Excavations in Naga: the Spring 2016 campaign

In the Spring 2016 campaign in Naga, which ran from January 22nd to March 4th, 2016, work on Temple 1200 continued. The goal was to free the temple further from sand and hopefully answer some questions on its unique design. The temple’s situation (atop a podium) along with the arrangement of the rooms and their architectural design are currently without parallel in the archaeology of the Sudan.

Excavations over the last few weeks concentrated on the east side of the temple, where a large number of blocks were unearthed and documented. In many areas, the lower corner of the podium was reached, thus revealing the ancient ground level for the area. Numerous pottery finds, as well as the placement of various blocks to make a windscreen for cooking fires, show that, after the temple had been given up as a sacred building after a partial, it was used for some time as a house.

Tempel 1200 von Süden gesehen© Naga-Projekt
Tempel 1200 von Süden gesehen

Some decorated blocks from the main room of the temple, which had been brought to light on the previous campaign but were too fragile to transport, could now, after restoration, be carefully removed. New finds include a variety of different architectural elements – wall blocks of various shapes, columns, capitals, bead mouldings, cavetto cornices and much more. With some luck, it may be enough to allow us to reconstruct the temple’s appearance in Antiquity, at least in part. All of the progress on the dig was documented with the help of our photo drone and the resulting 3-D models of the excavation area entered into the database. Thomas Bauer from Trigon Art continued documenting finds with the structured light scanner.

Gerüst für die Festigung der Wände des Löwentempels© Naga-Projekt
Gerüst für die Festigung der Wände des Löwentempels

Parallel to work on Temple 1200, restoration work on the other buildings continued. A team from RAO (Restaurierung am Oberbaum) consolidated the lowest rows of stone on the Lion Temple, which had been excavated on a previous campaign and needed strengthening.

At the end of the campaign, the dig house was buttoned down and “summer-proofed”. Work will continue in Fall 2016.