Is archaeology a dangerous job?

Ah! A question about the dangers of archaeology.

Is archaeology a dangerous job?

Madaba5Yes and no. It depends on the country in which you work. Digging in a third world country where there is a civil war or harsh living conditions: yes, it is dangerous. Digging a First Nation site north of Toronto, barely half an hour away from your home: no, it is not. Still, like with any other job, you have to be careful and aware of your surroundings and take medical precautions to avoid illness.

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How many bricks would a pharaoh make if a pharaoh would make bricks?

Bricks, bricks, nothing but bricks… and math! A fun post from Malqata… about bricks. Lots of bricks.

iMalqata

Tony Crosby

We cannot begin to know how many mud bricks were actually used to construct Amenhotep III’s palace at Malqata, but we can develop a rough estimate. To start with, the enclosure wall is 2.5 meters thick and was probably over 600 meters long. Each 1 meter of length of a wall 1 meter high requires 540 bricks – if the wall was only 2 meters high, over half a million bricks would be necessary. But a 2.5 meter thick wall would surely be at least 3 meters high, so I’m raising our estimate of the number of bricks in the enclosure walls to slightly more than 800,000.

The walls comprising the palace rooms generally are much thinner, the majority being 0.6 meters thick, although some are only 20 cm thick and some are 1.6 meters thick. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the average thickness of the palace walls is 0.6…

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I wonder what the king is eating tonight?

Here’s the other iMalqata post I had enjoyed yesterday. Want to learn more about Egyptian food, meat in particular? Read this entry by Salima Ikram. Enjoy!

iMalqata

Salima Ikram

It is fabulous to be at Malqata—an ancient Egyptian settlement with areas that show social stratigraphy and organisation. Kings, nobles, and commoners all lived here and celebrated the sed festivals of King Amenhotep III. I first worked on animal bones that were excavated from Malqata in the 1970s for my Ph.D., and am thrilled that the Met is digging now in different parts of the site so that there is a fresh source of bones to examine. The animal bones that I am studying come from trash pits, and undisturbed fill that lay in the North Village. By examining these, we are learning about what people ate and how animals were butchered.

Part of the [] bone of a calf, with butchery marks. Part of the rib of a cow that has been chopped in half.. Many of the bones I am examining come from a pit just outside the enclosure wall of a ceremonial area known as the Audience Pavilion…

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Bath Time in the Palace

A couple of great posts on the iMalqata blog today. Here’s one about ancient Egyptian bathing rooms… I didn’t realise there were no fewer than 10 bathrooms in Amenhotep III’s palace! The pictures of the ‘shower stalls,’ then and now, are quite humbling. So much has disappeared in the last +100 years…

iMalqata

Peter Lacovara

The ancient Egyptians seem to have placed great importance on personal cleanliness. For most people, bathing appears to have been done in pools, rivers and canals but shower stalls were a feature in the Royal Palaces and in the model palaces.

In these stalls, the bather would stand on a stone slab with a drain cut into it and water would be poured over them by a servant standing beside a half wall enclosing the shower. Soap was made from natron and was beneficial for the skin. It may have even been scented as were soaps made from animal fat or vegetable oil.

The Palace of the King at Malqata boasted at least ten bathrooms. Only scant traces of them remain today, but when the Palace was excavated by Robb de Peyster Tytus in 1901 to 1903, he discovered a very well preserved bath in room N11, in one of the…

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A day on a dig in Jordan

After having reblogged two posts, I thought I should treat you to a little something original: a new adventure in the Day in the Life of an Archaeologist chronicle! You can now read about a day in my life… on my very first dig! Enjoy a day at Tell Madaba, Jordan; it’s available from the menu.

Miniature Pyramids of Sudan

There is a nice article in Archaeology, the AIA magazine, on the Miniature Pyramids of Sudan, about fieldwork at Sedeinga. Actually, during my first dig season in Sudan back in 2000, I worked at the site with the French mission for one month (after spending the previous month with the Canadian mission at Meroe–see the Day in the life of an archaeologist chronicle). That is where I met my friend Vincent Francigny, who is now co-director of the excavations. Enjoy the article!

AUC-AERA Archaeological Field Training programme

Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA), in collaboration with the American University of Cairo (AUC), is accepting applications for the 2015 Giza Archaeological Field Training programme.

You can find further information here. The deadline is May 31, 2014.