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Brushing Pottery Pieces
Yasmin has found pieces of a jug and is beginning to brush them to see what they look like. Her trench at the west gate of the first court has given us Late Period pottery throughout, since the date of the actual gate is Twenty-fifth Dynasty, ca. 700 B.C.
Pottery Pieces
The pieces of Yasmin’s vessels laid out reveal the makings of a nearly complete pilgrim flask. Thanks to Jay, Yasmin got an early start on how the pieces will go together, and tomorrow, after we get some glue, we’ll be trying to put it together.
Working on the New Trench
J.J. and Fatma have just laid out and started a new 5 meter square to the east of our other areas behind the Sacred Lake. The workers have evened up the ground level and are just beginning to take off 10 cm when mud brick wall emerges in the southwest part of the trench. The rest of the day saw little new brick in this area, but plenty of pottery.
Cleaning Out the Storage Unit
At Elaine’s square behind the lake, Violaine works with the trowel to clean out one of the storage type bins we have. Now that we’ve had a chance to look at this area for a bit, we realized that we have at least four of these round installations, and inside there is a good bit of charred material, as well as charcoal. We are now considering whether we have kilns or ovens. Since we are in a larger than single-home environment, we may have temple dependencies for the early New Kingdom. We will take it slowly, but this could be exactly what we came to look for here – the connection between temple and town.
The Storage Units
Elaine’s storage units are being emptied slowly. The trowel and brush indicate the means of working on them. As said in the caption for the last picture, there are charred remains here, even on the stones inside, and there is a floor to the bin much higher than that of a true storage vessel. Violaine suggested that this might be a kiln, and that would mean that the other three we have right together with it could be as well. However, if not a kiln, then an oven is a possibility, since we would expect to find bakeries next to the temple. However, so far we do not have large numbers of bread molds that you might expect if we were in a bakery area. Nor do we have pots left aside because of poor firing in a kiln. In other words, we don’t know yet….
West Gate of the First Court
A beautiful end of day shot shows Yasmin’s trench at the west gate of the first court of the Mut temple. Soon we’ll be at one level all the way across and ready to go down beneath the level of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty gateway. Will we get a hint as to how the priests approached the Sacred Lake in the background by way of this gateway?
Moving Sandstone Blocks
On the east side of the Second court of the Mut Temple we are clearing the areas near the courtyard walls in preparation for restoring and re-sitting the Sakhmet statue parts in the area. We want to understand the architecture of this courtyard, before we place the Sakhmets back up against the walls of the court, but we have encountered large blocks of sandstone that do not belong where they now rest. Today we brought a pulley and apparatus from Karnak Temple to raise several large blocks and place them back on the pylon from which they likely derived. Here are the workers beginning this process – which can be somewhat nerve wracking and always exciting.
Swinging the Block
The pulley having raised the block to the level needed, the men begin to swing it toward the pylon where we hope to replace it.
Pulling the Block Onto the Pylon
Soon the workers maneuver the block onto the pylon, pulling and straining together to the amazement of all who watch. When we see this means of moving monumental objects, we know that these are the people who built the Pyramids and could do it again.
End of the Day Behind the Sacred Lake
An end of day shot at Elaine’s two trenchs behind the Sacred Lake. Already in the new west square there are huge walls, at a much higher level than the walls in most of Elaine’s area to the east. We’ll talk about this tomorrow, because it has brought us new things to do, even further to the west on this higher ground.

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