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In January 2002 Professor Betsy Bryan and her team of students from Johns Hopkins will return for a second season at an archaeological site in Luxor, Egypt. This will be the 8th season in Egypt for Professor Bryan. She is the chair of the Near Eastern Studies Department and Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology. Her area of study is the Egyptian New Kingdom (18th to 20th dynasties) spanning the time from 1567 to 1085 B.C.E. The geographic area that is encompassed by the modern day city of Luxor is rich in finds from the New Kingdom, which was the "golden age" of Egyptian temple building. Ancient sites in the area include the city of Thebes, the temple complexes at Karnak, Deir el-Bahari, Deir el-Medina and the burial sites in the Valley of Kings and the Valley of the Queens with tombs from the 18th and 19th dynasties. Thebes was the capital of ancient Egypt, and the center of the most important cult, that of the god Amun.



JHU is continuing work this year at the Temple of the Goddess Mut (pronounced "moot") at Karnak in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. Mut was the wife of the great national god of ancient Egypt, Amun, whose central temple at Karnak is the largest existing religious complex in the world. Mut had her own temple in the southern precinct of Karnak, and the main temple was linked to it by two different paved alleys flanked by rows of ram headed sphinxes. The god Amun's statue was brought to the Mut temple when rituals occurred commemorating the birth of a son to Amun and Mut. That son, Khonsu, a moon god, has his own temple at Karnak as well.
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Since 1977 the Brooklyn Museum, under the direction of Mr. Richard A. Fazzini, has been excavating in the Temple of Mut. This year's team comes from the Detroit Institute of Arts and includes Dr. William Peck, Senior Curator of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Dr. Elsie Peck, both of whom will be working on the material from the so-called Birth Temple, or the Temple of Khonsu-Pa-Khered (Khonsu the Child) as well as the area from the Entrance Gate of the Mut Temple through the First Court.

This season JHU will continue its work behind the temple's Sacred Lake in the hope of locating the New Kingdom occupation of the area. Professor Bryan states, "We expect that there are houses and possibly subsidiary temple buildings of the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty) in this area. Within the temple proper we will excavate on the west side of the second courtyard. We also will begin to investigate the area near a gateway of the early New Kingdom (ca. 1479 B.C.E.) in the hope of eventually reconstructing on paper the configuration of the temple in its earliest form -- now lost beneath a largely Late Period rebuilding. The Temple is a large precinct but we hope to begin to define its New Kingdom form, and to study the areas behind the temple that will inform us about the ancient city of Thebes in the New Kingdom."


The aerial view below (taken in the 1980s) looks northward on the Mut precinct, which is enclosed by mud brick walls. The area is outlined in yellow. A sacred lake surrounds the Mut temple on three sides, and the site's other two temples, the temple of Ramses III (to the left of the lake) and the temple of Hatshepsut (above and to the right of the temple of Mut) are clearly visible. The Nile is seen in the top left corner of the image; the main temple complex of Amun at the top. Mut's temple at Karnak was first constructed in the Early New Kingdom and was probably rebuilt by Amenhotep III between 1400 and 1360 B.C.E. The temple complex at Karnak was added to, dismantled, restored and enlarged over the centuries by Tutankhamun, Ramses II and III, Nectanebo, Alexander the Great and various Romans.

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Photo Credit: Alain Beloid C.F.E E.T.K.
  Excavation by Professor Bryan and her team will focus on the large area outlined in red and on the smaller locations indicated by the colored arrows. The larger area, roughly 150 by 250 meters is located outside of the original precinct walls. Based on remote sensing done in the 1980s, Professor Bryan's team will be doing both a surface survey and focused excavation to locate structures. This area may have been either residential or an area of domestic dependency buildings (such as bakeries and animal stalls) supporting the temple complex. The red arrows indicate areas where excavation was done in 2001, and where work will continue this season. The blue arrows indicate areas of new excavation this year. Arrow number 1 (red) is the site of the Thutmose III Gateway. Arrow number 2 (red) marks the area on the west side of the first court of the Mut Temple and is the site of a Late Period Gateway. Arrow number 3 (blue) marks the Second Court of the Mut Temple. Arrow number 4 (blue) marks the Ramesses III temple site. The arrows numbered 5 (red and blue) are located on the south side of the Sacred Lake in the area where trenches are being excavated. It should be noted that this photograph was taken during the 1980s and that reeds and grasses have grown up considerably around the Sacred Lake since that time.

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For additional information contact: macie.hall@jhu.edu