November 1, 2012

Notes from the field bath house (and environs)

Filed under: Egypt, Field photos — acagle @ 7:15 am

Another day exposing myself in the . . . .errr, wait, I mean another day exposing my stuff in the. . . .no, that’s not right. . . . well, at any rate, here are some more photos of some of the stuff I uncovered today in the Roman bath house:

This is in the frigidarium. The exposed section is part of the sand covering most of the area surrounding and in the bath house. As I mentioned yesterday, the top 5-10 cm or so is loose wind-blown sand but under that is much more compact sand. It’s tough to dig through, especially when we have to be careful near the floor and the walls, so we end up chunking it out in the middle with trowels and then brushing near the floor and along the walls.

A slightly closer view of the same thing.

And here it is much closer. You can see the depth is about 35 cm and that is only the compact sediment. Also note the little slip of paper sticking out which demonstrates that this is fairly recent — actually, all this was deposited since the 1970s unless it has been cleaned out in the interim.

This is the heating room of the bath. The caldarium is right behind it, hence the hot water right nearby. We have photos from a similar angle taken in the 1970s. Missing from this now is an arch that started where you can see the slightly leaning bricks to the left there. We knew from the photo that there should be two openings below the top of this wall here, so we continued digging down until we found them; hence, at least this wall — buried under much sand — is still intact and preserved about as it was 40 years ago. While this is all wind blown sand around here we were able to excavate a fairly vertical wall about a meter and a half back from the brick wall; like the other areas, under a top layer of loose sand is a pretty compact deposit of the same basic stuff. I wasn’t too worried about it collapsing and it wasn’t all that deep, but if someone was kneeling at the bottom when it gave way it could be very dangerous.

This is a couple of walls nearby. Not that while they are built back to back they are made out of slightly different mud brick, one gray, the other tannish/orange.

A close up showing the different mud bricks and also a small pottery sherd probably used for chinking. I found this at Kom el-Hisn in the mud brick walls as well, sherds used in the building process.

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