Restoration works and new discoveries at Tell el Amarna
|Waiting to be given shape again: the foundations of the Great Aten Temple recede eastwards, as far as the extension to the modern cemetery [Credit: G. Owen]|
At the temple, a large dump over the northern pylon and ground outside, made during previous work on the site by the now historical mission directed by Pendlebury had completely gone, fully exposing the brickwork of the pylon. This now needs to be repaired and built up with new bricks to a slightly greater height. Beside it, on the south, comes the outer temple ramp, of brick retaining walls and sand fill, 9.15 m wide.
It is planned that the site will be accessible to the wider public, by making a viewing platform. “What might be the view in a few years’ time? The viewing area will run for twice the present length, to include the southern pylon as well, so that the access ramp stands in the centre”, the fieldwork report reads.
Beyond the pylon, the team has located a broad flat surface of compacted mud that runs up to the monumental front to the stone temple, 30 m behind the brick pylons. It is stated that “This open space had brought people in – members of the public? – to perform offering-ceremonies on the mud bases surrounded by gypsum-lined troughs, a practice that had begun when the temple site was first laid out. Unfortunately, these are too fragile to leave exposed but it should be possible to devise a way of marking their locations. They seem to represent regular participation in a more modest style of worship, separate from the grand setting created by the stone architecture. The small stone palace, if such it really is, belongs within this zone and seems to lack the kind of separation of the king from modest cult surroundings that one might have expected”.
|Carved stone fragment S-7863, part of an insert made from indurated limestone andintended|
as a patch for an area of damage in the original blocks [Credit: G. Owen]
Finally, the work on the site has led us to define the actual form of the temple facade, where large quantities of polychrome hard stones had been used, in order to give a unique, luxurious appaerance to the monument. Also, several stone pieces are coming from inserts “laboriously worked to fit into a gap in backing stonework where damage had occurred or there was a flaw in the stone”, implying that areas of the temple were made from hard stones – especially the marble-like indurated limestone – and were decorated with scenes in addition to the usual range of Aten formulae. Such hard stone blocks might have been much larger than the modest, standardized size of the common limestone blocks.
The work at the front of the Great Aten Temple is only the first part of the 2013 schedule of work while the archaeologists are heading for more surprising finds.
Source: Egyptology News via Archaiologia [April 08, 2013]