Hopkins In Egypt Today

Work Begins

Work is beginning today. Here's the east end of the front court of the temple, where the Brooklyn Museum expedition is hard at work in the background. In the foreground are Jeremy, Adam, Lori, and Katie awaiting the walk to the back of the lake.

Preparing Implements

Elizabeth Waraksa (left) and Emily Russo are preparing packages for each square supervisor to include pencils, sharpies, nails, masking tape, metric measuring tapes, trowels, tags for pottery baskets, etc. We're almost ready to have Violaine explain the process for the new recruits.

Laying Out Trenches

A traditional shot showing the line of excavation trenches being laid out. This year will be quite a push for us. We're opening eight squares to expose a large horizontal area. Our hope is to connect up the granary remains on the west with those further to the east and learn what is between them. Likewise we hope to understand better the production use and capacity of these food storage and processing regions.

Clearing Grass and Thorn

In the intervening two year, the halfa grass and camel thorn has asserted itself aggressively. The workers are busy with their picks removing these tough plants from the ground and from the mud brick architecture as well.

Elaine's Square

At the south sector of the enclosure, Elaine is back to work and will lay out a new square. Here she is showing Betsy (left) and Katie the work she did last winter, where a stone corniced wall facing remains in situ, with the remains of her brick wall of the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 750 B.C.) running diagonally in the background.

Triangulaing to Set the Square

Triangulating to set the square can be a true opportunity for team work. Here is Violaine (left lower), Elizabeth, Sarah, Emily, and Jeremy all lending a hand to "stretch the cord" (as the ancient Egyptian would say), as well as the measuring tapes.

Distributing the Notebooks   Handing Out Tools

The ritual of distributing new square notebooks. We always buy these in Luxor and look forward every year to the decorative covers we find. This year Adam has Pinocchio! It look like Dina (on the left in the second photo) has Nemo. Here's also Elizabeth handing Emily her excavation tools.

Removing Surface Layer

Work has begun! All the squares are laid out, and the surface layer is being removed. We do not take pottery in this layer, due to its contamination from the constant mixing from foot traffic. In the foreground is Sarah, and in the rear you see Elizabeth, Emily, Lori, Adam, and Katie.

Carrying Dirt to Dump Site

Taken from the west side, looking back at the new squares, the work proceeds quite efficiently. The line of men carrying dirt to the dump site forms a diagonal line in the lower right of the photo.

Dina and Lori

Dina chats with Lori as she oversees her square - for her a new experience.

A Pattern Emerges

Within the first ten centimeters we already have a pattern emerging east to west in the squares. A pattern of light colored soil appears in the first squares and then is accompanied by areas of obvious blackened charcoal. We have seen this before, but now we have it across the entire expanse.

Remains of a Plaster Surface   Close View: Remains of a Plaster Surface

The whitish material in the dirt is the remains of a plastered surface that ran across much of the rear of the precinct, just next to the old enclosure wall. The date of this surface is uncertain, but beneath it in Level 2 is Late Period (post Dynasty 26 and pre-Roman) pottery. Look at the profile of the corner of the trench, showing a visible line of this whitish salty plaster running across the square. It must have represented a large storage floor in Late dynastic era.

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