The American Research Center in Eygpt



A composite map of Q03, showing the boundaries of the debris (red outline), the outlines of the structures (yellow), and known tomb locations.

Updated: November 2013

Q03 lay immediately beside the still-standing house of local Qurna resident Mohamed Khalil. Prior to the demolition, the area contained houses, across multiple levels of hillside, that incorporated rock-cut tombs K542, K549, and K550. As was observed throughout Qurna, the houses used and modified the ancient forecourts of these tombs. Q03 was broadly covered by the remains of buildings, which were organized into 12 distinctive archaeological structures: 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119 and 120.

Structure 108 and 109 formed part of an extensive cluster of buildings that was owned by Mahmoud el Zani and his brother Abd el Rahman. Both men continue to work for the local inspectorate (taftish); Mahmoud as a guard for the nearby tombs; and Abd el Rahman, selling tickets to tourists to visit the area’s open tombs. These structures were built directly on the north edge of the forecourt of K550, an ancient saff tomb with nine entrances. Portions of them still contained mud brick walls rendered with mud and painted blue and green. A WC and an oven were built in front of them.

Entrances to an ancient saff tomb, before cleaning.

The waste water drain for the WC ran downwards into a latrine to the east and, unlike with other structures in the area, not into one of the ancient rock cut tombs. The divan of the complex, which acted as a meeting place, was built with mud brick, rendered with mud, painted light blue, and its floor paved with red brick fragments. Meeting spaces such as these formed an important part of community life in the hamlets. The back wall of the divan was completely built from ancient mud bricks, some of which are stamped with the names of Tuthmosis III inside cartouches.

Part of el Zani house after clearance, with the entrances to the saff tomb in the background.
An assortment of modern water jars collected during work.

The house of Sheikh Mahmoud el Azab, the Chief of Guards for Qurna’s Inspectorate, was also built within an ancient forecourt, this time tomb K542. Identified as structure 120, its remains show evidence of demolition by heavy machinery, which effectively destroyed the larger compound of buildings associated with the house. The remains of one of the building’s ovens, however, was found to the north, along with a number of bread trays that would have been used in it.

A cooking pot, with lid; one of many cooking dishes found throughout Qurna.

While clearing Q03, as in many other Q sections, a number of modern vessels and tools used in cooking were recovered. These offered important insight into the population’s daily life. They, along with similar material from other Q sections, were recorded and studied.

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