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The dumps of broken stone and potsherds that lie south of the Great Aten Temple, viewed to the east. Many fragments of statues have been found amongst them.
Above: The dumps of broken stone and potsherds that lie south of the Great Aten Temple, viewed to the east. Many fragments of statues have been found amongst them.
View of the 2010 excavation at the site of Pendlebury’s statue dump, viewed to the west. Pendlebury’s ruined expedition house is in the backgroundView of the 2010 excavation at the site of Pendlebury’s statue dump, viewed to the west. Pendlebury’s ruined expedition house is in the background.

Statuary 2006-2010



Kristin Thompson

In the seasons from 2006 to 2009, the registration work on the statuary fragments (and a relatively small number of relief fragments) continued. Each year saw dozens of additional surface finds as well, including a significant number in the Great Aten Temple and particularly the area around the North Expedition House.

In 2010, a small excavation was carried out in the area of the North House Dump, with a view to determining the limits of the area used to rebury stone fragments and to clear any remaining pieces. Approximately 400 pieces were recovered, and the edges of the dump were determined. Twenty or more joins were made among these recovered pieces or between them and pieces already in the magazine.

Lower half of an earlobe from a colossal statue, in yellow quartzite. Height 3.6 cm; width 5.4 cm; depth 3.0 cm.S-7184: Lower half of an earlobe from a colossal statue, in yellow quartzite. Height 3.6 cm; width 5.4 cm; depth 3.0 cm.
View of the 2010 excavation, towards the south, showing the edges of Pendlebury’s pits.View of the 2010 excavation, towards the south, showing the edges of Pendlebury’s pits.
View of statuary pit in square N20, towards the south. The upper contents of the pit had been scattered over the desert many years before by villagers.View of statuary pit in square N20, towards the south. The upper contents of the pit had been scattered over the desert many years before by villagers.

Of the 400 pieces, roughly 180 were from objects other than statuary: primarily many pieces of carved travertine. Hundreds of similar fragments were already in the magazine, and matches among some of these and the new fragments revealed that the travertine fragments came from one or more balustrades, most likely from the Broad Hall of the Great Palace. Others were parts of reliefs, finished and unfinished, in quartzite, granite, and limestone, also most likely from the Great Palace.

Small quartzite foot on a base showing signs that it was repaired or modified in antiquity. Height 8.1 cm; width 10.2 cm; depth 13.7 cm.S-7468: Small quartzite foot on a base showing signs that it was repaired or modified in antiquity. Height 8.1 cm; width 10.2 cm; depth 13.7 cm.

The approximately 220 pieces of statuary yielded evidence of previously unknown statues. These include a colossus in yellow quartzite, represented by the lower half of an earlobe (cat. no. S-7184, illustrated) and the tip of a thumb. Another quartzite piece is a small foot on a base (cat. no. S-7468, illustrated); the proper left side of the fragment has been flattened and a small mortise added, suggesting that the statue was repaired or modified in antiquity. (Two pieces with ancient repairs were discovered during the excavation, bringing the total number of such pieces in the magazine to five.)

Investigation of the dumps south of the Great Aten Temple yielded 57 fragments of statuary and reliefs. These included part of a small hand against a flat surface, perhaps an offering table, in purple quartzite (S-7329, illustrated).

By the end of the season, the registration of all fragments of stone sculpture, both relief and in the round, had been completed. During the nine seasons since 2001, 2406 numbers have been assigned to individual fragments or groups of fragments. Apart from statuary, these fragments are the remains of balustrades, reliefs, a palm-pattern cornice, a possible canopic box, and unidentified objects.

Although the registration of future finds will continue, the statuary project has moved into its publication phase. Amarna Project stone registrar Kristin Thompson and Marsha Hill, an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will collaborate on a volume on the statuary program in the ancient city.

Hand from a statue perhaps holding an offering table, in purple quartzite. Height 8.9 cm; width 7.1 cm; depth 3.4 cm.S-7329: Hand from a statue perhaps holding an offering table, in purple quartzite. Height 8.9 cm; width 7.1 cm; depth 3.4 cm.

It is planned to include chapters on iconography, types of stones, workshops, composite statuary, and pattern of destruction, as well as a building-by-building catalogue of pieces and a discussion of their original contexts. The conclusions will discuss the statues’ functions, their implications for interpreting the nature of the city’s royal buildings, and their contributions to our understanding of Amarna art.

 
 

Website first posted September 2000; last updated October 2017 | enquiries concerning website: email bjk2@cam.ac.uk