The 2018 Season

Fig. 1 Map of Der el-Ballas

The Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund conducted a season of surveying, cleaning, recording, and restoration to protect and restoration at Deir el-Ballas from December 11 – 31, 2018 (Fig. 1).

For our second season at the site, we continued the survey work and restoration was begun on the “South Palace.” The team consisted of Peter Lacovara as Director along with Piet Collet as surveyor, and Tom Hardwick and Victoria Jensen, archaeologists along with Salima Ikram and architect Nicholas Warner. The work was greatly facilitated in every way by Hassaan Mohamed Ail.

Fig. 2 Façade of the “South Palace” with hole caused by looters at beginning of work in 2018
Fig. 3 Façade of the “South Palace” during filling of losses caused by looters.

We began restoration efforts 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 (Fig. 2). This was filled in with modern, unbaked mud bricks stamped with an AUC logo and made in the same size as the other “South Palace “bricks. [ca. 47 x 22 x 12 cm.] (Figs. 3-4 ).

Fig. 4 New mud bricks made for the restoration of the “South Palace.”

The top of the eastern façade of the “South Palace” was also capped with new unbaked mud bricks to restore those that had been torn down by vandals. In addition, the great stairway was cleaned, planned and photographed and covered with sand to protect them for next season. To record the current condition of the structure, it was photographed and surveyed by Piet Collet. Vicky Jensen and Tom Hardwick recorded the sherds and wooden debris recovered from the cleaning of the façade.

Fig. 6 Modern trash dumped beside the North Palace

At the North Palace (Fig. 6), we endeavored to clean up modern trash and debris littering the area. We ate very thankful to the office of the Governor of Qena for his help in cleaning the debris in the area. We surveyed the area around the North Palace with the Inspectorate Office of Qena as to where best to build a protective wall around the Palace.

Many of the ancient houses, the workmen’s village, and associated chapels have been entirely destroyed. We also worked with the Inspectorate to determine where we might have a boundary to keep the modern cemetery from encroaching into the area of the ancient settlement. We cleared and surveyed one house in the area that had been exposed and recorded it and then recovered it (Fig. 7). 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.

Fig. 7 House A by North Palace being encroached upon by modern cemetery.

We look forward to future seasons collaborating with the Antiquities Inspectorate in Qena and the Ministry of Antiquities, find additional ways to protect and preserve this important site. We would like to thank Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Antiquities and Heritage, Ayman Ashmawi, Director of the Antiquities Department, Dr. Nashwa Gaber, Supervisor of the Permanent Committee of the Antiquities Department, Mostafa Hassan, General Director for the Egyptian Committee, Iyman Hindy, General Director of Qena Antiquities, Ashraf Nasser, Director of Qena Area, Maryanne Danielle, Director of West Bank Antiquities of Qena, Amr Gad el Rab, Head of Foreign Missions and Excavations of Qena, Mohammed Hussein Conservator of the Qena Area, and our Inspector, Mohammed
Shahat Shamrouk. 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. Pearce Paul Creasman and the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition and to Dr. Sergej Ivanov and Natasha Kharlamova for their kind and generous hospitality.

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