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. 6 di 10
About 100 lithic tools were collected at Mersa Gawasis in the 2003-2004 field season, and were examined by Andrea Manzo. The raw materials are gray or whitish chert, quartz, and brown flint. Only two obsidian tools were recorded: a perforator on a blade in WG 18 SU13, and a scraper on a flake in WG 19 SU8.
Most tools are retouched blades. Some of them are regular flint or chert blades, often with truncations at the edge. Several tools (flakes and blades) were irregularly and partially retouched in an opportunistic way, often with traces of the cortex on the surface.
The main types of tools were side- and/or end-scrapers, burins, notches, and perforators. These tools are often retouched on both proximal and distal edge. Sometimes different tools were obtained from the same flake or blade, which was used as a multi-function tool.
Flint and chert blades, cores, and tools were collected in excavation units WG 16, WG 17, WG 18, and WG 19. No evidence of a lithic industry was recorded in the excavation units WG 22 and WG 23, close to the seashore.
A concentration of perforators and burins was found in WG 18 SU11-SU14, suggesting a specialized use of the area. Their association with a concentration of shells and fish bones (Fig. 10) suggests that they were used to make shell beads or other shell artifacts. Many cores and stone debris were also found in this excavation unit, suggesting the occurrence of a lithic workshop there.
A progressive reduction in size of the stone tools was recorded in the stratigraphic sequence at WG 18. Larger tools occur in the upper strata, with smaller ones in the lower strata. In particular, several microlithic chert perforators, bladelets, and flakes and an high frequancy of quartz were recorded in the lower strata of WG 18.
Ten grinding stones were found in the upper strata of WG 16, and WG 19. They suggest a domestic use of these areas. A few grinding stones were also collected in WG 18 SU14. The concentration of shells, crab remains, and fish bones in this unit points to a possible use of the grinding stones to process sea food or make shell tools (see e.g., Tosi & Biscione 1981). This hypothesis is possibly supported by Agatarchides of Cnidus (Diodorus, III, 7), who describes the practice of Red Sea coastal people (Ichtyophagoi) to grind dried fish and seeds for making food in Hellenistic times (see Burstein 1989).
The lithic industry from Mersa Gawasis is comparable to those from other sites in the Nile Valley, in Egypt and in northern Sudan. In particular, the blade industry associated with the Twelfth Dynasty ceramics at Mersa Gawasis is similar to Egyptian industries, which were made from the Predynastic and to Dynastic times (see Holmes 1989; Hikade 2002).
Industries with a great amount of perforators on flakes, sometimes with traces of a cortex, such as the one from WG 18 SU14, were also recorded in Nubian sites and date to the early 2nd millennium BC (Gratien & Olive 1984; Säve-Söderbergh 1989).
Cliccare sull'immagine per l'ingrandimento
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