Mersa Gawasis (Red Sea - Egypt): UNO/IsIAO and BU 2003-2004 Field Season under direction of Rodolfo Fattovich and Kathryn Bard
Redazione Archaeogate, 18-10-2004 Pag. 2 di 10
Archaeology WG 15, WG 18
WG 15: This excavation unit, which was 4 m x 4 m in area, was initially opened to investigate the stratigraphic sequence at the base of the southwestern coral terrace. Archaeological investigations by Rodolfo Fattovich were conducted to a depth of ca. 1.23 m. Geological excavations below this depth were conducted by Abdel Moneim Mahmoud in order to understand phases of wadi activity and deposition of eolian sand which relate to regional climatic changes, and the relationship between climatic change and human activities in the area.
A salt crust, ca. 5.0-6.0 cm thick, was found beneath two upper strata of eolian sand. Within the salt crust were a few potsherds and fragments of large jars associated with charcoal. Evidence of a hearth was recorded on the surface of the salt crust, which covered a stratum of very compact sand, which in turn covered another stratum of soft sand.
WG 18: This excavation unit was a 6 m x 4 m trench with evidence of phases of human activity separated by strata of eolian sand and wadi deposits. It was excavated by Cinzia Perlingieri and Trina Arpin. The trench was located to the west of WG 12, an occupation area excavated in the 2002-2003 field season (see Fattovich et al. 2003). The purpose of this excavation was to investigate a roughly circular accumulation of sand, ca. 40.0 cm high, with a shallow central depression and a great quantity of ceramics outside the depression. The feature was located at an elevation of ca. 2.5 m above the present surface of the wadi bed, and consisted of small coral blocks, many potsherds, and a few shells beneath a superficial stratum of loose sand. The stratum of loose sand was a late deposit, most likely resulting from Sayed's excavations there.
Two major wet intervals during the period of site use were identified in the stratigraphic sequence. These strata consisted of alternating irregular layers of rough-grained deposits of gravel and pebbles, and finer-grained clastics of sandy beach deposits. They represent different phases of wadi activity during wet/moist climatic conditions, with alternating episodes of abundant floods and dry oscillations. In the lower stratum of wadi activity were many lithics, small white bivalve shells, and pieces of crabs. Bedrock was reached ca. 2.5 m beneath the surface of the trench.
Between the two strata formed by wadi activity was a stratum of eolian sand, ca. 1.0 m thick. A small hearth, which contained many fragments of open bowls and jars, and tuyères, was excavated in the upper part of this stratum. Unfortunately, these artifacts were without any coherent context; thus different phases of occupation could not be distinguished. This stratum most likely corresponds to a dry period, when the area was repeatedly occupied and used as a working area.
At the bottom of the sand stratum were four hearths associated with evidence of living floors. Many pieces of Pteroceras shells and small snail shells were associated with the hearths, but there were few artifacts, mainly lithics and potsherds which were mostly Nubian-like in type.
A preliminary analysis of the artifacts in this stratigraphic sequence suggests two cultural phases. The later phase dates to the Middle Kingdom, with some of the lower sherds possibly dating to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, or possibly to the First Intermediate Period. The earlier phase is characterized by a few fragments of wheel-made pharaonic pottery, Nubian-like potsherds associated with a lithic industry, and many shells, some of which may have traces of working. The Nubian-like potsherds are of hand-made vessels with incised decorations similar to Nubian ones dating to the early 2nd millennium BC. The artifacts from the earlier phase can be ascribed to indigenous peoples that frequented the coastal regions, exploited the sea resources, and were possibly in contact with the Egyptians.
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Mersa Gawasis (Red Sea - Egypt): UNO/IsIAO and BU 2003-2004 Field Season
Complete bowl from WG 17
Complete oven at WG 17
Plan of the structure at WG 20
Plan of the structure at WG 23
Complete anchor at the entrance of the eastern chamber, WG 23
Profile at WG 18
Nubian-like potsherd from WG 18 SU 14
Types of ceramic rims and bases from Mersa Gawasis
Concentration of shells, fish bones, and crab remains from WG 18, SU 14 lev. 2
A tuyère from WG 19