5.0. Description of excavated deposits.
This chapter describes in detail the stratigraphic sequence in each excavation unit and places it in the overall context of the depositional history of this part of Kom el-Hisn. A detailed description of each deposit in the sequence is provided for each unit, followed by a summary of the depositional history of the unit. A schematic diagram illustrating the stratigraphic relationships of the deposits is also provided for each unit. For the 1986 units I have indicated the corresponding Profile Unit number used by Buck (1990) as additional reference. Each DU description will therefore consist of its number, the interpretive group to which it was assigned, the 4-mode classification of the deposit (Structure, Dominant Large Clast, Presence of Bricks, Burning), the occupation level (described in Section 4.4 in the previous chapter), and Buck's corresponding Profile Unit if applicable. Profile drawings are also given for most units. Metric data of ceramic, bone, lithic, and plant densities are given in Appendix I.
The occupation levels for Kom el-Hisn as defined in Chapter 4 are:
The Level 3 deposits were defined as the main occupation under investigation and are the occupations associated with the room block uncovered in the block area. A portion of this architecture was uncovered during the 1986 excavations when several contiguous 2-meter units were excavated. In 1988 this area was extended by uncovering the near-surface architecture to the west and south of the original block area.
The visible architecture indicates that most of the rooms in this block were probably occupied at the same time. These include rooms 1 - 9, 12, 13, 18, and Unit 1220/1072, all of which can be linked to the same period of occupation by direct architectural and/or stratigraphic association. These include some deposits excavated in 1986 as part of the block area excavations. The deposits assigned to Level 3 in these structures are the walls, floors, and other deposits directly related to the structure, such as collapsed wall deposits whose source is the walls making up the room. Dumps that are separated from the occupation floor of the room by wall collapse deposits are assigned to a later level (1) as they were presumably deposited after abandonment of the structure. Some rooms within the block area are obviously of later date, including Room 15 (a tomb built into an existing structure) and Room 10 (a set of deposits adjacent to Room 15). These are assigned according to the level definitions outlined above.
The remainder of the units cannot be directly linked stratigraphically or architecturally to these block area structures, and the typological analysis of the ceramics is not sufficiently detailed at this time to be able to seriate the units effectively. An examination of the ceramic type distributions for floors and dumps (the only deposits types that have a significant number of ceramics) indicates that, in general, levels 1 and 3 are more similar to each other than to level 4, most notably in their high densities of Type O sherds. Statistically, however, t-tests between these three levels only show a significant difference between the mean density of Type D between levels 3 and 4 (p=.01), and for Type O between levels 1 and 4 (p=.05). Because of the small number of dump and floor deposits in levels 1 and 4, however, these tests are not deemed to be particularly reliable. My overall interpretation is that the only reasonably secure ceramic type that can discriminate between levels for these deposits is Type O, which tends to be much more abundant in the later deposits than in the earlier ones.
Therefore, I used the ceramic distributions as one factor in determining the level assignments for the remaining noncontiguous units, but for the most part I assigned the topmost deposits that were directly associated with visible architecture to Level 3 unless other criteria militated otherwise, such as the presence of later ceramic types. Dumps lying above layers of wall collapse were also assigned to a later level (1) as in the other units.
Profile drawing is shown in Figure 5.1. Schematic deposit sequence is shown in Figure 5.2.
Upper pottery layer. This is typical UPL consisting of a coarse mixture of reddish brown sandy sediment with a great deal of decomposed and salt-encrusted ceramics.
DU-2 (SU-2, 4, 5):
This is a massive deposit with abundant brick pieces and bricks as dominant large clast. Some whole bricks are noted in the profile. Occasional large sherds were noted as being present and may represent chinking material. Otherwise, no ceramic weights were available. Bone density is moderate at 52.38 g/m3 due to several medium and large mammalian limb fragments, indicating that there may be some food waste material included. Evidence of burning is absent. This deposit seems to be typical wall collapse.
DU-3 (SU-3; Not shown on profile) :
Intact wall in the north end of the square. Five courses of bricks are preserved and it is the only brick wall to appear in this square.
This is a relatively thin (2-3 cm) laminated unit with sherds as dominant large clast. It slopes slightly from the south where it abuts the DU-3 intact wall to the north. Abundant charcoal and ash was noted, and in several areas the sediment was yellow-orange, apparently a result of in situ burning; in addition, a small shallow pit (seen in the west profile) contained material burned in situ. All categories of artifacts had low densities. Several (10-15) large pieces of ceramics were found on the surface, but otherwise ceramic density was low (only 1.12 g/m3). Bone density was similarly low with only 36.67 g/m3. The apparent hearths, laminated structure, and position at the base of the DU-3 wall indicate this as a floor/occupation deposit.
This DU appears to be the remains of collapsed wall, though no brick fragments were noted (it is underlain by typical wall collapse). It is essentially a clean brown sand with occasional sherds and little other artifactual material and may be the foundation deposit for the DU-3 (north wall) structure.
DU-6 is a massive coarse textured deposit with bricks and brick fragments as the dominant large clast. Some possible burning of some of the edges of the larger brick pieces were noted but are not included in the class definition. All categories of artifacts are uncommon especially given the size of this unit (1.155 m3).
There is little description of this unit available since it was apparently into the water table and was only partially excavated. The excavator did describe it as a floor surface and it may have represented some form of habitation debris. Ceramic density is moderate and bone density is fairly high (110.00 g/m3), the latter resulting from 3 large unidentified mammalian limb fragments. Lithic density (16.67/m3) was the highest in this square, though this results from a small excavated volume (0.06 m3) and a single sickle blade fragment.
Two distinct occupations are represented in this unit. The upper deposits, DU's 1-4 including the DU-3 wall, are from Level 3 and contain one distinct occupation surface (DU-4) which is associated with the intact wall in the north end of the square (DU-3). The occupation surface is overlain by collapsed wall material (DU-2) and the unit is capped by UPL.
Directly below the DU-4 occupation level and representing a Level 4 occupation are two collapsed wall deposits, the upper one apparently made up of heavily decomposed bricks such that no intact bricks are observed and may be the foundation deposit for the upper units. This may indicate that a substantial amount of time passed between the two occupations. Below the wall collapse deposits is a possible floor (DU-7) though this deposit was into the water table at the time of excavation making a determination of structure difficult.
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.3. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.4.
This unit is typical UPL. It contains abundant reddish, salt-encrusted ceramic material in a sandy matrix. Artifact densities are all high, notably the density of lithics (51.28/m3) which has the fourth highest density of all units analyzed (due in large part to 13 pieces of mostly sandstone and marl chunks).
DU-2 (SU-2; Not shown on profile)
This is a small unit in the northeast corner of the square consisting of loose brown silty sand with little artifactual material (only a tiny amount of ceramics were retrieved). Though no bedding planes are described, I interpret this unit as a small fluvial deposit. It is stratigraphically above the UPL of DU-1.
This is a large unit (1.58m3) of black to brown silty sand with abundant ash, charcoal, and bone. Faint bedding lines were present and many of the larger sherds were oriented parallel to the bedding planes. In addition, several patches of weakly stratified lenses were present that appeared to represent individual dumping events. Bone density was especially high (464.08 g/m3) the majority of which was sheep/goat and pig. Because of the weak stratification and somewhat bedded ceramics, this unit is classified as redeposited dump, though from the lenses there may also be direct dumping events embedded within it. Since bone is especially dense, with the majority of the bone being remains of sheep/goat, this probably represents the dumping of habitation and/or food consumption remains.
This unit is essentially identical to DU-3 with the exception of the inclusion of brick pieces in the matrix and a more strongly laminated structure. Otherwise, its description is the same: black to brown silty sand, bedded with several weakly stratified lenses, and abundant ash, charcoal, and artifacts. Artifact densities are somewhat lower in this unit, perhaps because it contains a higher volume of building materials (bricks) and less habitation debris; this may relate to the unit being composed of relatively more redeposited material (hence the stronger stratification than DU-3) and less directly dumped material. One of the SU's making up this unit (11), however, is a jumble of large pottery fragments in a more tan-colored matrix indicating that some of the material was directly dumped here.
This DU is distinguished from DU-4 by a change to a more reddish brown color and a more finely textured matrix. No stratification is present indicating a change in the depositional environment from the two units directly above to this less redeposited material. Artifact densities are comparable to the upper units.
This is a layer of massive sherd concentration, in some places ceramics being the majority particle to the virtual exclusion of any other sediment matrix. Ceramic densities are high (78.12 g/m3) and bone is extraordinarily high (1067.09 g/m3). Identified faunal material is predominantly sheep/goat and pig. Lithics are composed mostly of flakes and chunks of marl or sandstone. The jumbled nature of the deposit, the high density of ceramics, and the very high density of sheep/goat and pig remains suggest that this was a concentrated dump of household food remains.
This deposit is differentiated from DU-6 by much lower numbers of ceramics, a finer texture, and no burning in the form of ash or charcoal. Mottling appears in the upper portion (SU-18) but disappears in the lower portion by SU-19. A lack of internal stratification argues against calling this a form of fluvial deposit, though it may contain some slumped wall material along with other nearby debris.
This unit represents another deposit of massive sherd dumping similar to DU-6. Ceramic concentration (132.83 g/m3) is higher than that of DU-6, but bone density (397.78 g/m3) is lower and lithics are absent.
The sloping structure and contents of the deposits in this unit indicate its use as an area of primarily habitation refuse dumping. Throughout the sequence there are slight changes in the manner of deposition and source contents. The upper layers (DU's 1 and 2 excepted) represent some degree of redeposited material. The laminations and identifiable patches of discrete dumping events of DU-3 and DU-4 argue for an area that was left open for longer periods of time with occasional minor dumping. The lower units, with more massive structures and little evidence of discrete dumping events, particularly in the sherd dumps of DU-6 and DU-8, indicate heavy use as dumping grounds separated either by a period of disuse or dumping of other less artifact-intensive activities (building materials?) based on the clean sand deposits of DU-7. Because of its proximity to the habitation structures in the main architectural block in this area of the site, which is designated as Level 3, it is presumed that this unit represents a topographic depression outside of nearby structures that was used as a general dumping area by the Level 3 occupants. The ceramics are all Old Kingdom (except for DU-1 and DU-2 and a few isolated sherds in some upper deposits) and are similar to those found in the nearby structure of Room 17.
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.5. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.6. Buck classified all of these as a single depositional unit (I); hence, no correspondence information is given for the individual DU's.
Typical UPL. Compared with other UPL deposits, this one contains moderate amounts of both ceramics and lithics and no bone.
This is a laminated deposit consisting of alternating layers of brownish-gray sandy clay with black lenses and two tan sand lenses (SU-5) within it. Ceramic densities are rather moderate and bone density is high (244.71 g/m3). Cattle bone (including 18 bovid tooth fragments) made up part of the faunal remains from this DU, one of the few units to actually contain any Bos remains; the remainder of the identified faunal remains were sheep/goat and pig, and a variety of unidentified body part fragments. Lithic density is also moderate (4.36/m3) consisting of four pieces of debitage and a flake of unknown material. The presence of bone indicates some kind of habitation debris as a source, but the presence of brick fragments also suggest wall material was included. At least some deposition due to water flow is indicated by the laminated structure, but the patchiness could also result from some small individual dumping events.
This deposit is a small area of redeposited wall collapse in the eastern section of the square. The types of bricks noted seem to be typical gezira bricks of yellow color with occasional snail shells. Very few ceramics were present and no lithics. Bone density is fairly low (67.73 g/m3) mostly from a few unidentified limb fragments. The massive structure of this deposit indicates slumping from a nearby structure rather than fluvial movement.
The description of this unit is similar to that of DU-2 and may in fact be a continuation of it: brown sand with lenses of black and tan material. I suspect that the tan sandy lenses in this unit and in DU-2 may represent decomposed gezira brick noted in DU-3. Otherwise, the artifact densities of DU-2 and 4 are very similar except that DU-4 has a lower frequency of bone (25.08 g/m3).
This is a massive unstratified layer of brown sandy silt and higher, though still low, densities of ceramics than the one immediately above it (DU-4). Occasional brick pieces were noted, and these seemed to be more prevalent in the northeast corner and tapered off to the southwest as if they were originally dumped in that corner and slumped away. Ceramic and lithic densities are both low, while bone density (139.17 g/m3) is again rather high, due to several unidentified skull and limb fragments. The excavator also noted that SU-12 contained a great deal of fish bone. No laminations are present, so the mode of deposition may be dumped and/or slumped building debris (decomposed mud brick) with some habitation debris mixed in.
DU-6 (SU-15; Not shown in profile):
This unit is differentiated from the others by its high content of brick fragments. It contains no bone or ceramics and one prepared core.
DU-7 (SU-17 to 28):
This entire DU consists of numerous alternating layers of different sediments, ranging from brown sand to gray clay. Ceramics are rare as were all other types of artifacts. The highly laminated structure of this deposit, along with the low artifact densities indicate numerous sheet wash events.
Buck described this entire unit as consisting of a single stratified deposit with the same sources and transport mechanisms for all of the strata. I largely concur on this interpretation, but with slight modifications. DU's 3, 5, and 6 appear to have been transported more by slumping or some deliberate dumping of wall material rather than fluvial movement since none of these deposits show evidence of laminations due to water movement. The remaining DU's (except DU-1) are all more characteristic of sheet wash events carrying in a variety of wall collapse and habitation debris. In many places, the laminations show a deformity of structure (convolutions) directly indicating running water as a transport mechanism. The overall interpretation is of an unoccupied sedimentary basin into which debris from nearby habitations flowed with some individual dumping events. The apparently slumped wall collapse in places suggests a nearby structure.
The deposits in this unit are assigned to Level 3 because it is likely that the debris washed into this unit is from structures and their associated habitation debris whether or not the actual transport and deposition took place at this time. I suspect that much of the actual deposition probably took place after the area was abandoned and the nearby structures were allowed to decompose.
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.7. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.8.
This DU is something of a composite of two strata that are distinct in profile but due to heavy disturbance and mixing by plant roots and rodent burrowing they were indistinct during excavation. The upper parts (SU-1,2) are clearly UPL. The lower portions (SU-3,4,6) have little description due to the heavy disturbance. They are probably a combination of mixing between the higher UPL, dump material with abundant ceramics (shown in profile) and some wall collapse of the underlying unit, DU-3. Ceramic density is moderate compared to other deposits and also with regard to other UPL deposits. Bone density is quite high (354.33 g/m3) though still in the range of other UPL deposits. A wide variety of lithic material is present (N=14, density=6.62/m3) and consists of three sickle blades, a fragmentary blade blank, one flint chip, one single platform flint core, seven marl and sandstone chips and chunks, and a portion of an alabaster palette.
DU-2 (SU-5; not shown on profile)
This wall is ill-defined and only a portion of it is exposed as whole in situ bricks. It was first recognized as a possibly intact wall at a depth of 50 cm below datum and was still in evidence at the bottom of the excavations at about 150 cm below datum. The upper portions of this wall were heavily decomposed, but in plan views of the upper deposits seems to constitute a defined unit, roughly splitting the square into northern and southern halves. Since the apparent occupation surface of this unit (DU-7) was on the southern half and was overlain by wall collapse very similar to the material comprising the wall itself, it is likely that the wall mostly collapsed and dissolved to the south, leaving the north half to be used as a dumping ground. Ceramic densities are low for this unit, but bone density is rather high at 143.67 g/ m3, the majority of bone represented by unidentified fragments.
This unit consists of a large amount of yellowish brick material with brick pieces in the lower levels. It is essentially collapsed wall, probably material slumped or washed down on either side of the more intact portions of the DU-2 wall, where the upper levels decomposed to show no brick outlines. Very little ceramic material is present, but bone density (384.12 g/m3) is rather high, mostly consisting of unidentified bone fragments though some identifiable Bos remains were found. This may result from rodent activity. Lithic density is moderate, consisting mostly of marl and sandstone flakes and chunks. DU-3 also acts as a capping deposit for underlying units that are on opposite sides of the DU-2 wall, which is probably the source of this collapse material.
DU-4 (SU-13; North of DU-2 wall):
This deposit consists of a jumble of burned pottery and bone in a gray and black mottled matrix with a massive structure. A portion, seen in the lower left of the North profile, seems to be a pottery dump, albeit with the ceramics aligned in a single plane. Ceramic density is moderate for this type of deposit, due largely to the size of the unit and the fact that most of the pottery is concentrated in one area. Bone density is moderately high, though the actual number may be deflated due to the burned and fragmentary nature of the bone.
The remaining deposits in this unit are to the south of the DU-2 wall.
DU-5 (SU-12; South of DU-2 wall):
No bricks are present in this unit, but it appears to be heavily decomposed brick material, as the unit underlying it (DU-6) is composed of similar material but which has visible brick fragments. All artifact categories are rare in this unit.
DU-6 (SU-14; South of DU-2 wall)
Material is similar to that of DU-5 but with visible brick fragments. The source of this material is probably the DU-2 wall as the colors for both are in the range of dark gray to brown (2.5Y4/2 or dark grayish brown for the wall, and 10YR3/2, very dark grayish brown for the wall collapse of DU-5 and 6). All artifact categories are rare (ceramics) to absent (lithics and bone) for his unit.
DU-7 (SU-15,16; South of DU-2 wall)
This unit probably represents the floor associated with the DU-2 wall and consists of two SU's, 15 and 16, each with somewhat different characteristics. SU-15 was described by the excavator as a floor with a dark, sticky matrix, containing a lot of bone and ceramics. This was underlain by a lighter brown sand of SU-16, thought to comprise a foundation deposit for the SU-15 floor. The excavator also noted that the darker layers contained a great deal of pottery and bone, but the densities for these materials is moderate. Part of this discrepancy is due to the relatively less artifact-rich SU-16 being included as part of the DU. Underlying this unit was another apparent floor surface similar to that of SU-15, but this was not excavated due to encroaching ground water. Thus, there is probably at least one more occupation surface associated with the DU-2 wall.
This unit contains part of one structure represented by the DU-2 wall. This wall runs roughly N-NW from about the middle of the east baulk and continues to within 20 cm of the west wall. At this point, it does not end abruptly but seems to be collapsed. The collapsed portion of the wall is approximately 30 cm deep, part of which was no doubt incorporated within the DU-2 and DU-3 deposits.
The upper strata were heavily disturbed by rodent burrowing and roots and this continued throughout the unit. Though not apparent in the profile, the excavator noted that a great deal of mixing had occurred in these upper levels and probably in the entire sequence. Consequently, the higher strata, composed mostly of decomposed wall collapse and dump debris along with some upper pottery layer, were lumped into two large units, DU-1 and DU-3 seen in the north profile provided.
At the level where whole bricks composing the DU-2 wall appear, the deposits are split into two sides, to the north and south of the DU-2 wall. To the north of the wall is a single deposit, DU-4, a dump with at least one apparent episode of heavy pottery dumping. This may have been partially deposited by fluvial activity since the ceramics tend to be bedded, though no laminations in the matrix structure were noted by the excavator. Significant rodent activity was also noted within this deposit.
The south side of the wall contains the occupation surface associated with this structure. Below more wall collapse (DU-5 and DU-6) of varied decomposition lies a floor surface (DU-7). DU-7 is composed of an upper layer of dark, sticky matrix with abundant charcoal, bone, and ceramics, and a foundation deposit of relatively clean brown sand. This foundation deposit seems to have been laid down to cover a previous floor surface (unexcavated) whose association with the DU-2 wall is unknown.
Because of the large number of Middle Kingdom (Type M bread molds) and later ceramics in the upper strata and Type J (Middle Kingdom) ceramics in the lower strata (especially in the occupation floor itself), and because of the degree of mixing throughout this unit, the entire sequence is designated as Level 0. It is possible (perhaps even probable) that the DU-2 wall is of Old Kingdom age, and consequently the deposits directly associated with it as well, but because of the evident mixing with later deposits I conservatively chose to place this unit with later deposits.
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.9. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.10. A plan drawing of the architecture is in Figure 5.11.
This unit appears to be a mixture of UPL (Buck's Unit I) and other apparently highly disturbed material. No ceramic weights available. Bone density is rather high at 194.5 g/m3.
DU-2 (SU-5; Not shown on profile)
The excavator described this deposit as a well defined pit feature that sloped slightly to the northeast, contrasting with the surrounding sediments in both color and texture. The sediments contained abundant ceramics and small brick pieces indicative of transported bricks. Charcoal fragments were also noted. Ceramic densities are not available; bone and lithic densities are moderate. Because of the noted density of ceramics and burned material I suspect that this is a combination dump and wall collapse deposit. The shape and clear boundaries indicate that it was a shallow excavated pit into which refuse and building material was dumped. The upper portion also showed thin laminations of fine sediment suggesting the area was left open for a portion of time to fill in with sheet wash deposits.
This is a relatively thick deposit (up to 30 cm in places) that covers the entire square. Ceramics are the dominant large clast (no ceramic density available) and the sherds are randomly oriented indicating rapid deposition. Slight laminations were noted in places suggesting that the area was left open for sheet wash to be deposited. Bone density was very high (321.1 g/m3) and the excavator noted that large amounts of fish bone were present in SU-8. Lithic densities were also very high (26.1/m3) with the majority being blade blank fragments. Only one of the blades showed evidence of burning.
This DU is distinct from DU-3 lying directly above it based mainly on artifact contents. DU-3 contains a much higher density of ceramics as gleaned from the excavator's notes, the profile drawings, and Buck's descriptions (1990:159). Buck also notes that the ceramic density curves for this DU peaked in the large size range and that there were many clusters of very heavy pottery deposition. The lithic densities are much lower than in DU-3 (12.1/m3) as was bone density (100.4 g/m3). As seen in the profile this DU was heavily disturbed by rodent burrowing.
There is some question as to the interpretation of this DU. The excavator initially described it as a floor deposit, but depositionally it appears to resemble a dump. This has implications for the chronology of the unit since, if DU-4 were a floor, there would be a stratigraphic break between it and the underlying DU's 5,6, and 7.
DU-5 (SU-13-16, 20):
DU-6 (SU-23; Not shown on profile):
DU-7 (SU-19, 21, 22, 25, 26):
These three DU's are treated together as they are all composed of roughly the same material (collapsed wall) but have slightly different characteristics indicating somewhat different modes of deposition of the same basic source material. DU-5 is classified as redeposited because of the presence of several different brick types and the generally small size of the brick fragments. There are no laminations present in the deposit suggesting that the material was not transported fluvially. The character of the various brick pieces is similar to the walls defined as DU-17 and DU-18. Because of the size of the brick pieces and generally jumbled character of this deposit, I interpret it as having been deliberately knocked down and transported (redeposited) only a short distance. Ceramics were absent except for a few diagnostic sherds; these were probably included as chinking material in the original source walls. Bone density is relatively high (166.9 g/m3) owing primarily to the presence of three large identified bone fragments (1 Bos, 2 ovicaprid) and a few medium and large limb fragments. Lithic density is low (3.5/m3) consisting of three debitage fragments (1 blade fragment and 2 chips).
DU-6 is primarily restricted to the northwest corner of the square and is differentiated from the overlying sediments on the basis of burned material and a greater density of more homogeneous brick pieces. The burned material consisted of charcoal flecks, though at least one charcoal fragment was large enough to be bagged separately (SU-23, Bag 108).
DU-7 represents a capping deposit and is the last deposit common to the entire square. While the DU-18 intact wall was uncovered at the bottom of DU-5 and several of the SU's comprising DU-7 were excavated in separate areas of the square separated by the DU-18 wall, the sediments were so similar that they were considered as part of the same depositional unit. The dominant large clast remains bricks, most of which are olive in color (5Y 6/2, 5Y 5/4, and 2.5Y 4/4) while others are of gezira type. Gezira bricks are those whose color is lighter than typical brick, are more indurated, and may contain shells of freshwater gastropods (Buck 1990: 160-161). It is thought that these bricks contained a high component of sand from the underlying gezira sand deposit. The dual nature of the brick fragments found may relate to the two walls that this DU butts up against, DU-18 and DU-17. Again, bone density (134.00 g/m3) is higher than one would expect from wall collapse and this is, again, due to the presence of a single large fragment of Bos bone, and large and medium limb fragments. Ceramic and lithic densities are very low (0 and 4.44/m3, respectively), although a few diagnostic ceramics were present, apparently used as chinking or otherwise intrusive.
This sequence (DU-5,6,7) represents a capping deposit for all lower deposits. As a unit, these DU's represent a series of wall collapse events with slightly different characteristics. The source of all material in them probably comes from the DU-17 and DU-18 walls, though as yet undiscovered walls adjacent to the square may also have contributed material. The heterogeneous nature of the brick types represented in these deposits results from the different types of bricks used in the construction of these two walls, DU-17 being composed of light, probably gezira, bricks, and DU-18 having more common olive colored bricks.
At this point in the sequence, the deposits are differentiated into two main areas, those to the east of the DU-18/20 wall (DU's 8, 9, 11, and 10) and those to the west of it (DU's 12, 13, and 14), both sequences of which rest upon a lower basal deposit, DU-16.
West portion (1235/1056).
This is a small deposit in the southwest corner of the square and is composed of mostly clean sandy silt. All artifact classes have low densities, with the exception of bone; this results from a few pieces of unidentified bone in a very small amount of sediment.
DU-9 (SU-28, 32, 34, 35, 38, 40):
This DU is composed of several SU's in the northwest and southwest portions of the east half of the square. All are laminated to some extent. The laminations are composed of dark brown layers separated by thin yellowish sand layers. These do not appear to have resulted from fluvial deposition. The darker layers also contain charcoal flecks. The sequence appears to represent several occupation surfaces separated by layers of clean sand put down as covering material. Artifact densities are low in all categories. The upper SU's of this sequence are separated by a small partition (DU-20), but the sediments appear identical on either side. The lower layers are directly connected beneath the partition.
DU-10 is restricted to the northwest corner of the square and is stratigraphically coeval with DU-11. It seems to be composed largely of wall collapse from the gezira brick of the DU-17 wall. All artifact categories are low to absent.
DU-11 is contained within a small portion of the southwest corner of the square. The majority of the sediment is composed of multicolored mottles indicating heavily decayed bricks. It is directly adjacent to the DU-20 wall. The lower portion of this DU (the lowest portion of SU-48) was described by the excavator as "a surface of consolidated gezira" and interpreted in the field as a plaster surface associated with the DU-20 wall as it curves up to come in contact with the base of that wall. Artifacts are rare to nonexistent.
These three deposits make up the major wall in the room (see Figure 5.11). The wall itself is divided stratigraphically into two sections. The upper portion was excavated as SU-18 and is the main construction; the lower portion consists of two rows of bricks set at an angle and divided by approximately 4 cm of mortar, apparently a leveling foundation for the main wall. Between these two levels is a thin layer (2-3 cm maximum) of dark brown sediment with some charcoal flecks, a few small ceramics and two bovid teeth -- DU-21. Some of the sediment had a swirled appearance which suggests deposition by water which was allowed to settle and solidify before the upper portion of the wall was built. The small volume of DU-21 accounts for the apparently higher than expected ceramic and bone densities that one would expect with a fluvial deposit. I suspect this may have been intentionally deposited as a slurried mud in order to further level the DU-20 foundation before construction of the DU-18 wall.
East Portion (1235/1056).
DU-12 (SU-24, 27, 30)
This DU consists of mostly unstratified silty sand with no mottles or brick pieces, and is similar in character to DU-8. However, unlike DU-8, DU-12 has a thin black layer with several sherds at its upper boundary. This black layer may represent either a short occupation surface or a minor dumping event. All artifact classes have low density, a characteristic that may argue against classing this as a dump.
DU-13 (SU-33,36, 37)
This DU is very similar in structure to DU-9 (directly opposite on the other side of the wall) and is classified as a floor. Structurally, it is composed of numerous alternating layers of dark brown to black sediment with ceramics and bone fragments separated by light brown sandy layers. These lighter layers are not continuous over the whole surface and the dark layers occasionally articulate. Ceramic density is modest, bone absent except in small fragments, and lithics are similarly absent. As seen in the profile drawings, this DU curved up to meet the lower portion of the DU-20 wall.
This DU consists of a series of paper-thin laminated deposits alternating between dark and light brown. There is no measurable bone or lithic material and the low ceramic density (7.81 g/m3) and the general paucity of artifactual material indicate fluvial deposition.
This is a strip of clean brown sand right next to the base of the DU-20 wall. It contains virtually no artifacts, and the higher than expected bone density (27.69 g/m3) is a function of the small volume of sediment (0.0975 m3) and three unidentified bone fragments. It is interpreted to be either decomposed wall material slumped from the adjacent wall or perhaps plastering material to repair an undercut portion of the wall.
This is a layer of either decomposed wall collapse or the remains of a plastered floor surface. The sediment is a silty sand matrix with scattered gezira brick fragments. While the artifact densities are low in all categories, the excavator noted the presence of fish bone fragments and rare ceramics. As indicated in the profile, DU-15 curves up to meet the base of the DU-20 wall and was probable deposited shortly after construction, perhaps as a plastered surface with some construction material as part of the matrix.
DU-17 (SU-17; Not shown in profile):
This is a large brick wall in the northeast corner of the square and is probably the northern boundary of the room containing the eastern set of deposits. The bricks are yellowish brown in color and contain small silt-clay nodules, brick types found in much of the wall collapse deposits. Artifacts are low density in all categories.
Represents a basal deposit underlying all of the above units. It is an unstratified silty sand with rare sherd bits and no lithic or faunal material.
The main occupation deposits in this unit have been designated as Level 4 because of the similarity of the sherd densities to securely-placed Level 4 deposits in the block area and because the depth of these deposits is well below the securely-placed Level 3 deposits at about the same average depth as the securely-placed Level 4 deposits.
This complex unit contains three basic elements: a set of upper capping deposits and two sets of occupation deposits associated with the walls underlying the capping deposits. The upper deposits are made up of DU's 1-7. A covering of UPL material (DU-1) covers the entire square. Below this is a shallow excavated pit into which refuse and building material was dumped (DU-2, not shown on profile). DU's 3 and 4 represent dump deposits covering the entire area of the square and are differentiated by their relative proportions of artifacts, DU-4 having significantly heavier concentrations of pottery. DU's 1-4 are all assigned to Level 0 as they all contain later than Old Kingdom ceramics. The remaining capping deposits common to the square as a whole are DU's 5, 6, and 7 which represent different forms of wall collapse. All of these collapse deposits have their source as the underlying brick walls that are associated with Level 4 occupations and are thus all assigned to Level 4.
Beneath these upper deposits are the occupations directly associated with the intact walls (DU's 17, 18, and 20). The deposits are divided roughly between the east and west halves of the square separated by the DU-18/20 wall shown in the south profile. The overall sequences in the two halves are roughly similar: an upper layer (DU's 8 and 12) of either fluvial sediment (possibly with some dumping in DU-12), underlain by rather thick floor deposits (DU's 9 and 13) at roughly the same elevation and relation to the wall, which both rest atop a series of wall collapse (DU's 10 and 11) and either fluvial or prepared sand/plaster surfaces (DU 22) . The Floor deposits (DU-9, 13) are sparse in terms of artifact densities. Below these lower occupations is a clean sand surface (DU-16) on which the walls were constructed.
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.12. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.13.
Typical UPL. Ceramic densities are missing for this unit. Bone density is low compared to all units and moderate compared to other UPL deposits. Lithic density is high (24 /m3) compared to all units and moderately high compared to other UPL deposits. The high lithic density results from several (N=5) chips and chunks of sandstone and marl, and a fragment of a polished sandstone grinding stone.
This unit seems to be a typical UPL but shows sings of having been redeposited by running water. Some larger ceramics are parallel with bedding planes. Ceramic and bone densities are comparable to DU-1, and lithic densities are similarly high (28 /m3) and again is composed primarily (N=10) of chips and chunks, this time of granite and marl, and five fragments of sandstone grinding stones (two of which were obviously polished, one of which was recognized as a metate).
DU-3 (SU-5; Not shown on profile):
This is a small unit in the southwest corner of the square. It was described as being clean, greenish mottled sand with few artifacts. This is true for ceramics and bone, but there is again an extraordinarily high density of lithics (N=6, 35 /m3), composed of sandstone and marl chunks, a single fragment of a conglomerate grinding stone, and a single (burned) flint blade fragment.
DU-4 (SU-4,6; Not shown on profile):
This deposit is part of a small erosional depression against the south wall of the square. The two SU's comprising the unit are somewhat different but are contained within the same overall depositional structure. SU-4 is a dense layer of pottery that has faint laminations. SU-6 is a dense reddish sandy deposit on top of a layer of laminated sandy clay. A second layer of dense pottery rests on the bottom of SU-6. Sherds are generally conformable to bedding planes. Ceramic, bone, and lithic densities are all fairly high, typical of this square. All of the lithics (N=14) are chips and chunks of sandstone or marl, and two grinding stone fragments, one of sandstone (a mano) and another of conglomerate. This deposit was created after the construction of the wall on the south side of the square.
This is a large, complex unit composed of numerous interfingered layers or lenses of yellow sand, darker brown silt or clay, and occasional thick black lenses of burned, ashy material. Ceramics, which are low in density, are generally conformable to bedding planes. Bone density is the second highest of all units analyzed at 1364.08 g/m3. Bos remains are present in the identified specimens but the majority of identified specimens (by weight) are of domestic ass (Equus asinus, N=29), pig (Sus scrofa, N=15), and hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus, N=5). Lithic density, while lower than overlying units, is composed of the same sort of objects: chunks of sandstone and marl, and a fragment of a sandstone metate. Buck (1990:188) notes two possible interpretations of this unit: a small channel deposit in which water is flowing into a small gully; or a depression filled with colluvium from the habitation structure immediately to the south. I tend to favor the former hypothesis as the DU-5 deposits seem to cut through underlying deposits as if active erosion was taking place.
This unit goes underneath the brick wall in the south of the square. It is a large unit composed of a massive dark brown silty sand matrix with abundant ceramics and bone. The upper boundary of this unit seems to have been cut by the upper DU-5 deposit. Burning was evident in several aspects including the presence of charcoal and ash, numerous burned (or heat treated) lithics, burned bone, and blackened ceramics. The lithics show a distinct trend away from earlier deposits. In this case, the dominant object type is flint blade fragments (N=7) three of which show evidence of burning or heat treatment. Identified bone is exclusively from sheep/goat and pig. A 12th Dynasty seal was found in SU-14 indicating a Middle Kingdom date for these deposits.
This is primarily a sherd dump in a medium sand matrix. There is no preferred orientation to the sherds, nor are there any bedding planes, indicating rapid dumping rather than any sort of fluvial deposition. Ceramic density is the second highest of any unit analyzed, which may result from the majority of the ceramics being bread mold fragments, a very large and heavy ware. Lithic densities are lower than other units in this square and are only three in number, two marl and conglomerate chunks, and a single (burned) flint blade fragment.
The matrix for this DU is a light brown sandy clay with less pottery than DU-7 and more evidence of burning in the form of ash and small charcoal flecks. There is no stratification present in the structure of the deposit but many of the ceramics were noted as being in a preferred horizontal direction. There are two components to this DU, SU-27 (the lower of the two) which is similar in content to DU-7 (a sherd dump), and SU-26 which has a much lower ceramic content than either DU-7 or SU-27. Ceramic density is high and bone density is exceptionally high (1217.14. g/m3). The only identified faunal remains are three pig bones; the remainder (and majority by weight) are unidentified fragments. Lithic density seems moderate but is only represented by a single specimen, a sandstone flake.
Two sets of deposits are represented in this unit. The lower layers (DU-6, 7, 8) are dump deposits of somewhat differing character. These lower units were cut through by an erosional (excavated?) basin which was then filled in with later materials making up a distinct upper layer. The bulk of the upper layer (DU-5) consists of a complex series of redeposited material cut through by extensive rodent burrowing. The character of the deposits suggests a series of alluvial deposits transporting dump and/or household debris into the basin. These deposits appear to be directly associated with an adjacent wall. Capping these deposits are two layers of UPL, the lower of which was apparently redeposited by running water.
The artifacts found within the lower and upper units differ markedly in some respects. The higher of these (DU's 3,4, and 5) are characterized by high densities of ground stone and fragments of sedimentary stone objects, perhaps waste products from the production of ground stone tools. These are also some of the few deposits where cattle (Bos) and wild game or draft animals (hartebeest and ass) remains were found. These upper units were deposited after the brick wall in the south of the square and may contain material derived from this structure. DU-5 especially was rich in burned animal bone and can be construed to be the remains of hearths or other food preparation sources. The lower units, in contrast, are generally much poorer in ground stone debris, little cattle or wild game, and much higher ceramic densities.
All of these deposits are assigned to the Level 0 occupation of Middle Kingdom date. The upper set of deposits is certainly of Middle Kingdom date due to the large number of typical Middle Kingdom bowls (Type J) contained within them. Similarly large numbers of Type J bowls were found within the lower set of deposits along with the Middle Kingdom seal, and these too are assigned to the later occupation level. I would argue that these deposits were probably created after the Middle Kingdom occupations ceased and weathering of adjacent structures and deposits had occurred, allowing their contents to be redeposited into some sort of erosional basin in this area.
Room 1 (1202/1070)
No profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.14.
Described as brick rubble fill with mottled gray-orange brick fragments with burned edges, apparently collapse from the walls that make up the room. Ceramic density is minimal as are lithics. Bone density, however, is moderately high at 107.18 g/m3, the only identified specimen being a pig bone; the remainder (and majority) of faunal remains are unidentified fragments.
DU-2 is a pit feature originating in the 'occupation surface' of DU-3 (SU-2). The outside of the pit was not apparently a brick structure, though the bottom was lined with
what appeared to be low-fired bricks and brick fragments covered with a thin layer (approx. .5 cm) of gray clay. There is no evidence of any burning. The faunal density seems high at 240 g/ m3, but this is due to the very small volume of the unit and the presence of three unidentified bone fragments. Ceramic density is also rather high, also probably owing to the small volume of sediment.
This was referred to by the excavator as the occupation surface of the room and was a horizontally bedded dark gray compact sediment. The horizontal bedding is due to a series of lenses that do not form a continuous layer, some of which contain pockets filled with ash, burned bone and blackened ceramics. Ceramic density is moderately high and bone density is very high, the highest of any floor deposit analyzed. The majority of the identified faunal remains were of pig (N=10) along with some sheep/goat, while the majority of the unidentified fragments were from either ribs or limbs.
This unit lies under the brick walls making up the room and is stratigraphically unrelated to the overlying deposits. The matrix consisted of reddish brown loosely compact sand. The unit had a moderate amount of ceramics compared to all other deposits and a low density compared with other dumps; the same is true of bone density which was composed mostly of unidentified limb and rib fragments. Burning was not evident.
This deposit was described as a semi-continuous paving of mud bricks. The plan drawing suggests that this was not a paving but a wall that fell over largely intact. It contained no ceramics and moderate bone density which was all unidentified fragments. Because of the presence of the bone I suspect this is probably a collapsed wall with some dump material either jumbled in with it or with part of the overlying deposit inadvertently excavated with it.
Room 1 summary
This room was partially excavated in 1986 as a 2-meter unit as unit 1202/1070 and even though the current room deposits do not lie within the 2-meter unit defined by 1202/1070 the name was retained. The room boundaries are defined by brick walls on the west and south and a less well-defined wall to the east.
The upper deposits (DU's 1, 2 and 3) are associated with the walls making up the room boundaries and are assumed to be contemporary with the block area architecture to the south of the room. The pit feature did not contain burned material and probably functioned as storage rather than as a hearth.
Beneath the occupation surface of DU-3 is a dump that is stratigraphically beneath the walls making up the room and therefore not associated with it. Beneath this dump, which acts as a foundation deposit for the room, lies a largely intact wall from a previous structure that had fallen over.
Room 2 (1208/1074).
No profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.15. The deposits for this room contain some excavated in 1986 and in 1988. The SU's for the 1986 units are given for the unit that they were originally a part of.
DU-1 (1207/1074 SU-1,2):
Typical UPL. All categories of artifacts were of moderate density, both compared to all units and within UPL deposits. The lithic component (N=9) consisted of almost all sickle blades or blade blanks (N=8). Identified faunal remains were predominantly sheep/goat and pig.
DU-2 (1207/1074 SU-3, 1209/1074 SU-3):
This unit is composed of a tumble of beige-colored bricks as the dominant large clast together with charred pottery fragments and can be considered part of a collapsed wall. All artifact densities are moderate for a wall collapse deposits and moderate overall. The lithic component is comprised of three blade blanks.
This is probably a continuation of the overlying wall collapse above it but without the burned material and a higher density of ceramics (20.90 g/m3 as opposed to 6.34 g/m3 for DU-2). Ceramic density for this unit is one of the highest of all wall collapse deposits and moderate for all deposits.
The structure of this unit was, according to the excavator, "a dark brown clay material with a series of fine laminations with in a fining upwards sequence" suggesting a fluvial deposition. Arguing against this is the fact that its matrix is very similar to the unit below it (DU-5) which is more securely interpreted as a floor. Artifact densities are not indicative of either as the values for DU-4 lie in the middle of the range of both floors and fluvial deposits. The upper portion may, in fact, represent a period of abandonment with some fluvial deposition.
The matrix for this unit is the same as that of DU-4: dark brown clayey material but without the laminated structure. Both of these units coincide with the base of the walls making up Room 2. All artifact categories have moderate densities compared to all other deposits and within all floor deposits, though bone density (128.72 g/m3) is somewhat higher.
This is the topmost stratum of the deposits making up the interior floor of the pit structure in the northwest corner of the room; this pit structure is associated with the DU-4 and 5 floors. It consists of a reddish matrix that contains a great deal of bone, especially fish bone. The burning appeared to the excavator to be in situ. This is probably a dump deposit but was classified as a Pit deposit for analytical purposes. This unit was excavated as a single sediment sample and the only available artifact densities were calculated from the microscopically sorted heavy fraction of this sample (see Cagle 1991) and thus are not comparable to others in this study.
DU-7and 8 (SU-5,6):
Both of these units were layers of hard clay lining the bottom of the pit and pressed into the mud bricks making up the bottom of the pit structure. Both were excavated as single sediment samples and contained little to no artifacts.
Room 2 summary
The upper strata of this room were initially excavated in 1986 as parts of two units, 1207/1074 and 1209/1074. The room is defined by three walls, to the north, west and south, all associated with the Level 3 occupations in this area. DU-4 is the occupation surface proper, and DU-3 is probably part occupation surface and part fluvial deposition after the room was abandoned. The pit structure is associated with these floors. The pit contained a thin layer of apparently dumped refuse lying atop two hard-packed layers of clay that were pressed tightly into the mud bricks making up the bottom of the pit.
Room 3 (1212/1074)
No profile drawing for this unit. Only one DU is represented from this unit so there is no deposit sequence. The deposits for this room contain some excavated in 1986 and in 1988. The SU's for the 1986 units are given for the unit that they were originally a part of.
DU-1 (1211/1074 SU-3; 1213/1074 SU-3; SU-1):
This deposit was described by the excavator as having a dark brown to black mottled matrix with tumbled brick. Ceramic density is low and bone density is moderate. Lithic density is moderate and results from 4 blade blanks and one sickle blade. It is probably material derived from the walls making up the room and is therefore part of the Level 3 occupation deposits.
Room 3 summary
The north, south, and east walls of this room are well defined, the north wall separating it from the adjacent Room 2 deposits. The western wall is less defined and may have only a small partition jutting out from the south to separate it from the deposits further west and defined as Room 5. The only deposit excavated from this unit is some wall collapse.
Room 4 (1216/1072).
The profile drawing for this unit is shown in Figure 5.16. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.17.
There was little description of this unit by the excavator except that it was a dark gray to black loosely compacted material. Ceramic and bone densities are moderate to high. This unit is above the burial dug into the occupation deposits of this room and is therefore assigned to a later level (1).
Described as black to brown mottled matrix that slopes towards the southeast. The upper portion (SU-3) contains more brick than the lower layer (SU-7) and the brick pieces also become larger with more evidence of burning towards the bottom of SU-3. I have interpreted these two SU's as representing the same basic wall collapse deposit although the excavator also noted that there were several large ceramics lying on the surface of SU-7 indicating that some time may have elapsed between the deposition of SU-7 (lower) and SU-3 (higher). Ceramic density is moderate, and bone density is moderate compared to all deposits but rather high compared to other wall collapse deposits. The only lithic found was a blade blank.
This is a portion of the north wall that was removed to obtain access to the infant burial of DU-4. This wall contained a moderate amount of bone and ceramics compared to all deposits, and also a high amount of ceramics compared to other intact walls.
This unit is a human burial cut into the DU-2 (wall collapse) deposit. The artifacts associated with this deposit are probably intrusive. The burial was that of an infant and seems to have been cut partially into the north wall of the room. Sex of the skeleton is undetermined and was placed in the fetal position with the head facing east and the back towards the north wall.
DU-5 (SU-8; Not shown on profile):
This unit is not shown in the profile and was a small mound of sediment in the northeast corner of the room. The sediment itself consisted of a thin (approximately 4 cm) layer of compact gray-green material on top of another thin layer of blackened material. There were no artifacts in this deposit and it is difficult to determine precisely what it is. The character of the sediment suggests that the upper gray-green portion is decomposed bricks; the lower portion may be a small dumping event consisting mostly of fine ash.
SU-9 is the first unit that underlies the walls of the room. Both of these SU's are described as gray-green mottled clay; SU-9 contains three brick-shaped discolorations as well, indicating collapsed walls. Ceramic densities are moderate, as are bone densities, though compared to other wall collapsed deposits the bone density for this unit is low. Lithic density (6.67/m3) is somewhat high for wall collapse but this is due to a single object (a sandstone flake) in a relatively small SU.
This DU is interpreted as an occupation surface but does not appear to be associated with the walls defining Room 4. It consists of mostly dark gray and tan mottled matrix with tan and black lenses within, the latter containing higher concentrations of bone. The excavator also noted a high proportion of rim sherds present. Bone density (359.47 g/m3) is quite high compared to all deposits and particularly floor deposits (it has the second-highest amount of bone for floor deposits). Lithic densities (6.67/m3) are also high compared to all deposits and floor deposits. The lithics (N=7) consisted of three sickle blade fragments, three blade blanks, and a small fragment of a coarse sandstone metate.
Room 4 summary
The upper layer of this room, DU-1, is apparently dumped material and covers the entire area enclosed by the room walls. Some time before this material was deposited, an infant burial (DU-4) was cut into the north wall through the underlying sediment of DU-2.
Below the later DU-1 dump and the infant burial are two episodes of wall collapse deposits, DU-1 and DU-5, the latter a smaller mound of material in the northeast corner of the room. It was the excavator's opinion, and the profile seems to bear this out, that DU-5 was the lowest deposit directly associated with the room architecture. This means that no occupation surface was observed or excavated. I suspect that the occupation surface was probably very thin and obscured by the later wall collapse.
Not associated with Room 4 are two deposits, DU-6 wall collapse and an occupation surface, DU-7. Both clearly are underneath the walls making up the room.
Room 5 (1212/1072)
No profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.18. The deposits for this room contain deposits excavated in 1986 and in 1988. The 1986 units that are combined in this room are 1211/1072 and 1213/1072. The SU's for the 1986 units are given for the unit of which they were originally a part.
DU-1 (1211/1072 SU-1,2; 1213/1072 SU-1,2):
Described as typical UPL but with some brick pieces in evidence (not reflected in classification). Artifact densities are in line with other UPL deposits. Lithics of interest (N=11) include a notched flake and a fragment of a biface, and several sickle blades and blade blanks.
DU-2 (1211/1072 SU-4, 1213/1072 SU-4):
The 'Other' large clast refers to the adult human skeleton. The grave is intrusive into the occupation surfaces of the room, and cuts into two pit structures (DU-8 and 9). The grave itself was initially split between two 1986 excavation units, 1211/1072 which contained the head and torso, and 1213/1072 which contained the lower extremities. In addition to the adult burial, another infant burial was found in 1213/1072 west of the
adult burial and just south of the pit structure (DU-11). The infant burial was also oriented with the head to the north, but there is no obvious relation between the two burials.
DU-3 (1213/1072 SU-5):
The stratigraphic relationship of DU-3 to DU-4 is unclear because of the intervening burial. DU-3 occurs in the southern (lower extremity) end of the burial and is interrupted by it. It consists of irregular patches of beige sand bricks and is derived from the walls making up the room, and thus assigned to Level 3. It contains moderate amounts of ceramics, and a fairly high density of bone (231.56 g/m3) especially when compared to other wall collapse deposits; the bone consisted entirely of unidentified fragments. No lithics were found.
DU-4 (1211/1072 SU-3):
This deposit consisted of four patches of somewhat different material: a black-brown gravelly sediment; a small patch of hard-packed gray clay; a patch of white loose sand; and a fourth patch of loose clay. All contained some evidence of burning in the form of what appeared to be decomposed charcoal. Its stratigraphic relationship to DU-3 is unclear as the intervening sediments are interrupted by the human burial. This material was apparently dumped before the burial was cut into the deposits, but is assigned to Level 1 because there is an intervening period of wall collapse between DU-4 and the occupation surfaces associated with this room. Ceramic and bone density are both moderate compared to all deposits and low compared to other dumps. Lithic density is high, due to the small volume of sediment and the presence of two lithic pieces, a sickle blade fragment and a blade blank.
This unit underlies both DU-3 and DU-4 and consists of gray clay and loosely compacted light to dark brown sediment mixed with brick tumble. Two clusters of rough ceramics were also noted. Ceramic density is high compared to all deposits and to wall collapse deposits. Bone density is similarly high and DU-5 has the highest bone density of any wall collapse deposit. The bone component consisted of a single large ovicaprid bone and a single pig bone (together, 57.3 g), and several unidentified fragments (18.6 g).
This deposit was interpreted as a floor because it covered the entire room's surface and consisted of several laminated layers. Ceramic density is moderate, but fairly high compared to other floor deposits. Bone density is moderate with no identifiable specimens. Lithic density is also moderate and consists of a chunk of limestone and a globular piece of chert with rubbing visible on several faces.
This unit was differentiated from DU-6 because it was a much lighter colored hard clay 'plastered' layer restricted to the northwest corner of the room though clearly associated with DU-6. Artifact densities are similar to those of DU-6. The lithic component (N=9) consisted of a single sickle blade fragment, a blade fragment, a lame a crete, a sandstone flake, a chunk of limestone, and four sandstone grinding stone fragments all of which were apparently part of a saddle-shaped metate.
This DU is a D-shaped structure just to the east of the burial. Structurally, it is a thin, circular brick-like wall enclosed by 2-3 cm of heavy, thick gray clay. The interior contained tumbled brick pieces, some bone, and ceramics. According to the excavator the bottom of the pit appeared to go through the bottom of DU-7; it thus appears that the DU-8 pit was constructed before the DU-6 and 7 floors were laid down but was probably cut into the floor surface making them contemporaneous. Ceramic density is moderate; bone density is high compared to all units and very high for intact walls. I suspect that bone density is so high because this pit was probably used as a small dumping area before collapsing in on itself. Lithic density is also high, but this reflects on the small size of the DU (0.075 m3) coupled with a single lithic (a sandstone flake).
This is a large brick-lined pit structure that is cut into by the northeast corner of the burial. The contents were only described as 'fill' material but the contents indicate use as a small dump. All artifact categories have high densities with respect to all deposits; lithic density is highest for this unit than any other. Compared to all dump deposits, the densities are moderate to high, with the lithics having the highest density of any dump.
This DU is the second of two sets of floors that are associated with this room structure and consists of three SU's representing a series of laminated layers. The layers tend to be loosely compacted brown sediment with thin (1 cm) blackened layers in between. There were also small blackened areas filled with charcoal and ceramics that could indicate small hearths. Structurally, these deposits occur near the bottom of the enclosing walls. All artifact densities are moderate compared to all deposits and to other floors. The faunal material consists of one Bos bone, and various ovicaprid and pig bones, together with a large component of unidentified remains, the majority (by weight) being limb fragments. There were a number of lithics (N=16). Three of these were blade fragments. The remainder were: a single limestone flake; five irregular chunks of chert, limestone, and silicified wood; two globular chunks of chert with rubbing apparent on several faces; and six sandstone metate fragments.
DU-11 (1213/1072 SU-3):
This is a second pit structure constructed of bricks in a semicircular (D-shaped) outline. The excavator described the contents as consisting of burned sand and charred bone and ceramics indicating in situ burning. Ceramic density is high compared to all units and to other dump deposits. The only bones present were from fish (not analyzed for 1988 data). There were no lithics present. I interpret these contents to indicate trash dumping like the other two pit structures in this room.
This deposit was originally differentiated from those above as being more of a compact clay sediment. This series of deposits are right at the base of the walls. On the north and south walls some of these bricks were angled as leveling courses. The deposit itself consisted of three layers: a hard-packed clay floor, underlain by a brown sediments with a less-consolidated clay running through it, all on a base of a black surface. Artifact densities are similar to those of DU-10 though without a lithic component. Faunal remains were predominantly unidentified fragments. It is possible that this deposit is not directly associated with this room structure; however, I interpret it as the foundation deposit for the room.
Room 5 Summary:
This room is composed of two distinct sets of occupation surfaces both of which are associated with the room structure. The initial occupation is represented by the DU-10 and DU-12 floors, the latter probably functioning as the foundation deposit of the room. Two of the pits, DU-8 and DU-9, are directly associated with these floors. A second occupation surface, DU-6 and 7, leveled the underlying pit structures and a third pit structure (DU-11) is associated with these two floors. After the occupation represented by DU's 6 and 7, the structure was probably left open for a time, during which time some minor dumping occurred in the pit structures. The adult and infant burials were then cut into the occupation surfaces. Further collapse of the structure proceeded (DU-3), followed by at least one episode of refuse dumping (DU-4).
Since both sets of occupation surfaces are directly associated with the room structure, I have assigned them both to Level 3. Several factors militate in favor of interpreting both sets of occupation surfaces having the same general functions associated with them. Both sets of floors are associated with similar pit structures. Both floors also contain several ground stone fragments and rather unique chert nodules with rubbing wear on several faces, suggesting their use as a machine tool of some sort (perhaps for working wood or softer stone). However, the earlier floors, particularly DU-10, contain far more ash and blackened sediments along with charred limb bones which suggests that some form of food preparation took place which did not apparently take place in the later floors. Thus, there may have been a short period of abandonment of this room at which time it was used for purposes other than storage (indicated by the pit structure). Since both sets of floors are tightly associated with the room structure, a Level 3 designation seems appropriate. Finer chronological control through attribute seriations of the ceramics may elucidate their chronological relationship better in the future.
Room 6 (1212/1068)
No profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.19.
This DU consists of typical wall collapse material in a brown matrix. The structure of the deposit is slightly humped up in the middle of the room and slopes down on all sides to the walls. The bricks also seem to be more patterned near the center as if the wall collapsed there. Ceramic and bone density is moderate for all deposits and compared to other wall collapse deposits. The faunal material consists of approximately equal quantities of identified (ovicaprid and pig) and unidentified fragments. Lithic density is also moderate and consisted of a blade and a limestone chunk.
This is a black unit which follows the structural contours of DU-1: humped up in the middle and sloping to all sides. The deepest part of the deposit is in the center and southeast corner. The excavator noted that it seemed to be full of ash, charcoal, and burned bone that did not appear to be burned in situ. Ceramic density is moderate.
Bone density is high compared to all deposits and other dumps, and the identified portion consisted almost exclusively of pig (N=14). Lithic density is moderate to high, and consisted of two sickle blade fragments, a sandstone flake, and a saddle-shaped metate fragment. Because this was deposited after an earlier episode of wall collapse (DU-3 and 4) it is assigned to Level 1.
This is essentially the same deposit as DU-1 but interrupted by the dump of DU-2, and is confined to the southeast corner of the room. Artifact densities are similar to those of DU-1 but with a higher ceramic content.
This thick unit (ca. 40 cm deep) was described as a brown sandy sediment with no visible brick fragments. However, its appearance and position underneath similarly colored brick fall indicates this is wall collapse where all brick fragments have decomposed. Artifact frequencies are similar to that of DU's 1 and 3 except that DU-4 has a higher frequency of lithics than the other two: two sickle blade fragments, two blade fragments, one limestone chunk, one alabaster chunk, a quartzitic sandstone flake, and three sandstone metate fragments.
This thin unit (no more than 3 cm thick) is the occupation surface of the room. It consists of dark brown to black sediment with a great deal of ceramics and stone on the surface. It is underlain by a deposit (SU-10) that is similar to that in the adjacent Room 8. Ceramic density is moderate and high for a floor deposit. The same is true for bone density; faunal material consists of two pig bones and several unidentified fragments. No lithics were present.
SU-10 (Analyzed as part of Room 8 DU-4):
This is a very black sediment with a great deal of burned bone. It connects under the south wall to DU-4 of Room 8 and is analyzed and described in more detail as part of that room's deposits.
Room 6 summary.
The occupation surface directly associated with the Room 6 walls is DU-5, an apparently brief occupation based on the thinness of the deposit. Below this is another floor surface that connects to a floor in the adjacent Room 8. After the room was abandoned the walls collapsed and decomposed to form DU-4 indicating a substantial passage of time. This was followed by a period of further decomposition of the walls, perhaps some done intentionally as the material was humped up in the middle of the unit beginning with DU-3 indicates. A short dumping episode occurred with DU-2, interrupting the wall decomposition, which continued with DU-1.
The connection and overall sequence of this and Room 8 is discussed more fully in the latter room's summary.
Room 7 (1218/1072)
No profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.20. This room is defined as an irregular semicircular structure adjacent to the room in unit 1220/1072.
This unit largely followed the bricks on the surface and in toward the center of the structure. The upper portion was a dark brown to black sediment with brick fragments. Lower down (SU-2) it became more brown and sandy with only small spots of brick fragments. The excavator noted that the ceramics seemed to occur in clusters indicating that some small sherd dumps (broken whole pots?) may have been incorporated into the matrix. Ceramic density is moderate. Bone density is low and consists of only two unidentified fragments. Lithic density is very high, the highest of all wall collapse deposits. The lithics (N=14) consist of two blade fragments, and twelve sandstone flakes.
This unit was described as a thin layer of gray clay with charcoal flecks and abundant artifacts. Structurally, it curves upward to meet the bricks of the eastern portion of the wall and the underlying sediment clearly goes beneath the walls. Ceramic density is moderate for all deposits and floors, while bone density is low in both. Lithics are absent.
Room 7 summary.
The function of this structure and its relation to the adjacent room (north) in unit 1220/1072 or to Room 4 to the south is unclear. The upper wall collapse deposit (DU-1)
contains several (N-12) sandstone flakes and two flint blades and a variety of ceramic types. The charcoal in the matrix of the DU-2 floor may indicate some form of cooking, but otherwise the function of this room is unclear.
There is no profile drawing for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.21. This is a 2-meter unit that was excavated in 1988 to determine if any structures were present to the east of a wall along the western boundary of the square that was cleared earlier.
Only a portion of this deposit had visible brick fragments but the remainder is likely decomposed and fluvially redeposited due to the presence of fine laminations within the structure. The unit has fairly high ceramic and bone densities indicating some inclusion of dump/household debris. Lithic density is moderate and only consisted of a single blade fragment.
This unit was found only in the northeast corner of the square and consisted of a buff to tan sandy layer; the excavator noted that it was probably brick wash or fall from the structure to the north (Room 7). Ceramic and bone densities are fairly low, the latter comprised of a single unidentified limb fragment. No lithics were present.
This was a thin layer of moderately compact laminated sediment that covered the entire square. Several fine strata were noted indicating fluvial deposition. Ceramic and bone densities were moderate for all deposits and for all dump deposits. No lithics were present.
This deposit was described as several thin alternating layers of mottled brown sand and tan sand with very few artifacts observed. It is possible that this represents redeposited wall collapse (because of the mottles) but seems to be predominantly fine-grained material with no identifiable brick fragments visible. Artifact densities are high compared to other fluvial deposits, perhaps because of the inclusion of some wall collapse material.
The only description of this unit was as a massive homogeneous brown sand. Artifact densities are in line with other types of wall collapse deposits. This may be a prepared foundation deposit but its overall structure is unclear as it extends to, and presumably past, the edges of the excavation square.
I interpret this unit to represent an unoccupied depositional basin that accepted slumped or washed in material from the adjacent structure to the north (Room 7) and west. The wall along the west boundary of the square has no connecting members within this unit. As the excavator noted, much of this material seems to have been fluvially deposited material with its source being the deposits to the north in Room 7 as the slope of the deposits is down to the south of the square.
Room 8 (1216/1068)
The profile drawing for this unit is in Figure 5.22. The schematic deposit sequence is shown in Figure 5.23.
Typical burned wall collapse in the upper portions (SU-1) and unburned, more fragmentary bricks in the lower portion (SU-2), in a brown to dark brown matrix. The excavator noted several large ceramic pieces and bone indicating some dumped material may be included in this deposit. Indeed, ceramic density is high for wall collapse deposits and moderate compared to all deposits. The same is true for bone. Lithic density is also fairly high for wall collapse and consists of a sickle blade fragment, a lame a crete, two quartzitic sandstone flakes, and a fragment of a quartzitic sandstone metate.
This deposit is differentiated from the one above it by being predominantly decomposed brick material and no burning evident. Artifact categories are similar in all respects to DU-1 and is probably from the same source. The single lithic found is a sandstone flake.
This unit represents heavier brick fall than the above units and the large clast is therefore bricks rather than ceramics. In several areas the edges of exposed brick fragments were burned, though not in situ as the burning did not extend to the surrounding matrix. Since some of the intact bricks in the walls were obviously burned, much of this unit's bricks were probably burned while they were part of the surrounding walls before collapsing. The brick fall is especially heavy near the bottom of the unit. Nevertheless, artifact categories are still similar to the overlying deposits except that ceramic content is lower. The lithics consisted of three limestone flakes, three sandstone or quartzitic sandstone chunks, and a fragment of a sandstone metate.
DU-4 (SU-5 and Room 6 SU-10):
The excavator noted that this deposit was directly associated with the Room 8 walls, but the profile shows that the lowest of these also extend beneath the north wall and link up to the Room 6 SU-10 deposit there. Consequently, there may be two separate but related occupations evident in this deposit. It was described as a mottled dark black sediment with abundant burned bone and ceramics. It also contained thin laminations and curved up to meet the bottom of the walls. Ceramic and bone density is moderate for all deposits and moderate to high for floors. Identified faunal remains are predominantly pig (N=3) and ovicaprid (N-1), and several unidentified fragments. Lithic density is quite high for all deposits and for floors. The lithics consisted of a fragment of a bifacial knife, four blade blanks, and five sandstone chips.
This unit is well below the walls making up Room 8 and are not associated with them. This same deposit was also noted as lying under Room 6 SU-10 (DU-6) though the deposit in Room 6 was not excavated. The upper portion (SU-6) was more decomposed showing fewer actual brick pieces while the lower portion had many more identifiable bricks.
Room 8 summary:
Three walls make up the boundaries of this room on the north, east, and west. The north wall is shared with Room 6 and the west wall is shared with the larger structure surrounding Rooms 15 and 10. The eastern wall is a large, perhaps outer, wall separating many of the units excavated in 1986 from those excavated in 1988.
The top of Room 8's deposits consisted of three slightly different episodes of wall collapse. The top two deposits, DU-1 and DU-2, have less brick content than the lower one, DU-3. DU-1 also contained burned material and the higher than expected densities of ceramic and bone indicate some dumping may have occurred within this deposit. The upper layers also contained much less whole brick and brick fragments indicating more gradual deposition. Much of the brick in DU-3 was burned, apparently while the brick was still part of the structure from which it came which suggests active destruction of the structure.
The occupation surface is DU-4 and is shared in part with Room 6. As noted above, the lower portion of the floor surfaces seems to extend into Room 6, but the upper ones seem to be restricted to Room 8 suggesting that Rooms 6 and 8 were originally a single structure and a later wall was built to separate the two. Beneath the occupation is more brick fall (DU-5) which seems to be common to Room 8 and 6 and extends under the walls in both rooms.
Room 9 (1216/1076)
There is no profile drawing for this room. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.24 and a plan drawing is found in Figure 5.25. The entire area of the room was excavated for SU's 1-3 and then sectioned along an east-west line for the remaining depth.
Though this unit contains some brick pieces it is not classified as wall collapse, but dump due to the scattered nature of the brick pieces and the overall black color and amount of bone and ceramics. Ceramic density is high overall and moderately high compared to other dump deposits. Bone density is also high compared to all deposits and compared to other dumps. Bone remains were fragmented with the majority unidentified; the only identified bone was a single hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) specimen.
This DU consisted of three clay structures each with a large rock embedded in the center, presumably as a base for some sort of column or post. The bone density for this unit is the highest of any recorded as a large goat bone and a few unidentified pieces were found within this relatively small unit (volume = .03 m3). A fragment of a sandstone metate was also found. The positions of these deposits do not readily indicate the type of structure that was supported but suggest a light structure, perhaps a lean-to such as those proposed by Giddy (1987) at Ayn Asil which seem to have been temporary "squatter's camps" during a period of abandonment.
This deposit is composed of an upper layer of a mottled brown sandy sediment (SU-4) sitting on top of a much blacker sediment with patches of gray clay (SU-5). The mottles are assumed to be decomposed brick pieces and the excavator also described the upper layer as 'rubble fill.' The ceramic density of this unit is high compared to all units but moderate for a dump. The same is also true for bone which consists of several (N=8) pig bones and numerous unidentified fragments. Lithic density is high and is composed of two sickle blade fragments, a whole blade blank, a fragment of a flint chip, a faceted globular piece of flint (core?), five chunks of sandstone and one of slate.
This was differentiated from DU-4 above it as having a greater content of clay and a much harder surface, and a higher density of ceramics though the weight of the screened ceramics is not available. Bone density is low and the only lithic is a blade fragment.
Only described as a sandy brown sediment with very little artifactual remains in it. Not noted during excavation was the relatively high density of lithics: 24.24/m3: one sickle blade fragment, two blade fragments, and several chunks of limestone (N=2) and sandstone (N=5).
This deposit consists of less-decomposed brick material similar to that of DU-5 and abuts the bottom of the east and south walls. A small amount of ceramics (5.83 g/ m3) was the only artifactual material recovered from this unit.
The excavator originally described this deposit as consisting of softer clay in between areas of very hard clay. During excavation, however, it became apparent that the hard clay areas were square and laid out at regular intervals. These may be column bases but they seem rather large and too close together to act as support structures that one could actually walk between. Artifact frequencies are on the low side (except for a single limestone flake) among other floor deposits. Excavation was halted at this point but it is apparently the basal deposit for this room.
Room 9 Summary.
The upper strata of this room consist of dumps deposited later than the occupation of the room after a period of abandonment and wall collapse. The 'column bases' of DU-2 may represent a short period of occupation, perhaps a short-term occupation with a small roof supported on posts anchored by these deposits.
Below the series of dumps assigned to Level 1 (DU's 1, 3, and 4) lie two episodes of wall collapse, with the upper deposit (DU-5) being relatively more decomposed than the unit underneath it (DU-6). The floor of this room is unusual and not seen in any other room excavated thus far. The plan drawing (Figure 5.25) is only half of the room as it was sectioned for excavation after DU-3 and consequently does not show the full relation of the rectangular clay features to the walls of the room. The features tend to be approximately 45-50 cm square and approximately 20 cm. from the walls and from each other. No depressions or other attributes indicating whether some sort of posts were placed on these features was indicated by the excavator.
Room 10 (1212/1064)
The profile drawing for this room is found in Figure 5.26. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.27.
This unit is a hodgepodge of different materials apparently deposited during an extended period of wall collapse and fluvial infilling after the construction of the Room 15 tomb. The predominant sediment is a dark gray to black matrix with scattered charcoal fragments throughout. One area contained alternating sand and clay laminations apparently the result of fluvial activity. There were also two small depressions with coarse white sand in and around them. Both ceramic and bone densities are moderate compared with other wall collapse deposits. The sole lithic was a fragment of a sandstone metate.
There are few bricks present in this deposit and it is lighter in color than DU-1. The base matrix is gray to light gray sediment with numerous lenses of darker sediment that appeared to contain more ash/charcoal, bone, and ceramics. These lenses tended to be roughly 40-80 cm in diameter and may either be periodic dumping episodes or infilling of naturally scoured depressions. Artifact frequencies are similar to those of DU-1 but with more lithics: a blade fragment, one limestone chunk, five sandstone chunks, and what appears to be a four-faceted limestone point.
Room 10 Summary:
This room is actually one small end of a larger room that was subsequently cut into by a later mud brick tomb (Room 15). Because of the construction of this later tomb the materials within these room deposits are not thought to be associated directly with the occupation of the larger room.
The upper deposit, DU-1, contained wall collapse material and several lenses of apparently fluvial deposits. Artifact contents are thought to represent objects occasionally washed in from elsewhere or included as part of the collapsed wall material. The lower deposit, DU-2, was more laminated than DU-1 and contained more lenses with charred material that may represent intentional dumping of material rather than inwash. Both deposits were assigned to Level 1 because they were deposited after the construction of the Room 15 tomb, and probably represent wall collapse from both Room 15 and the larger room containing it, fluvial activity, and perhaps some minor dumping activity after the tomb was constructed.
Room 12 (1214/1062)
The profile drawing for this room is found in Figure 5.28. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.29.
This unit may be regarded as either a dump or an intact house floor assemblage. The material is lying on top of the floor of DU-2, but it is not clear whether the artifacts were left lying on the surface (presumably where they were used) or dumped there later. The matrix is composed of a sandy brown sediment and a large number of grinding stones, ceramics, and bone was found right below the surface of the unit. Structurally, the DU consists of two parts separated by a single-course brick partition: a northern portion (SU-1) that is rich in ceramics, and a southern portion that had fewer ceramics. Ceramic content is moderately high compared to all units and other dumps as is bone density. The identified bone consisted of majority pig (N=17) and two ovicaprid bones; the unidentified remains were predominantly medium skull fragments (N=38) and medium limb (N=55). Lithic density is high and the inventory for this unit contains several fragments and whole grinding stones, the majority of which are metates. No hearth features were noted.
This unit was a stratified layer of thin laminated clay and silt sediments that may be either prepared floors or fluvial deposits. Structurally, they appear more like fluvial deposits as they display a fining-upwards sequence and contain only fine-grained sediments. However, the top layer is dark black and contained a great deal of charcoal
and small burned bones. All of this deposit went beneath the small brick partition in the north-central portion of the room and sloped towards the south where the majority of grinding stones in DU-1 were found. All artifact categories are much lower than those of DU-1. Ceramic density is moderate compared to all deposits and high for floors as is bone density, none of which was identifiable and the unidentified remains consisted largely (N=25) of limb fragments. The lithics consisted of a blade fragment, and three chunks of sandstone (N=2) and limestone (N=1).
This is a complicated unit and appears to consist of several distinct episodes of wall collapse which subsequently decomposed. It is designated as laminated because of several horizontal substrata. The majority of the SU-5 portion consisted of largely clean brown sand underlain by a greenish-gray material similarly devoid of much artifactual material. Also within SU-5 was a thin layer of black sediment which may have been a brief occupational layer or more likely a small dump of mostly burned organic material. SU-7 was more heterogeneous and consisted of several slightly different materials: light brown sand in its southernmost extent, darker brown material in the center, and much darker brown in the north becoming thinner in this end as well. This thinning towards the north indicates a source wall in the south. A second course of bricks along the west side of the room and jutting out from the original wall may be the top portion of a room from an earlier occupation and part of the source material for these and the lower wall collapse deposits. Artifact densities were light to moderate in all categories. There was no identifiable bone and the only lithic was a single basalt chunk. This unit may represent collapsed and decomposed wall material originating in the south and undergoing several periods of collapse and slumping into the room.
A dark brown sandy sediment restricted to the south end of the room directly abutting DU-3 and continuing beneath the level of excavation. The lowest part of the south and west walls also ended right under the top surface of this DU indicating that the walls and subsequent occupations were built on top of this deposit. Though no bricks were described by the excavator, the character of this deposit is similar to others interpreted as decomposed wall collapse and was designated as such in the classification and interpretive group. Artifact densities are somewhat greater than those of DU-3 and are moderate overall where those of DU-3 tended to be lighter. Again, there was little identified bone (two pig bones) with the majority being unidentified limb fragments. The lithics (N=2) consisted of a single blade fragment and a globular chert nodule that was pink in color on one end (possibly heat treated).
Confined to the north end of the unit, DU-5 was differentiated from the overlying DU-3 by being a hard packed greenish sand. Bricks appeared in the lower north end of this unit and the unit is interpreted to be wall collapse. All artifact categories are low to moderate for wall collapse deposits. This unit also went beneath the walls and is not part of the overlying occupation levels.
Room 12 Summary
Room 12 contains four intact walls. The south wall is shared with Room 13. The east wall is shared with the large structure that contains Rooms 10 and 15 with a doorway connecting Room 12 with this large structure.
The deposits in this room are complex and excavation obscured some of the relationships between deposits. The top two deposits, DU-1 and 2, may represent a single occupation surface though DU-1 is classified as a dump. There was a great deal of artifactual material within DU-1, including a number of metate fragments. This may indicate an 'intact' house floor, since metates are generally heavy and not subject to transport; however, their fragmentary nature militates in favor of a dump. DU-2 is a more typical floor deposit, consisting of several layers of fine-grained laminated sediments. These layers all go underneath the brick 'partition' that divides the room width-wise into two areas. This partition may be from a later occupation that has since been destroyed.
These floor deposits are underlain by a complex series of what appear to be collapsed and decomposed walls -- DU's 3, 4, and 5 -- with a presumed source to the south of the unit. DU-4 takes up the southern end of the room and the walls of Room 12 in this area are built directly on top of it. DU's 5 and 6 are probably later than DU-4 as they appear to cut into the latter's northern extent, though all extend underneath the room's walls.
Room 13 (1220/1064)
The profile drawing for this room is found in Figure 5.30. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.31.
DU-1 (SU-1,2; Not shown on profile):
This layer combines a small amount of UPL with general wall collapse. The upper portion (SU-1) was described as a black sandy matrix with tan mottles, along with thin lenses of tan sand. The latter indicates at least some fluvial deposition during the sequence of wall collapse. The lower portion (SU-2) was darker with more reddish-colored mottles and patches of gray clay with charcoal flecks suggesting some burning of bricks and dump material. An infant burial was also found within this deposit.
Ceramic and bone density is fairly high compared to all deposits and for wall collapse deposits only, perhaps because of some dump material included. Most of the identified mammal remains are of pig (Sus scrofa, N=13) and ovicaprid (N=4), but two hartebeest specimens (Alcelaphus buselaphus) were also identified. There were several lithics present (N=18) and were distributed between three sickle blade fragments (two of which showed evidence of burning), four blade blanks, nine chunks (five of sandstone, 3 of limestone, one of slate), and a whole sandstone mano. The lithic density is high for wall collapse but not the highest of all of these deposits.
This large unit (almost 4 m3) was differentiated from DU-1 by a lighter tan color and more bricks and fewer artifacts. Artifact densities are correspondingly lower, though it still contained nine lithics: one broken flint blade, six sandstone chunks, a single sandstone flake, and a fragment of a sandstone metate.
DU-3 (SU-5; Not shown on profile):
The material comprising DU-3 is inside of a semicircular brick structure and consisted of tumbled burned brick around the outside of the pit nearer the walls of the structure with non-burned brick nearer the center. The interior side of the bricks of the structure were also burned. Ceramic concentration was noted by the excavator to be very high, consisting mostly of heavy, bread platter or bread mold wares (Types D and E, respectively). The overall character of the deposit suggests a dump with bricks from the collapsed pit structure. Bone density is only moderate, and consists of a single identifiable pig bone and numerous unidentifiable fragments. Lithic density is moderate with only a single sandstone flake present.
The overall structure, the character of the burning evident (on only one side of the bricks), and the presence of ceramics associated with bread baking suggest this was an oven. Though little archaeological evidence for baking facilities prior to New Kingdom times exists, it closely resembles the descriptions of later ovens given in Samuel (2000).
This unit represents the occupation surface of the room as it occurs at the bottom of the walls. It is a brown layer with several lenses of rich black material throughout. Artifact densities are typically low compared to other deposits and low compared to other floor deposits.
This unit and the one below it both occur beneath the walls making up the room and are not associated with the deposits above. DU-5 consisted of a gray-brown mottled matrix with a few light brick patches and was interpreted as light brick fall or decomposed wall collapse. All artifact classes are moderate. Interestingly, the identified bone is distributed similarly to that of DU-1 with hartebeest, pig, and ovicaprid represented. Lithics are also similar to DU-1, including a single sickle blade, a single blade fragment, and three chunks of limestone (N=2) and sandstone (N=1).
This is composed of heavy brick fall of large chunks of green and orange colored bricks. Several lenses of clay flecked with charcoal were also noted which are probably fluvially deposited. Ceramic density is low compared to all deposits but moderate compared to other wall collapse deposits. Bone density is moderate. Only a single lithic was present, a flat, circular chert core.
Room 13 Summary:
The excavated portion of this room contains two occupations. The upper occupation is associated with the visible outer room walls. The topmost deposits (DU-1 and 2) are predominantly wall collapse with a small amount of UPL contained in the top of DU-1. This material covers the occupation surface (DU-4) and the "oven" (DU-3).
Below the occupation surface and associated architecture are two, perhaps a single, episode of wall collapse from some as yet undetected structure(s). The boundaries between DU-5 and 6 are unclear in the profile and were noted by the excavator as being very gradual. This probably indicates that the upper portion (DU-5) is essentially the same deposit as DU-6 with the bricks having been more gradually broken down and collapsing.
This room was sectioned so that only the southern portion was excavated; hence the relationship to the deposits in the adjacent room 12 is not clear, though both rooms share a common wall and are assumed to be contemporaneous.
Room 14 (1224/1060)
There is no profile drawing for this room. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.32. This 'room' is really a small (ca. 2 meters in diameter) circular structure to the southwest of the main block area. It was excavated because of a large limestone block in the center of the structure.
Typical UPL. It has a moderate density of ceramics for UPL.
This deposit contains a mixture of black sediment and fragments of brick and seems to be a mixture of some burned dump material and loosely compacted wall collapse. Below the tumbled brick and black material is a regular paving of brick laid on edge which may have encircled the limestone block. It contains a high density of ceramics, especially for a wall collapse deposit. Bone density is also high, probably as a result of the possible dump material included within it. The identified mammal remains consist of ovicaprid (N=3), pig (Sus scrofa, N=1) and hartebeest specimens (Alcelaphus buselaphus, N=1). The function of this structure is unclear. The limestone block was not of regular shape nor was it in any obviously functional position.
Room 15 (1214/1066)
There is no profile drawing for this room. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.33.
This DU is typical UPL. However, while it contains moderate densities of all artifact types compared to all deposits, it contains the highest densities of ceramics, lithics, and bone of all UPL deposits.
The matrix for this DU ranges from dark brown to tan and contains numerous small brick pieces and some ceramics. It rises in elevation to the south of the unit. Artifact densities tend to be moderate compared to all deposits and moderate to high compared to other wall collapse deposits. Since the brick material is from the tomb structure constructed after the main occupations of Level 3, it is designated as Level 2.
This is a very black deposit containing abundant charcoal fragments, some ceramics, large pieces of bone, and a few scattered brick fragments. There are occasional patches with abundant burned bone and ash as well. The deposit was humped up along the eastern wall and tapered off down towards the corners of the room, implying that the material was dumped over the wall on this side. While artifact densities are moderate in this unit compared to all other deposits, they are all low in comparison to other dumps. The lower density of bone seems unusual when the excavator noted the presence of abundant burned bone, but this is probably due to the burned and fragmentary nature of the bone. The identified faunal specimens (N=13) were about equally distributed between mammals (6 pig, 1 goat) and fish.
Interpretive Group: Heavily decomposed wall collapse
The majority of this deposit consisted of a light brown sandy sediment assumed to be the decomposed remains of collapsed wall material. Towards the bottom of the deposit were also the remains of the plaster coffin material above the burial. Ceramic densities were moderate compared to other wall collapse deposits, but both bone and lithic densities were high. Again, the identified faunal specimens (N=26) were roughly equally divided between mammals (13 pig, 1 hartebeest) and fish/reptiles (11 fish, 1 turtle). I suspect that these were not part of the grave offerings, but may have been mixed from the above dump deposit.
Room 15 Summary.
This room is a tomb built into a preexisting structure that contains Room 10 directly north of Room 15. Both layers of wall collapse (DU-4 and DU-2) are presumed to be from the tomb structure and thus date to Level 2. The tomb was probably constructed after the Level 3 occupation of the larger structure. After a period of decomposition in which the walls of the tomb and the coffin began to collapse creating DU-4, the dump material of DU-3 was deposited on top. From the structure of the deposit, it seems as though the DU-3 material was dumped over the eastern wall. DU-3 may consist of several episodes of dumping as there is a certain patchiness to the deposit. The presence of a great deal of burned bone and ash suggests hearth or oven refuse was being dumped here. After the dumping of DU-3, the structure was allowed to collapse more creating the further Level 2 deposits of DU-2 capped by the ubiquitous UPL of DU-1.
The remains were that of a female, estimated age unknown. She was placed in an extended position with the head pointing to the north. The hands were placed at her sides. A bronze or copper mirror was placed just above her right hip between the torso and the right arm, with the handle end towards the head.
Room 16 (1212/1052)
There is no profile drawing for this room and no schematic deposit sequence since there is only one deposit from this room used. The 'room' itself is not a clear structure, but several walls; several contiguous 2-meter units -- identified below by their southwest corner -- were excavated to try to clarify the structures.
DU-1 (1212/1058 SU-3, 1214/1058 SU-4):
Both of these SU's are of the same material: a gray and brown mottled matrix with red, apparently burned, bricks and brick pieces scattered throughout. Artifact densities tend to be high in all categories which may indicate that some dumping occurred with this unit.
Room 17 (1156/1004)
There is no profile for this unit. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.34 and a schematic plan of the architecture is shown in Figure 5.35.
These SU's occupy the northwest and eastern portions of the structure. The deposit as a whole is typical wall collapse with green and yellow brick pieces scattered throughout with a generally gray matrix. Ceramic density is low to moderate while bone and lithic densities are high compared to all deposits; the same is true when this deposit is compared to all wall collapse deposits. Identified faunal remains consist of numerous ovicaprid (N=30) and pig (N=10) elements along with minor components of other species.
DU-2 rests underneath DU-1 throughout its extent. It is differentiated from DU-1 by a more brown to black matrix in the lower portions of the deposit, while the upper portion contains brick pieces similar to those in DU-1. The excavator also noted the presence of more sherds, though the density of ceramics is lower compared to DU-1. There also appeared to be more burned areas and lenses with abundant ash and charcoal, suggesting that some dump material may be incorporated into this unit. Bone density is only moderate for this deposit, but lithic density is high compared to both all deposits and to wall collapse deposits. The lithics consist of 2 bifacial knife fragments, nine sickle blade fragments, four flakes, a fragment of a ground stone, and fourteen blade fragments. The distribution of identified faunal remains is similar to DU-2.
This is a circular structure close to the northwest corner of the structure. The pit itself is defined by a wall of burned red clay. The deposit has a compact matrix and contained large and small sherd fragments and a few identifiable bones. I interpret this feature to be a hearth, perhaps filled in with some refuse. Ceramic and bone densities are high compared to all deposits and also to other pit deposits, and lithic density is low compared to all deposits and to other pit deposits. Identified faunal remains are minimal with the majority of all bone consisting of small, unidentifiable pieces.
This unit lies to the south of the above DU's on the other side of a small wall. The deposit has a brown matrix and includes a heavy component of sherds and bone. All artifact categories have high densities compared to all other deposits and to other dump deposits. Faunal remains are again similar to the preceding deposits DU-2 and DU-3 with the majority of identified specimens from ovicaprid and pig.
Lying beneath DU-5, this deposit was described by the excavator as one or two floors lying on thin layers of greenish bricks. The matrix is black but no mention of ash or charcoal remains was noted. All artifact categories had high densities compared to all deposits and other floor deposits; lithic density was the highest of an floor deposit. The lithics included numerous (N=26) flakes, seven blades or blade fragments, and 4 sickle blade fragments. The identified faunal remains were consistent with the other units in this room, predominantly ovicaprid and pig.
This deposit was underneath the floor surface of DU-5 and is thought to represent an earlier occupation (Level 4). It is composed of brown-gray sand which has the appearance of decomposed brick. The sherds were described as numerous but many were in a decomposed state, indicating some time lapse before they were covered. Sherd density is very high compared to all deposits and to other wall collapse deposits, as is bone (it has one of the highest concentrations of bone of any wall collapse deposit). Faunal remains are similar to the other units in this room. The lithics consist of six blades or blade fragments, two limestone chunks, a single flake, and one fragment of an end scraper; perhaps notably absent are any sickle blades which were common in upper levels.
This deposit is in a small area bounded by a rectangular brick structure to the north, walls to the east and south, and the DU-8 feature to the west. Only a small amount of sediment was removed from this unit, and it consisted of a dark matrix rich in charcoal and charred seeds. It had the highest density of ceramics of any other deposit, but had no macroscopic bone or lithic material.
This deposit is similar to that of DU-3: a sharply defined circular pit structure with walls of burned clay, presumably a hearth. Sherd density is generally low compared to all deposits and to other pits, while bone is moderate or high. Lithic density is high, but only consists of a single blade fragment and a single sickle blade.
Room 17 summary.
This room consists of a single large structure with two separate occupation areas, north and south, separated by a wall. The north half, DU's 1, 2, and 3, contains one hearth (DU-3) and two episodes of wall collapse. I suspect, however, that the lower portion of DU-3 contains either a dump or most likely the occupation surface associated with this room and was inadvertently excavated with the wall collapse above it. This would explain the unusually high artifact densities and black color of this unit. Only Level 3 deposits are represented in this half of the room.
The deposits to the south contain deposits contemporaneous with those in the north, and also some lower ones. The upper deposits are composed of a dump (DU-4) and an occupation surface (DU-5). Below these is another set of occupations defined by a complex series of room walls and smaller brick structures. This set of deposits is capped by collapsed walls (DU-6). A small dump (DU-7) was situated between two large walls and a smaller rectangular structure and bounded by another hearth (DU-8).
The faunal remains from all of these deposits are predominantly ovicaprid and pig, and together with the hearths suggests that this structure was related to food processing/preparation in both occupation levels.
Room 18 (1208/1068)
The profile drawing for this room is found in Figure 5.36. The schematic deposit sequence is in Figure 5.37. A schematic plan drawing of the architecture of this room is provided in Figure 5.38.
A medium brown silty sand with abundant large pottery in its upper extent and a lower portion of yellowish brown silty sand with occasional brick fall. The north end contains some laminated structures of dark brown to black alternating with yellowish brown sand, presumably from fluvial deposition. All categories of artifacts have high densities compared to all deposits and dump deposits. The majority of the bone is fragmentary, the only identified specimens being ovicaprid and pig; the remaining unidentified material is predominantly limb fragments. The lithics consist of a sickle blade fragment, two chunks of sandstone, and a fragment of a sandstone metate.
This unit is composed of predominantly brick fall with diffuse charcoal throughout. A small thin lens of darker black material was also excavated as part of this unit in the northern third of the room. Ceramic and bone density is moderate in general, and bone density is fairly high compared to other wall collapse deposits. Bone remains consisted of ovicaprids and pig along with three bovid tooth fragments. The lithic component is moderate and composed of fragments of sickle blades and blank blades, three sandstone flakes and chunks, and a sandstone metate fragment.
This is the occupation surface associated with the large walls making up the room (east and north walls). It is a clayey silt with diffuse charcoal flecks and fine black laminations. It has a low incidence of ceramics and bone compared to other floor deposits, but the lithic component is fairly high, consisting of two sickle blade fragments, a blade fragment, and a chunk of unknown raw material (perhaps basalt).
This is a capping deposit sealing the lower layers from those above south of the SU-5 (not excavated) wall uncovered during excavation of the upper layers. This wall (SU-5) lies closer to the north wall of the main room structure and may be a short occupation between those represented by the upper walls and a lower and larger (SU-10, not excavated) wall; consequently, it is assigned to Level 3 along with the upper deposits. This unit is a mottled yellowish brown brick fall with one lens of light tan sand within it. Ceramic and bone densities are moderate and no lithics were found. Very little identifiable bone remains were found in this unit, the majority being unidentified fragments.
The excavator interpreted this as a floor but noted that the relation to any of the walls is unclear. It is certainly below the main (SU-1) walls of the upper level and the north profile shows it to be below the small SU-5 wall as well. However, in outline its eastern edge corresponds to that of the wall making up SU-10 which is slightly to the east of the main eastern wall of the room. Thus, I believe this is an occupation surface associated with these lower (SU-10) walls. It is a gray-black layer which becomes very black and flecked with charcoal in the southwest end. Notes and profiles show this to be a discontinuous layer indicating a brief occupation. It contains moderate amounts of all artifact classes. The faunal remains contained no identifiable material and only two pieces of unidentified fragments. The only lithic was a fragment of a sickle blade.
This unit occurs to the west of the SU-10 wall. The deposit is comprised of several slightly different strata, all containing some amount of brick fall, though not as much as the underlying DU-7 material. The three main layers were an upper layer of yellowish brown silty sand with relatively few ceramics (SU-9); a darker layer containing more ceramics (SU-12); and a lower layer (SU-13) of mottled sediment with coarse sand pockets and a color similar to that of SU-9, but containing fewer ceramics. Artifact densities are all moderate. Faunal remains consist of only unidentified fragments. Lithics consist of two blade fragments, and a limestone chunk.
DU-7 underlies DU-6 and is differentiated from it by having a greater abundance of brick fragments relative to ceramics. Artifact densities are similar to DU-6 but with a greater abundance of bone. Again, no identifiable faunal remains were present, and the lithic inventory consisted of two sandstone flakes.
This unit consisted of three areas of black, highly organic sediment rich in burned pottery fragments, some burned bone, and charcoal. SU-17 was a shallow basin filled with relatively more burned organic matter and pottery than the other SU's. Artifact densities for this unit are low but consistent with other floor deposits.
DU-9 underlies DU-8 and does not appear to be associated with the walls containing the Level 4 occupations. It consisted of black to grayish-brown silty sand with brick fragments of tan to greenish color. All artifact categories are modest in density compared to other wall collapse deposits, though lithics are absent. This deposit was not completely excavated due to the encroaching water table.
This is the only excavated unit on the east side of the SU-10 wall. DU-10 directly contacts DU-4 above it and is presumed to be of the same occupation level as those on the other side of the SU-10 wall. It is a very dark silty sand and the excavator noted that it had a sticky consistency. It is interpreted to be heavily decomposed wall collapse. The only artifactual material present was ceramics and these are of moderate density compared to other wall collapse deposits.
Room 18 summary.
This room has a complicated sequence of occupations. The upper deposits, presumably associated with the other Level 3 occupations of the block area, are represented by DU-3 and are directly associated with the upper walls (shown in upper left corner of the profile). This floor deposit is covered by the wall collapse of DU-2 and dump of DU-1, the latter of which is restricted to the northern portion of the structure and designated as a Level 0 deposit.
The DU-3 floor is underlain by a fairly shallow layer of wall collapse DU-4, which acts as a capping deposit for the underlying deposits and is designated Level 4. Below DU-4, a second set of occupations is visible with a single wall running north-south (SU-10) as the only architectural unit visible with these lower occupations. In addition, a very shallow wall (SU-5) splits the underlying room area into a northern and southern portion (1/3 of the total area in the north, 2/3 in the south). This wall is only two courses deep and may be associated with the upper deposits rather than those below, and is consequently designated as a Level 3 occupation. A floor (DU-5) may be associated with this small wall, but both the profile drawings and the excavator's notes indicate that any relationship is unclear. Clearly, however, the DU-5 floor is not associated with the upper occupation, but is either intermediate or associated with the lower architectural units and is therefore associated with the lower occupations, Level 4.
Below the DU-5 occupation lie two episodes of wall collapse, DU's 6 and 7, the former having fewer whole bricks visible and probably representing a longer-term period of slow collapse and disintegration of the bricks. DU-8 is the lowest occupation excavated and is not clearly associated with visible walls though presumably it is part of or immediately adjacent to the SU-10 wall.
A final deposit, DU-10, was excavated to the east of the SU-10 wall. This DU is considered to be decomposed wall collapse and contemporary with the other Level 4 deposits in this unit.
Room 20 (1160/1002)
There is no profile for this unit and since there is only one DU there is no stratigraphic sequence.
This 'room' is another small mud brick tomb contained within the confines of a later room, in this case Room 17. The deposits appeared to be heavily disturbed and so were taken out as a single SU. Much of the deposit consisted of UPL, particularly the northern half which was UPL down to the lowest level of excavation. The southern portion was mostly intact and contained only a shallow layer of UPL, below which was collapsed wall and the burial itself. Coffin plaster was noted approximately 5 cm from the western wall and 10 cm from the eastern wall, which continued up to the southern wall of the tomb. All artifact densities are moderate to high compared to all deposits and UPL deposits, especially ceramic densities. Lithics consist of 8 sickle blade fragments and a 17 blade fragments. Faunal remains are predominantly ovicaprid and pig.
Room 20 summary.
This is a brick tomb similar to that of Room 15, but somewhat smaller. The northern half of the tomb was cut away by later occupations or sebakhin activity. Consequently, the upper half of the body above the 10th or 11th thoracic vertebrae was gone. The distal portion of the right humerus was present and articulated with the ulna upon excavation; a portion of the left humerus was also observed. All of the remaining ribs were broken midshaft. The body itself was lying on its left side facing east and was an adult male of apparently large, robust stature. The plaster surrounding the burial was mostly white with some red coloring in it. Due to the condition of the remains, the northern half of the tomb (containing most of the torso and head) was apparently cut through and completely removed sometime after burial after which it was filled in with some wall collapse and UPL. The lithics and faunal remains seem similar in distribution to those in other Room 17 deposits and I suspect that they are probably part of that assemblage included here in the UPL that was excavated as part of this unit.
Room 22 (1210/788)
The profile for this room is provided in Figure 5.39 and the schematic deposit sequence is shown in Figure 5.40.
A dark brown, fairly compact sediment with some brick pieces around the wall borders and in the center of the room at the surface. Brick pieces cover the entire unit below ten cm. Ceramic density is high compared to other wall collapse deposits and bone density is moderate. Identified faunal remains are ovicaprid and pig. Lithic density is also moderate for wall collapse deposits and consists of a sickle blade fragment, a fragment of a flint blade, three sandstone chunks, two limestone chunks, two globular chert nodules (cores?), and a fragment of a sandstone metate.
This is a deep unit and probably contains more than one floor surface separated by other deposits. The majority of the material was dark brown with few artifactual remains visible during excavation. The exceptions were two thin lenses covering a majority of the room surface that were much blacker and contained a great deal of ash and burned bone. All categories of artifacts are moderate compared to other floors. No identified faunal remains were present due to their burned and highly fragmentary nature. The lithic remains consisted of a fragment of a sickle blade, a chunk of flint, a fragment of a flint blade, and two chunks each of limestone and sandstone.
Room 22 Summary:
The deposits in Room 22 are separated from those in Room 23 by the brick wall at the south end of this unit (shared with Room 23). The sediments below DU-2 (unexcavated in this room) are equivalent to those in Room 23 (DU-3 and DU-4). The upper layer of this room (DU-1) is typical wall collapse. The lower unit, DU-2, probably contains several distinct floor deposits along with other material separating them. The floor deposits are directly associated with the visible room walls.
Room 23 (1214/788)
The profile for this room is provided in Figure 5.41 and the schematic stratigraphic sequence is provided in Figure 5.42.
A brown fairly compact sediment with numerous ceramics and some bone and ash. All artifact categories were moderate to high density compared to other dump deposits. A great deal of identified bone was recovered including hartebeest (N=6), ovicaprid, pig, and equid (Equus asinus, N=1). Four bovid teeth were also found. Among the lithics recovered were a sickle blade fragment, a flint blade fragment, seven limestone chunks, eight sandstone chunks, a limestone flake, and an elongated piece of sandstone that was square in cross-section and interpreted as a pounder.
This unit was at the base of the wall making up the room. It is generally a dark brown to black sediment with faint to clear laminations visible, especially along the north wall adjacent to Room 22. Ceramic content is moderate compared to other floor deposits, but bone density is high. All of the identified faunal remains are from ovicaprids and pig, and two bovid teeth were also found. Lithic density is also moderate for a floor deposit consisting of seven flint blade fragments, an elongated piece of limestone with a groove at one end, and a saddle-shaped sandstone metate fragment.
This deposit is beneath the walls making up the room and are not directly associated with them. DU-3 was described as being identical to the (unexcavated) SU-4 in Room 22. The majority of the material was dark brown with some brick pieces and several black lenses that may have been minor dumping episodes. There were also faint laminations visible throughout implying that the material was redeposited at least in part fluvially. Ceramic and bone counts are moderately high, and the identified bone contains six hartebeest fragments along with ovicaprid and pig. The lithic content is low compared to other wall collapse deposits and contains a single sickle blade fragment, two chunks of limestone and one of sandstone.
This unit was composed of a light brown sandy sediment with a few large brick pieces. Ceramic content is low for a wall collapse deposit, and bone density is moderate. Apart from two bovid teeth no identifiable faunal material was recovered.
Room 23 Summary.
The deposits of Room 23 are separated from Room 22 by the north wall of this room (not shown clearly on profile). There are two sets of deposits within Room 23, the upper two associated with the room walls.
The top set of deposits consist of a dump (DU-1) underlain by a floor (DU-2). The boundary between DU-1 and DU-2 is not shown clearly in profile; nor are the separate laminated strata that make up the floor deposits. This may be indicative of disturbance from the collapsed wall to the east of the room as shown in the profile. DU-2 ends at the base of the northern wall. Below this, the deposits in Rooms 22 and 23 are equivalent, though only those in Room 23 were excavated.
The lower deposits, DU-3 and DU-4, are both collapsed wall deposits. DU-3 shows signs of having been redeposited, in part, by running water because of the laminations present. DU-4, the basal deposit excavated, has few brick pieces through most of its extent, but a few show up in the bottom of the unit, perhaps indicating the top portions of a lower set of occupations.
Summary of depositional history.
There are basically six sets of deposits in the excavated portions of Kom el-Hisn, five of which (Levels 1-5) are of Old Kingdom date. The topmost level, Level 0 (N=29 individual DU's) is composed primarily of Upper Pottery Layer deposits (N=10) and Dumps (N=10), along with a few wall-derived (N=5, only one of which was an intact wall), and fluvial deposits (N=2). In addition, one floor of this level was identified in unit 1219/1095, and one shallow excavated pit in unit 1235/1056.
Apart from the UPL which occurs over a wide area, these later deposits are restricted to the southeastern portion of the excavated area. Two units in this area, 1219/1095 and 1261/1074, contain (or are adjacent to) architectural structures containing Middle Kingdom artifacts and/or epigraphic material. 1219/1095 has an intact wall with its associated wall collapse, along with a floor and dump deposit from this period. 1261/1074 is adjacent to a structure in unit 1263/1074 (not analyzed here) and has a series of dump deposits presumably from this adjacent structure and others nearby. Other dump deposits from this level are somewhat more scattered, occurring in 1235/1056, 1192/1035, and Room 18. The excavated pit in 1235/1056 also contains dumped material. Thus, the overall spatial distribution of the various deposit types is consistent with Middle Kingdom occupations being restricted to the southeast.
Below the Level 0 deposits lie a series of dumps and two other deposits associated with an Old Kingdom occupation which presumably occurred in another area of the site. The Level 1 deposits (N=10) consist of eight dumps, a set of possible column bases from Room 9, and a one set of wall collapse deposits from Room 10 which were deposited after the construction of the Level 2 tomb within the Room 10 structure. All of these deposits occurred within the architectural units excavated in 1988, most in the more eastern rooms of this area. These upper deposits of Room 9, which contained three of the dumps and the 'column bases' may represent a small occupation with the column bases supporting a small roofed structure (perhaps a lean-to). All of the dumps contain typical Old Kingdom ceramics and few, if any, later types indicating that they were deposited sometime during the Old Kingdom after this area of the site had been largely abandoned. Since the dumps in Rooms 5 and 15 are stratigraphically above the burials in these rooms, this further suggests that at least these burials, and probably others, are of Old Kingdom date.
Level 2 represents several burials found within this area of the site. A total of seven burials were found, three adult and four infants or children. All were associated with the existing Old Kingdom (Level 3) structures. Two of the adult burials had mud brick tomb structures built for them, Rooms 15 and 20. The Room 15 tomb was constructed within the confines of the larger Room 10 structure and the Room 20 tomb was built within the Room 17 walls. All had the remains of plaster evident surrounding the body, generally white with some red coloring as well. Only one, Room 15, a female burial, contained grave goods, in this case a bronze or copper mirror. It is possible that the male in Room 20 also contained grave goods as a tomb structure was built for this one as well. However since most of the torso and head were missing, any grave goods would have been removed when this burial was disturbed.
No brick structure was apparent in the burial within the confines of Room 5 (originally excavated in units 1213/1072 and 1209/1072 in 1986). Only the remains of the coffin plaster were present and no grave goods were found.
The remaining burials were all infants or young children. These too were directly associated with the existing Old Kingdom architecture, as all were placed immediately adjacent to intact walls. There is no apparent pattern in the placement of these infants (apart from all being placed next to walls). None were more than approximately 2-3 years old. No grave goods are associated with the infants, with the possible exception of some sheep/goat ribs lying atop the head of the child in Room 4 (these may have been intrusive).
An Old Kingdom date for these burials is indicated by the presence of deposits with typical Old Kingdom ceramic assemblages directly overlying them. In both Room 5 and Room 15, typical dump deposits were found directly overlying the burials, neither containing later ceramic types. Consequently, since the burials are directly associated with the existing architecture and are stratigraphically below other Old Kingdom deposits, I conclude that these are Old Kingdom burials deposited in this area after the main occupations of Level 3, but before additional Old Kingdom remains were deposited in the same area, these later deposits being mostly dumped refuse.
The majority of deposits are from Level 3, the main set of occupations dealt with in this study. Level 3 deposits (N=75 individual DU's) consist mostly of walls and wall collapse deposits (N=33), Floors (N=18), and Dumps (N=12). Most of the pits (N=9) used in this analysis are also from this level. All of the architecture portrayed in the foldout architectural plan map is from Level 3.
Only one Level 3 floor was excavated in 1986, in unit 1166/1066. The remainder were all associated with room structures excavated in 1988. Several of the rooms excavated in 1988 had no floor associated with them, either because they were only excavated to a shallow depth to clarify architectural associations (Rooms 3, 7, and 16) or because they were not really room structures at all (Rooms 10, 14, and 1220/1072). The one distinct room which did not appear to have an occupation surface associated with it was Room 4. This remains a puzzle, but the activity involving the infant burial in this room may have obscured a thin floor surface.
The dumps for this level tended to be restricted to particular areas which I interpret to be specific locations reserved for refuse disposal: units 1192/1035 and 1204/1060. The structure and morphology of the deposits in these two units indicate depositional basins into which dumped material was either deliberately placed or was washed in from a nearby source (this is also the case for a thin deposit of redeposited material in 1220/1072). The remaining dumps that occur within architectural units tend to be at the very top of the depositional column (Rooms 12, 17 and 23, though Room 12 may represent in situ floor remains) or in existing pit structures. I interpret this pattern to indicate deposition shortly after (or during) abandonment since, with the exception of the thin redeposited deposit in 1220/1072, all of these dumps occurred directly on top of occupation surfaces without intervening wall collapse.
The pit structures in this level tend to be a mix of different kinds of structures and deposits. Four of these are similar in structure and are constructed of mud brick in either circular or semicircular shape; however, the semicircular shape of the Room 5 DU-8 pit is probably due to having been cut through by the adult burial there. These are all of similar structure, having either a clay lining or (at the bottom of Room 9 DU-9) or a layer of large sherds. Based on this structure, I interpret them to have been storage pits, probably for grain. All had some dumped material in them which suggests that they were used as small dumping areas after their primary use was finished.
The pit in Room 17 (DU-3) is apparently a small hearth. That in Room 1 is a shallow excavated pit filled with dump material. The last pit in Room 13 is more difficult to interpret. It is larger, approximately 70 cm across, and has a concave bottom instead of the flat bottom of the Room 5 and 2 storage pits. The sides of this structure were burned, but it is unclear whether this burning occurred after abandonment.
A certain spatial structure within this level is thus apparent. Dumping was primarily restricted to particular areas outside of the occupation structure (the basins of units 1192/1035 and 1204/1060) with some possible post-abandonment dumping within a few rooms and in some pit structures. Storage pits, presumably for grain, were restricted to three adjacent rooms, 2 and 5, with other similar structures in yet another room directly north of Room 5 (not analyzed here; see foldout map). Room 13, may represent a bakery. Provisionally then, portions of this area seem to function as food storage and preparation areas, with only limited dumping in nearby topographic basins.
The overall impression one gains from the Level 3 deposits is that the majority of rooms had something to do with food storage and preparation. Storage areas are located in the area around Rooms 2 and 5, cooking facilities are apparent in Rooms 13 and 17, and Room 12 with its abundant ground stone and faunal remains may represent a basic food preparation room. The function of several other rooms in this area, for example, rooms 6, 8 and 18, are not readily apparent in the preceding analysis. The unusual floor structures in Room 9, located in the far eastern end of the excavated block area, makes this room quite distinct from the others and does not have any apparent relation to food preparation. If Room 9 is representative of non-industrial structures to the east of the block area, this is suggestive of an overall structure similar to other settlements, particularly those associated with pyramid and temple complexes. The number of storage facilities does not indicate large-scale storage, but only enough for a few households. This pattern is reminiscent of that described for the Old Kingdom village near the tomb of Khentkawes and the Middle Kingdom temple towns near Lahun described in Chapter 2: a central habitation surrounded by ancillary rooms that supported a single family and their supporting workers. A larger area needs to be cleared and excavated to determine what sort of buildings surround the current excavated areas in order to resolve this issue.
At least two occupation levels exist below Level 3. Most of these are Level 4, with only a single wall collapse deposit in Room 18 and a small fluvial deposit in 1235/1056 assigned to Level 5. The remainder Level 4 deposits are largely restricted to five units: 1166/1066, 1235/1056, and Rooms 4, 17, and 18, with minor occurrences in other units (usually some wall collapse underlying Level 3 deposits). Units 1235/1056 and 1166/1066 contain substantial exposures with associated architecture and occupation floors. Other exposures with floors and substantial walls occur in Rooms 4, 17 and 18. All of these occur under Level 3 architectural units. There does not appear to be any relationship between Level 3 and 4 architecture; that is, the later Level 3 structures were not aligned with respect to earlier structures. Rather, it seems that the underlying structures were leveled and the later structures built according to a different plan altogether. Since little of the underlying architectural plan is exposed this is necessarily tentative, yet what is visible does not seem to correspond to anything in later levels.