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Removing the Baulk
Scott’s square is placed in the second court of the temple, in front of the platform of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty building. That platform was built out of reused blocks from a courtyard that fronted the temple built by Thutmose III, ca. 1479-1425 B.C. We have been digging in front of that platform, on the west side, because in the 18th Dynasty the earliest temple existed only along the axis of this western part of the present platform. We have been looking for foundation remains of the front court and square pillars from that 18th Dynasty temple and have found a number of indications so far. Today we removed the baulk, or soil wall we left in place in front of the temple, so that we could see how many stones made up the foundations of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty temple and also see, in the profile under that temple, whether indications of the earlier temple’s foundations appear. Here we see the workers removing that baulk, moving from west to east.
Temple Wall with Baulk Removed
Here is the temple wall in Scott’s trench with the baulk removed. You see three courses of sandstone, the bottom one very degraded, even turned into sand in places. Beneath the stone is dirt, a dark brown color. On the left, however, you see a gray material, which is sand, and the layer is quick thick. It also lies at a level whose pottery was pure Eighteenth Dynasty. This sand likely represents the foundation of a part of the earlier temple, perhaps of one of the square pillars that fronted the building, in a line from east to west.
Behind the Sacred Lake
Elaine’s new trench behind the Sacred Lake has produced large walls already, and this is the wall we were hoping for last year. It is the southern enclosure wall of the precinct for the New Kingdom and joins a wall that runs from Violaine’s trench in the northwest, south by the Sacred lake, and then makes a right angle turn to the left and runs toward the east. The ridge you see on the right of the photograph is this wall, and if you look very closely you’ll see an outcrop of the mud brick from it about five meters right of Elaine’s square. This is a great aid to us, because the wall also overlays much of the material we’ve been excavating in New Kingdom layers, so we have some dating assistance as well.
Squares Looking West
Elaine’s squares looking west. In the rear trench is the large enclosure wall, best preserved at the higher elevation on the southwest. Look behind the square a few meters and you see some mud brick outcropping – part of this same wall.
Drawing a New Plan
Scott is beginning a new plan of his square, having gone down another level, the features have changed, and he plots in the ones still visible before showing what is new.
Pottery Find
J.J. and Fatma’s square on the east behind the Sacred Lake today gave us more figurines – yesterday Fatma found the lower half of a fertility figure. Two animals in pottery, both apparently with saddles or something akin, emerged, as well as a game piece, that appears to have the head of a dog.
Ready for Pay Day
Today was payday, and after a trip to the bank that made my purse very heavy, I laid out the money on the dining room table at Beit Canada. Each worker enters the room when Reis Farouk calls his name and receives his pay. A very serious and formal ceremony.
Playing at Beit Canada
Wrestling in the courtyard of Beit Canada, J.J. and Violaine are perhaps vying to see who will carry in the next basket of pottery to sort.
Sorting Pottery
Scott prepares to sort a basket of pottery. This year we are only dividing ceramics into marl and silt, then separating out diagnostics. Our ceramicist will arrive in early February, and we are getting the pottery ready for him, but also learning about it as we do.
Sorting Pottery
Yasmin tries to snip Fatma’s nose, instead of her potsherds. Luckily Fatma turned away. Whatever passes the time.
The Elusive Photographer
We are constantly trying to get pictures of Jay to put up here, since he captures us in every conceivable setting. Today he took a few of himself, so we could use one, but he doesn’t want those candids taken. Just wait, Jay. We’ll get you yet.

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