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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Preparing to move the column drums.
Moving the column drums.
Moving the column drums.


Today, like most days in the field with a good team, has been busy and productive – but today we have also a bit more excitement in the air. We are starting to remove the large cache of column drums buried on the west side of the temple and its porch. The first drums of Hatshepsut’s “porch of Drunkenness” were found in 2004, and now we will remove the largest number of them to date. As we move them and each is turned over we learn whether there is to be a new bit of inscription found, allowing us to define the monument better. Here is a sequence of pictures representing the movement of the first column parts from their positions in situ to the ground outside the temple.



The columns were exposed more than two weeks ago, and we have had time now to photograph them in situ, to draw and plan the area, to measure them, and to consider how to move and place them outside. Lotfi Hassan and Sayed, our conservators this summer, are carefully noting which columns are cracked and should be consolidated before moving. They also help oversee the moving of each piece. Betsy has drawn its excavation find number, also recorded on the area plan, on each column part. As we begin to put the pieces together on paper before reerecting them as a porch, their positions in the foundation will be useful.
Surveying the column drums in situ.
Studying the colunm drums before moving them.



Setting the column drum on a mastaba.
Removing surface dirt from the column.
An inscription is revealed.

Now the first column moved is set upon the mastaba in front of the temple, and its inscription is seen for the first time. Lotfi and Sayed begin to consider the removal of surface dirty immediately, and Lotfi documents the first conservation effort. Jay must love photographing the photographer! By the way, the text on this newly moved column reads, “[a]s her monument for her mother Mut, mistress of Isheru. May she do ‘given life’”.



Excavation is resumed in an older trench.
Sarah in the trench taking notes.

Elsewhere on the site there is also much going on. Sarah has returned to a trench on the east of the temple where Richard Fazzini of the Brooklyn Museum worked many years ago. We are interested in examining the stone foundation on this side in order to compare with the west side where our column foundation served partially to expand the temple’s platform. On the east there is more remaining in situ, and we can see a profile of the temple’s construction. Sarah is documenting the trench and foundation blocks in the area where the Brooklyn mission worked. At the end of the day she reached a brick wall abutting the temple foundation. Now we wish to know its connection to the stone. Jay’s great picture of Sarah shows her sitting in the trench as she takes her notes and makes her drawings.



For more images from today, click here.  

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