Excavation of Silo Court Dating 17th Dynasty

One of the main foci in the silo area has been the excavation of Silo Si 388, which is located in the northern part of the silo court. As noted already last season, its walls have been preserved to a considerable height, measuring more than 4 meters from the silo floor to the last course of bricks showing clearly the beginning of the vaulted top. We can estimate that it was about 80% intact at the time of its abandonment and subsequent loss of the structure was minimal until the French expedition dug a deep trench in this area in the 1930s. This silo was built in the available space between Silo Si 316 and the northern enclosure wall of the silo area. Therefore the shape of Si 388 is slightly egg-shaped and not as round as some of the other silos in this area.

Silo Si 388

The silo was filled with numerous large fill layers containing many new hieratic ostraca. The pottery from these layers contains mainly sherds dating to the early 18th Dynasty as well as large quantities of hippo bones.  Latter will be analyzed in depth next year by archeo-zoologist Richard Redding (Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan ).

Hippo bones from the silo fill

Silo Si 316, which is the largest and probably oldest silo of the silo court was also fully excavated this season. In contrast to Silo Si 388, its interior was filled by large quantities of broken mud-bricks, which stem from the collapsed roof and upper wall parts. Numerous hippo bones have been found here, too.

The exterior space along the eastern sides of Silos 405 and 393 was also investigated in depth. The corresponding floor level was relatively high in this part of the silo court and we had already discovered the unevenly cut foundation trenches for the silos in this area which gave us an indication that earlier settlement remains were lying underneath it that were on a higher ground than the more or less contemporary columned hall of the Middle Kingdom. It turned out this season, when we excavated this area, that there were multiple traces of occupational activity in this part, which predate the silos but postdate the columned hall of the late Middle Kingdom. We are dealing with the period of the early Second Intermediate Period, which is very interesting in terms of ceramic types. The area consisted of a multiple succeeding floor levels, which were covered with fireplaces and holes of various sizes for placing pots and smaller holes for wooden posts. Two small column bases were also found in situ here.

Exterior space along eastern side of Silos Si 405 and Si 393