An important excavation area is situated west of Tell el-Dabʿa, immediately adjacent to and now partly beneath the village of modern ʿEzbet Helmi. This area became famous because in a vast palace complex built during the reign of Thutmosis III (c. 1480–1425 BC) from the early New Kingdom Aegean frescos have been found.
In the excavation area of ʿEzbet Helmi (Area H/VI) east of the large platform of the early New Kingdom Palace G a large and probably public building, Building L, was explored some years ago (2005–2007). The interpretation as a public building is suggested by its size (c. 3200 m²), lay-out and white plaster stucco in several rooms. Such plaster stucco for mud brick buildings was usually not used for private dwellings. While the architectural design and the plan of the buildings are addressed in previous publications by Bietak and Forstner-Müller, the objects found in this building consisting of pottery and various small finds remains to be recorded and analysed. In order to understand the functional areas within this complex, the distribution and quantity of the different find types in the various locations within and around the building has to be worked out in order to be able to pinpoint where certain actions were undertaken, such as storage, manipulation materials, perhaps craft production, food preparation and consumption and feasting. Documentation and analysis of the pottery has begun and currently concentrates on closed contexts, for example, floor deposits, in order to use it as comparative body of material for the project Beyond Politics.
Recently stress was laid on finds from Loci L6370, 6371, 6372, 6373 and 6374. These loci represent a series of rooms in square H/VI-r/26 pl. 3, namely the levels close to the floor and the fill of the rooms to a certain extent. While already immediately after the excavation a larger number of almost complete vessels could be reconstructed, drawn and photographed, the sherd material was viewed and compared with the more complete material and several joins made. The scrutiny of cross joins enables insights into the sequence of deposition of the material in the various rooms and how they were spread afterwards. The analysis includes spreading the pottery, checking with neighbouring contexts for joins, reconstruct as much pottery to more complete shapes as possible and then begin recording the material by drawing, quantification of photographing.
The recording includes the distinction of the various fabric groups, division into pottery types of diagnostic fragments, drawing of usual types with quantification of smaller diagnostic fragments. Finally, the less diagnostic body fragments are divided by fabric, surface treatment and whether they belong to open or closed vessels, and are counted as well as weighed. This analysis makes certain that the data from pottery used in the particular room of this building can be used to inform on usage of spaces within the building (majority of storage jars – store room; majority of open vessels used for food consumption – living/eating area; majority of cooking vessels – kitchens; majority of bread moulds – baking area, etc.). While the pottery is processed, more finds such as white plaster fragments and animal bones come to light and are set aside for the respective specialists to analyse.