News from QSAP-37 in Meroe (UCL-Qatar/NCAM) about this season
Throughout UCL Qatar’s autumn 2017 - spring 2018 field seasons at the Royal City of Meroe, work is continuing on several strands of activity:
- Archaeological excavations and research
- Finds documentation
- Experimental archaeology
- Community archaeology
Excavations are progressing at slag heap number 4, the biggest slag heap at Meroe, with the aim of investigating a large building discovered under the metallurgical remains in 2016. As excavation, documentation and sampling progress we have revealed the southern, eastern and northern extent of the building and the stratigraphic relationship between the building walls and the overlying and abutting metallurgical deposits. Having removed the upper wall wash of the building in the east, a well-preserved furnace with 6, in situ ceramic bellows pots positioned in three pairs, has been found. Excavations are ongoing to understand more about the building and the furnace area.
We continue to focus attention at slag heap number 3, which is the location of Meroe’s Apedemak Temple. Here, excavations have been taking place at a furnace location discovered in 2016 to the south of the slag heap, and we continue to investigate the nature of the slag heap and the manner in which the architects of the temple used the slag heap as a platform for their construction. A long entranceway leading up to the temple, as well as interesting architectural features, are being documented. Final documentation of the temple is being completed before it is covered to preserve the remains for future generations.
The finds office team, directed by Saskia Buchner, continue to be productive. This season, 315 vessel unit drawings and 58 small finds drawings have been completed. 642 vessel units were inventoried alongside 132 small finds and over 3,000 finds photographs were taken.
Experimental archaeology continued at the UCL Qatar dig house to continue to inform our understandings of the ancient iron production carried out at Meroe, while the community archaeology strand of the project saw meetings carried out in four villages and 1,200 children’s books (‘Hweida and Maawia discover Meroe’s iron’) delivered to children and local school libraries.