title.gif - 2085 Bytes

18th Dynasty Relief Fragment
From the Second Court of the Mut, where we are doing clearance at the base of the north wall on the east side, fragments of statues and relief turn up. Here is a sandstone fragment of the later 18th Dynasty, most likely, showing priests carrying a pole on their shoulders. There are two sets of two priests, one pair on the right and another, less visible, on the left edge of the piece. Their hands are wrapped around the pole. This is part of a raised relief scene that showed the priests carrying the divine bark of a god, perhaps Mut or Amun-Re, in procession in the Temple. The boats were placed on a palanquin, carried by poles, and marched through the courts to bark stations in the interior of the temple.
Remains of a Wall
Down only 20 centimeters so far, J.J. and Fatma have the remains of a large wall on the west side of their new trench. In the foreground it appears to be slightly rounded at the edges, which may be just an accident of excavation, but the bricks seem to have a face. The east side of the square has a bricky surface, but is eroded fallen mud brick, and they will remove it and then continue down. In the near left corner (northeast) yesterday they found the animal figurines and gaming piece. Their pottery is so far a mixed bag, from Late Period back to later New Kingdom, it would appear.
Taking Levels
Fatma taking levels at her square behind the Sacred Lake.
Stretching the Tape Measure
Elaine stretches the tape measure with Violaine (not visible) behind the Lake. Now that we have identified part of the New Kingdom enclosure wall in Elaine’s new square, we will make clearances at 5 meter intervals from her trench to the end of the ridge on the west. This way we hope to expose the mud brick just below the surface and properly plan the line of the wall. This particular enclosure has not yet been mapped on the site, and our excavations have helped both to identify it and to date it, to post mid-eighteenth Dynasty, most likely the reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1352, who expanded the temple and precinct.
Unexcavated Ridge
Along the east side of the Sacred Lake runs this unexcavated ridge, from north to south. An enclosure wall likely lies beneath the surface, perhaps a continuation of the wall we are now tracing east-west. However, within large temples such as the Mut Precinct, enclosure walls were built several times, coinciding with the enlargements of temples or with desires to include more land within the temple proper. An area at the north end, perhaps on a line with our Thutmose III gateway and its enclosure wall’s line may be one of our next places to work, as we try to define the New Kingdom complex.
Behind the Ramessess III Temple
In the rear of the Ramesses III temple, Chuck Van Siclen has decided it is time to dig down in search of possible earlier foundations. He began, beneath an area of loose stone, in pure virgin sand. That sand turned out to go down a meter and a half (about four and a half feet) before stopping at soil. The soil is producing some potsherds that appear to be New Kingdom, but perhaps contemporary with Ramesses III, rather than earlier. Here the workers are still digging down beneath the sand layer.
Samples of Soil and Sand
A sample from Chuck’s sondage of the sand on the left and the soil on the right. Pretty easy to discern, wouldn’t you say?
Measuring the Depth
In the rear of the Ramesses III temple, Chuck Van Siclen measures the hole they have dug through the sand foundation and into the soil.
Looking Down the Hole
A view of the hole dug today in the Ramesses III temple, with the dark soil at the bottom. A bit of sand is still visible, along with the courses of stones (four courses altogether) making up the temple’s platform.
Block from the Ramesses III Temple
A block from the Ramesses III temple shows the goddess Mut wearing the double crown of Egypt. Perhaps she is surveying her precinct with all the activity here. We hope she’s pleased, because when Mut is not pleased, she’s very very dangerous (she’s not often shown lioness-headed for nothing).
Clearing the Second Court of Mut Temple
Our clearance work on the west side of the Second Court of the Mut Temple is proceeding. Although the work takes time, we are finally seeing some cleaner and neater surfaces against the north wall. Tomorrow we will begin to move the broken Sakhmet statues from their present (incorrect) locations into the middle of the court, so that we can clean the area beneath them. We will then begin to rebuild the area next to the wall to the height of the stone pavement of this court in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (preserved in number of locations we’ve discovered during this clearance). Following this we will build podia, to be covered with impermeable material, upon which we will place the Sakhmets, so that they are protected from the erosive ground waters.

Next Day

Previous Day

Return to Hopkins in Egypt Today 2002 Home Page

© The Johns Hopkins University 2002
For additional information contact: macie.hall@jhu.edu