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JL 2009 Final Report Unit 56, Room 4b Kristen Baldwin Deathridge Excavated: 17 May - 6 June 2009 measurements: 7.5 x 3.

75 m Loci: 71, 85, 131, 148, 206-208, 221, 335-341 Plan Drawings: 72-74, 82-88 Unit 56 was opened in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons and contains four rooms: Rooms 4a & 4b, Room 5, and Room 6. The division between 4a and 4b is defined by the two walls 85 and 71, which supported an E-W archway spanning the room from. In 2008, the floor was reached in Room 4a as well as in Rooms 5 and 6. Enough of Room 4b was excavated in 2008 to locate two window niches in wall 208 which had JLS2 ribbed jar pottery necks inserted into them to be used as air vents onto the courtyard of the manshubyia as well as a door into the courtyard in the northeast corner of Room 4b between walls 208 and 221/206. This doorway remained open until the abandonment of the manshubyia. The air vents, however, had been closed off by the construction of a wall against 208 in the courtyard. There are blocked doorways into both 4a and 4b from Room 3, to the West. So far in excavations, Room 3 appears to be the spiritual center of the manshubyia as it contains evidence of the highest quantity of wall decoration and epigraphy, although several faded inscriptions were recovered from Room 4a as well. There is also a (blocked?) passage between Room 4a and Room 6. The chief goals for the reopening of unit 56 this season were to reach floor level in Room 4b and to continue to examine the walls in the whole of Room 4 in order to further investigate the building sequence of the manshubyia. Because the excavation of the southern portion of the room, 4a, was completed in 2008, there was a section visible between 4a & 4b which provided an indication of what I could expect to encounter in the fill levels. I spent extensive time reviewing the narrative notebook, locus sheets, plans, photos, and reports submitted in 2008 by Emily Cocke. These were extremely helpful! The opening sand fill was designated locus 131 lot .06 because in 2008 EC did not reach a locus change but did excavate 5 lots. Loci 131.06-08 remained mostly clean, with a few plaster, pottery, and carbon pieces coming out throughout in very low concentrations. There were even smaller amounts of glass and bone than plaster and pottery, providing evidence that 131 is indeed windblown sand. It is also too high up in the room to be a plausible surface for occupation or reuse. Below sand fill 131 was mud brick tumble 335 (equal to 141 from 4a, 2008). 335 consisted of bricks and mortar from the arch that used to span between walls 85 and 71 and probably some from the ceiling of the room as well. In the bricks some P5/6 type plaster pieces provide evidence that the arch was a later addition to the room (further evidence of this is provided below). After the removal of 335, loose sand fill 337 was removed this layer was very thin below tumble 335 (so that there was no equivalent in 2008 for 4a) but came to about half a meter on the N half of the room in order to reveal
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compact sand layer 338 (equal to 136 from 4a, 2008). This compact sand and melted mud brick layer is thicker to the S and E of the room and is a deposit from the weathering and decay of the walls and ceiling of Room 4 before the collapse of the arch (and ceiling?). Beneath compact sand 338, another loose sand layer rested on the floor of the room. This is locus 339 (equal to 147 from 4a, 2008) and consists of the sand that blew in to Room 4 after the abandonment of the manshubyia. There were no finds directly on the floor but there were ash deposits in the sand, one which may be fragments of a fire with palm fragments as fuel, that indicate that the room was used again temporarily before the total abandonment of this part of the structure. The floor surface, locus 148, continues throughout Room 4. Throughout the fill layers of 4b, few significant finds were excavated but there was a small amount of painted plaster, including some dipinti. The dipinti fragments were found in layer 339 near the base of wall 71. Initial analysis indicates that this inscription included a list of names (perhaps of visitors to the manshubyia?). Faded painting on walls 207 and 208 also includes dipinti (which was recorded in 2008) and some very faded decoration. In order to better understand the sequencing of Room 4, I spent time with Gillian Pyke discussing the plaster on the walls and quite a bit of time elaborating on the wall description forms from the last two seasons. Wall 207, the border between Rooms 3 and 4, appears to be the oldest wall in Room 4. The S end of 207 has P5/6, one of the older plaster types in use in the manshubyia. The P5/6 extends under the S doorway in 207 (which was cut into the wall and then later blocked and plastered over) and onto the stub wall 222. 222 was most likely cut during a remodeling phase associated with much of the P1 plaster in the structure. The E stub of 222 appears to have been used in the construction of circular wall 220. This could explain the step down into the N part of Room 4 just past 222. 207 has a raised ledge, covered by plastered floor 148 up against it along the bottom, running from 222 in the S to 208 in the N. The bricks and mortar of walls 221 (E wall of Room 4) and 208 (N wall of Room 4) contain inclusions of P5/6 and P1 plaster, which indicates that they are later, reusing parts of other walls (although not necessarily from this manshubiya). Wall 221, like 207 across the room, has a ledge running along the bottom of it. This one is much wider than the one against 207 and again plaster floor surface 148 covers the ledge. To the N of wall 71, the ledge has been removed and one can see further floor layers beneath 148 and its prep layer of opus signinum. If Room 4 is reopened in the future, it could be beneficial to open a test pit or two through the floor to examine the layers and wall bases below. Wall 221 butts (or is butted by?) wall 206 on the E; both run N-S. 206 included an arched doorway into Room 4b, next to N wall 208. The fill from this doorway, including some bricks clearly from the arch, was partially removed as locus 336. Wall 208 forms the N border of Room 4. The S face of 208 has two window niches, one in the W of the wall and one near the center that opened onto the courtyard. They are backed with JLS2 ribbed jar necks. These windows were closed over when a wall was
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built against 208 to the N. Walls 208, 207, and 221 have a 1.75 m high, 2 cm thick layer of P09-1 embossed on them. This plaster layer was painted red and later it was covered over with white skim and a second layer of P09-1 (which still reaches the floor on 221). It is possible that the white skim was added at the same time that the window niches were blocked in wall 208 so that there would be more white surfaces in Room 4 to reflect light better. Walls 85 and 71 are probably the latest walls in Room 4 (possible exception of circular wall 220 enclosing Room 6?). They were built on top of the floor ledges in order to support an arch spanning Room 4 from E to W.

Locus List: Walls: 85: W support wall for arch, rooms 4a & b 71: E support wall for arch, rooms 4a & b 207: N-S running wall, W of rooms 4a & b 208: E-W running wall, N of room 4b 221: N-S running wall, E of rooms 4a &b 206: N-S running wall, E of wall 221 (220 and 222 were evaluated last season and therefore I did not create new locus sheets for them this year, although they did get new wall description forms) 131-- clean windblown sand; there were 5 lots in 2008, so i will begin with 131.06 (this was also old 111 of unit 60 in 2007), opened 17 May, closed 2 June. 148 -- floor of Room 4, opened 6 June 335 -- mud brick tumble from archway walls 85 & 71 and ceiling, opened 28 May, closed 2 June. 336 -- mud brick tumble from arch doorway in N of wall 206 (last yearʼs fill was locus 136), opened 1 June, closed 6 June. 337 -- sand fill under mud brick tumble 335, opened 3 June, closed 3 June. 338 -- compact sand and melted mud brick under sand 337, opened 3 June, closed 4 June. 339 -- sand fill below compact sand 338 and immediately above floor level, opened 3 June, closed 6 June. 340 -- mud brick tumble from blocked doorway in N of wall 207, opened 6 June, closed 6 June. 341 -- cleaning of sand left against S face of wall 71 in Room 4a, opened 6 June, closed 6 June.

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