Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest post: Martin Uildriks

We have a great team working at El Kurru and I've invited them to post to the blog. Here's the first post, from Martin Uildriks, who worked at the City Wall last season and has returned this year.

Continued excavations at the Great Wall at El Kurru

City gateway (2014 photo)
In his field notes from 1919, the American archaeologist George Andrew Reisner described a large wall on the perimeter of the modern village at El Kurru. Based on his description, IKAP [the International Kurru Archaeological Project] rediscovered the wall in 2013 and continued exploration in 2014, exposing a large portion of the wall including a distinguishing and significant gate-construction. At present we continue systematic excavation on top and along what we call the Great Wall, to uncover its full length and get a clear idea of its extent.

City gateway detail with large log of petrified wood (2014 photo)
Quite likely, the Great Wall enclosed a settlement, perhaps of Christian or earlier date. And in addition to determining its magnitude, we hope to soon locate the homes of the people who built it. We expect that their houses will shed more light on their daily lives and the need for the wall itself, as its functions, use, reuse, and abandonment within the history of the area still remain a mystery.

First day of work--Martin Makinson in green shirt

Currently, Martin Uildriks (locally known as Columbus) is in the process of opening up two areas to also explore the settlement. Martin Makinson (without local name as of yet) opened up two squares directly on top of the wall to expose the fuller length of the structure. Meanwhile, our other specialists are setting up to analyze our excavation results to reconstruct the Great Wall’s geological, archaeobotanical, and chronological setting.

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