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Area A/IV

by Irmgard Hein
  Between 1989 – 1991 excavations led by M. Bietak and J. Dorner took place in Area A/IV, located north of the excavation house.

Egyptian Antiquities Department had sent Ali Amreya, Ibrahim Soliman and Hisham Mohamed as representatives.

The plot includes several squares which contained levels from Str. Abs. H – A, although evidence of Str. C is, by and large, missing (pic. 1), (cf. Hein, 1992).
pic. 1
  The earliest levels
In 1991 the earliest levels were detected in squares g/4-6 located southeast of the modern cemetery: simple houses including fire-places and stands for water jars. According to the ceramics, they belong to Str. H or possibly even Str. I, chronologically corresponding to the end of the 12th Dynasty (dating according to K. Kopetzky).

In the squares to the southeast (h/3-7 and j/4-5) settlement relics with small houses from the later levels Str. G and F (>>Chronology) were found, which belonged to the 13th Dynasty. An almost square shaped house with four rooms was detected, as well as another house with two rooms (pic. 2). Courtyards, small lanes and a street separate the units.
pic. 2
  Tombs in area A/IV
Tomb pits cut into the settlement layers from above. According to the burial goods, they belong to Str. F – E/1 (end of 13th Dynasty – early Hyksos level), but the floor level of the pits was not preserved wholly intact. The tombs show typical features of the Syro-Palestinian influenced culture of the Eastern Nile Delta which was established in this area during the 13th Dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period (>>cf. also the tombs in area A/II).

The tombs are made of mud brick and consist of one chamber of different sizes. They might have contained single or multiple burials, as is also known from area F/I or A/II.

Almost every tomb had been plundered, but they still contained some remarkable finds, like figural decorated Tell el Yahudiya Juglets or small stone beads (cf. Catalogue, 1994).
Examples of such include:
juglet   drawings   chain
pic. 3   pic. 4   pic. 5
juglet   juglet   juglet
pic. 6   pic. 7   pic. 8
A/IV-H/3 - tomb 6
jar   tomb inventory   amethyst chain
pic. 9   pic. 10   pic. 11
A/IV-H/6 - tomb 11   A/IV-H/6 - tomb 13
tomb situation   tomb situation
pic. 12   pic. 13
  A/IV- h/6+7, tomb 4-5: tomb with two chambers (pic. 14). The larger chamber revealed two burials. We assume, from white traces of thin lime plaster arranged in a rectangular shape around the bodies, that both of them were buried in a single sarcophagus. In the smaller chamber to the north, offering goods were placed, including meat pieces set out on plates (pic. 15).

In front of the tomb, a double donkey burial was found. A set of game stones had been left on the roof of the chamber. It consists of six small limestone figures, six tetrameter in shape, six small, flat bone cylinders, decorated bone sticks and astragalis (pic. 16).
pic. 14   pic. 15   pic.16
  A cylinder seal of Amenemhat III
(pic. 17 - cylinder seal and pic.18 - cast)
One object found in the vicinity of a tomb is a cylinder seal with the cartouche of the royal name of king Amenemhat III. (Hein, 2003). It comes from a context which also contained one seal impression, a schist mould for tools, like a chisel, a harpoon and a narrow-blade axe. The pottery from the context is typical of Str. F (late 13th Dynasty – early Hyksos Period).
pic. 17 pic. 18
  The later levels and the pool
The settlement layers were cut off to the south by an expansive pool which is bound to belong to a later period. The structure is likeliest to belong to the Sutekh district of Piramesse. We may be dealing here with a sacred lake (cf. Bietak, 1990).

Limestone blocks, found in situ at the northern edge of the pool, can be interpreted as parts of a staircase leading into the basin. The basin itself shows two construction phases. The outer bank of the basin, the first phase into which the staircase falls, was reinforced with compacted loam, mixed with numerous limestone chips (pic. 19 - map,
G. Wiplinger)
pic. 19
  The finds from this basin filling are diversified in nature and show a wide spectrum of dating, making these latest finds reliable dating indicators (pic. 20 and pic. 21).

The pottery found in the filling comes from the backfill out of the disturbed settlement below, such as fragments of painted Middle Cypriot II pottery. A small biconical jar with burnished surface, showing Syro- Palestinian influences, has its origins in the local ceramic tradition from the early Hyksos Period (Str. E).

The smaller basin placed inside represents the second phase (rel. str. c/1). This one shows bank reinforcement only by solid loam layers, as we could see clearly in the profile. This basin was about 30 ms (~ 60 cubits) wide; the full length was not explored. From this fill comes a Canaanite jar (see below) which belongs typologically to the Late Bronze Age II, which is widely prevalent in Egypt, for instance from the Amarna Period onwards (late 18th Dynasty) (>>Tell el-Amarna).

Some limestone fragments were also found, e.g. a relief fragment with a tall, standing human figure holding a stave, as well as parts of moulds and pipes, indicating a metal production centre somewhere in the area. A clay seal impression, probably of a North Syrian cylinder seal, was also found (Collon 2006, Hein 2006).
After the second basin had been refilled (rel. str. b), a small rectangular building was erected at the spot, on a clean sand bed foundation. (rel. str. a /2 – 3). This building belongs probably to the Late Period.

The publication of the area is currently in preparation (status 2005).
pic. 20 pic. 21
Hein, I.
1992 Two Excavation Areas from Tell el-Dabca. Preliminary Abstracts. Sesto congresso internazionale di egittologia, Atti, Vol. 1, Torino 1992, 249-253.
2003 Ein Zylindersiegel mit dem Namen des Nj-m3ct-Rc aus Tell el-Dabca.
In: R.M. HASITZKA/J. DIETHART/G. DEMBSKI (Hgr), Das Alte Ägypten und seine Nachbarn (FS Helmut Satzinger), Kremser Wissenschaftliche Reihe 3, Krems, 77 – 86.
2006 Die Fundpositionen zweier syrischer Siegelabformungen aus Tell el-Dabca. Im Druck
1994 Catalogue: "Pharaonen und Fremde", 194. Sonderausstellung des Histor. Museums der Stadt Wien (6.9. - 25.10.1994, Volkshalle des Wiener Rathauses)
Bader B.
2001 Tell el-Dabca XIII, Typologie und Chronologie der Mergel C-Ton Keramik. Materialien zum Binnenhandel des Mittleren Reiches und der Zweiten Zwischenzeit. UZK ÖAW XIX. Wien 2001.
Bietak M.
1990 Zur Herkunft des Seth von Avaris. Ä&L I, 9-16.
1991a Tell el-Dabca V, Ein Friedhofsbezirk mit Totentempel der Mittleren Bronzezeit im östlichen Nildelta. (Unter Mitarbeit von Christa Mlinar und Angela Schwab). Untersuchungen der Zweigstelle Kairo des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes in Kairo. Wien.
1991b Egypt and Canaan during the Middle Bronze Age. BASOR 281, 28?72.
Collon D.
2006 New Seal Impressions from Tell el-Dabca. In: Czerny/ Hein /Hunger/ Melman/ Schwab (Eds.), Timelines, Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak, vol. II, 97 – 101.
Hein I.
2006 Die Fundpositionen zweier syrischer Siegelabformungen aus Tell el-Dabca.
In: Czerny/Hein/Hunger/Melman/Schwab (Eds.), Timelines, Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak, vol. II, 135–148
Maguire L. C.
1995 Tell el-Dabca, the Cypriote Connection. In: Davies, W.V. & Schofield, L. (eds.) Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, London, 54–65.
Müller V.
1996 Opfergruben der Mittleren Bronzezeit in Tell el-Dabca. Teil I: Auswertung und Deutung. Teil II: Katalog. Dissertation Georg-August Universität zu Göttingen (MS, unpubliziert).