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Walking to Work
As the day begins we walk the ancient processional path that led from the road connecting Karnak and Luxor Temples to the Temple of Mut. Elaine and Scott with the rest of the group in the background stroll toward the temple gateway in the beautiful early morning light.
Taking Altitudes
Fatma looks through the viewfinder of the level as she works with Violaine to take altitudes at the gateway to the first court of the temple.
Examining a Fragment
Fatma Ismail and Yasmin El Shazly are working together at present and here are examining a fragment of decorated sandstone. Their trench is the westward extension of the doorway to the first court of the temple.
Relief Fragments
As we clear the area next to the north wall on the east of the second court of the temple, many fragments with relief decoration and hieroglyphs are emerging from the ancient fill. Three fragments appeared with parts of feathers and appear to belong to a single composition. Here are two of those fragments. The original scene would have shown a line of feathers beneath which was the name of the ruling king. Unfortunately we do not have his name and can only wonder at the moment.
Fragment with Framed Doorway
The east side of the temple is bringing a number of inscribed fragments to light today. Next to the lower part of a Sakhmet statue this piece was found. It shows a framed doorway with papyrus leaning toward it on the right side. The door may have held an image of Hathor, here equated with the goddess Mut. This monument may have been dedicated in the Ptolemaic era (ca. 330-30 BC).
Drawing and Measuring Fragments
Scott Rufolo, working on the west side of the second court, has found a number of fragments of Sakhmet statues, used as fill beneath the pavement of the 7th century BC temple structure. Here he draws the fragments and makes measurements before storing them together in case we can piece any together.
Mudbrick Walls in Excavated Square
In Elaine Sullivan’s square the mudbrick walls have continued to go down as we dig. Here, in a view from the west, the middle of the trench shows a wall running north-south which is now preserved to the height of three bricks. Another wall behind it, running northeast to southwest, is likewise is in fine condition. If you look closely in the foreground, left side, you might see the round traces of a circular feature – perhaps a pit which will emerge in the next level.
Uncovering a Sakhmet Statue
BIG NEWS! In clearing next to the north wall of the second court, on the east side, we have found the head and shoulders of a Sakhmet statue. If you read the website last year you know that Sakhmet was a lioness headed goddess whose name means “the powerful one” (in the sense of magic and otherwise as well). Sakhmet was associated with the goddess Mut, both of whom were capable of bringing both good and bad fortune to the world. The Temple of Mut at the moment contains more than 220 lifesized statues of Sakhmet, while museums around the world hold several hundred more. In the mid 1800s, Auguste Mariette reported more than 450 statues in the temple precinct, and these were set in rings around the temple and within the courtyards. This year we are hoping to restore a number of the broken Sakhmets on the east side of the second court, following the work of the Brooklyn Museum in the first court over the last several seasons.
Examining the Sakhmet
From left to right, Reis Farouk, our Inspector Ahmed el Araby, and Betsy Bryan, look over the Sakhmet just as it has been removed from its find place. Reis Farouk oversaw a team of men who had to remove hundreds of pounds of other stones before they could take out the statue. A job exceedingly well done.
The Goddess Sakhmet
The goddess Sakhmet, removed from her place of “sleeping”, as Inspector Ahmed said this morning. She is 56 centimers in height, 44 wide are the shoulders, and 41 deep across the muzzle. Perhaps we can locate the lower half some time.
Posing with Sakhmet
Christina Mattin shares a moment with Sakhmet at the end of the day. (We finally got Christina to take off her hat!) Good fortune for us all now.

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