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Hopkins Team Group Shot
The Hopkins team hits the field ready to work and accompanied by a few additional workers. From left to right, lower, is Daniel Shay, visiting from the National Gallery of Art, Violaine Chauvet and Fatma Ismail. From left to right, upper, is Christina Mattin, Sandra Fischetti, Scott Rufolo, Elaine Sullivan, Elizabeth Waraksa, and Betsy Bryan
Opening the Magazine
At the beginning of our season, the magazine must be opened. Since last February it has been bricked up to protect equipment and pottery. Here one of the workers uses an axe, or “turia” to break down the wall. A symbol of our new work at the site.
Touring the Site
Elaine Sullivan, Elizabeth Waraksa, Violaine Chauvet, Fatma Ismail, and Scott Rufolo walk through the gateway to the Mut Temple on a first tour of the site for this year. Elaine, Elizabeth, Fatma, and Scott are working here for the first time.
Demonstrating the Use of a Plumb Bob
Violaine Chauvet, our Field Director this year, demonstrates the use of the plumb bob as she prepares to once again lay out her excavation trench.
The Gateway of Hatshepsut
Violaine Chauvet describes the work at the gateway of Hatshepsut (ca. 1479-1460 B.C.) to, from left to right, Sandra, Christina, Dan, Elizabeth, Fatma, Scott, and Elaine.
Clearing the Site
Our first task this year is to clean up the site, and that means particularly removing the halfa grass and camel thorn that has grown up within the temple. These plants are particularly of concern, because they often push up within stone blocks and cause further cracking of already heavily eroded carved stone surfaces.
Taking Notes
Scott Rufolo is overseeing work in the second court of the temple this year. As he prepares to lay out a trench on the west side of the court, Scott is busy taking notes about what he sees in the area.
Second Court of the Temple
The Second court of the temple, where we will open a trench to look for signs of earlier foundations. The west side of the court is in the foreground, and here the workers are clearing the recent vegetative growth. Tomorrow we will lay out a trench some 5 by 7 meters in the area now being cleaned.
Discussing Plans
Scott and Violaine discuss plans for their respective areas as they sit on the west side of the second court of the temple. Today is a time of thinking and planning, and of course everyone thinks exciting new things will emerge very soon. Only time will tell, but the experience is wonderful in any case.
Cleaning the Gate
Fatma and Sandra are working to clean up the western gate of the first court of the temple. This gate was excavated last year, and now we will continue work in the area. Fatma and Sandra are carefully scraping the trench with trowels in order to straighten the walls. The work with trowels also heightens the contrast in the color of the dirt so that stratigraphy is easier to see.
By the Sacred Lake
Elaine and Christina (a hardworking volunteer and member of the Hopkins Board of Trustees) are supervising the cleaning of the area behind the sacred lake. Tomorrow they’ll begin excavating again in the area we worked last year and will also oversee laying out two new trenches in this region.
Checking Elevations
Elizabeth sights through a level as she and Violaine check elevations on the west side of the site.
Leaving the Trench
After their busy day of cleaning, Fatma and Sandra are just about ready for a “before” photograph of the west gate of the first court of the temple. Jay VanRensselaer snaps them just before they leave the trench for him to make a formal photo.
The Sacred Lake
About two months ago there was a brush fire around the sacred lake, and this burned away the forest of reeds that made the water so hard to see last year. Here you see the charred remains, mixed with the bright white salt that is left when water evaporates from the lake. You can also see the green shoots of reeds beginning to grow again – a harbinger of things to come. We hope to be able to address this ongoing problem with the lake very soon and will keep you posted.

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