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View across the site to the Great Wadi in the distance, facing south-east. The photographer stands on one of the ancient roads that ring the site.

Stone Village


The low plateau that shelters the Workmen’s Village is also the setting for the Stone Village, which lies nestled in a shallow valley on its eastern face. The Stone Village is named for the concentration of limestone boulders scattered across its surface, prominent in the otherwise barren desert setting, and its immediate similarity in location and character to the Workmen’s Village. It is one of the least studied parts of Amarna, although a survey and excavation project commenced at the site in 2005 (click here for Stone Village Project).


View of the Stone Village, facing north-west
View of the Stone Village, facing north-west

The key area of remains is a concentration of small unworked limestone boulders spread over a roughly rectangular area measuring some 80 x 67 metres. Some lie in approximately linear arrangements, although few can be resolved into structure-groups at surface level. Along the eastern margin of this ‘core’ site lie low mounds of ancient rubbish deposit. On the top of the plateau nearby are several denuded stone structures, areas of surface pitting and ancient roadways. Some of the latter seem to circle the site but, interestingly, none run directly from the Stone Village to the Workmen’s Village. A sherd scatter, washed down from the site, also fans across the desert floor to the north-east.

The surface of the site presents concentrations, some approximately linear, of small unworked limestone boulders
The surface of the site presents concentrations, some approximately linear, of small unworked limestone boulders

Mounds of ancient rubbish along the eastern margin of the site
Mounds of ancient rubbish along the eastern margin of the site

The material culture is consistent with a late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Dynasty date, but as yet nothing has been recovered that pinpoints its exact period of occupation. This leaves open the possibility that it was not contemporary with the Workmen’s Village.

Recent excavations have confirmed the immediate impression that unworked stone was a prominent construction material here – although the extent to which the site had a ‘village’ character remains unclear. Was it a military outpost? An earlier workers’ settlement? Housing for a community of slaves who served the Workmen’s Village? A campsite for workmen employed in tomb cutting and decoration? All are options. The only hope for an answer will be through careful recording of the site and consideration of its setting: on the fringes of the city, in relative proximity to the tombs in the surrounding cliffs and the Workmen’s Village, linked in to a network of roadways, and in a somewhat isolated location.

The site is not currently open to visitors.


View across the site to the Great Wadi in the distance, facing south-east.
View across the site to the Great Wadi in the distance, facing south-east. The photographer stands on one of the ancient roads that ring the site

View from the top of the spur (visible in the middle distance in the previous image) that juts out from the plateau beyond the south-east of the Stone Village, back onto the site. The black circles mark the line of an ancient roadway running east-westerly across the plateau here.
View from the top of the spur (visible in the middle distance in the previous image) that juts out from the plateau beyond the south-east of the Stone Village, back onto the site. The black circles mark the line of an ancient roadway running east-westerly across the plateau here.

 
 

Website first posted September 2000; last updated November 2010 | enquiries concerning website: email bjk2@cam.ac.uk