet surveying on top of the “South Palace.”

The areas of the Workmen’s Village and associated chapels have been entirely destroyed. Fortunately, much of the other parts of the settlement have so far been preserved for the time being under the stacks of hay used by the village potters. These will need to be mapped and cleared and recorded in future seasons. The North Palace is being encroached upon by the spread of the modern town and cemeteries, so it is critical to find a way to protect and restore this important structure.  As part of the program, this season the area around the North Palace was surveyed to plan for a protective wall to be built around the structure in coming seasons.

4). Deir el Ballas 3
Photograph of the North Palace, showing the encroachment of the modern village.

We look forward to continued collaboration with the Antiquities Inspectorate in Qena and the Ministry of Antiquities to find additional ways to protect and preserve this important site.  We would like to thank Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Antiquities and Heritage, Mahmoud Afifi, Director of the Antiquities Department, Dr. Mohamed Ismail Khaled, Supervisor of the Permanent Committee of the Antiquities Department, Madame Manal Ahmed Mostafa, General Director for the Egyptian Committee, Mohamed Mahmoud Hamed, General Director of Qena, Iyman Hindy, Director General of Qena Antiquities, Maryanne Danielle, Director of West Bank Antiquities of Qena, and our Inspector, Abdullah Moshamed Abdullah.  We would also like to thank Dr. Salima Ikram, Mr. Magdy Aly and the American University in Cairo for their help and support and to Dr. Sergej Ivanov and Natasha Kharlamova for their kind and generous hospitality.

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