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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Adam and Sarah oversee work at the trench.
Sarah takes over at the trench.

This will be our last day for the daily reporting. Jay is leaving tomorrow, so we will go back to our tasks missing his candid camera. Thursday will be our last day at the temple this season, and we want to thank everyone once again for all the hard work. First let’s look at Adam’s narrow trench that runs outside along the west wall of the temple porch. It is now producing brick that may line up with the bricks that he excavated early in the season. Adam left this morning at breakfast break, and now Sarah will run this area for another day or two. They have been great, and consequently we have learned so much new.



Chuck overseeing work on the east side of the temple.
Chuck with fragement of a statue.
Faience fragment with lotus decoration.

Chuck is working to clean out pavement on the east side of the temple near where Sarah worked in early June. The debris in this area contained a few statues fragments – including this one with part of a royal name, perhaps Sheshonq if it is from a Sakhmet throne. Sheshonq put his name on a number of the Sakhmets in the precinct. Chuck also found several pieces of faience in wand-like shape. He is holding one with a stylized  lotus decoration on it.



Reis Farouk.

Reis Farouk has a thoughtful moment in the early morning. That is about the only time that we have to consider the site more generally. Take, for example, the lake. Its level is very high at present, despite the efforts to surround Karnak with a piping and pumping system that lowers the ground water table within. The Nile is at its highest in the summer, and the pumping is not matching the river’s rise, so the lower lake level achieved with pumping earlier this spring has risen back and reaches the ancient dock that you see as crumbling white stone across the way. The lake’s water level intermittently is high and low, and this is what has damaged the monuments over millennia. It is not only the height; but also the constant change. This is nowhere better seen than in the stone temple foundations that we have excavated. At the lowest levels the stone was reasonably strong – there it was always wet. At the highest level is was also often fine, but the closer the stone layers were to the top of the water table, the worse the condition in which we found the stone. At those layers the blocks could not be removed when we rebuilt the wall in 2006. They had simply turned into wet sand. So we are hoping for a stabilization of the water levels here, at Karnak, and at Luxor Temple. Cross your fingers.

View of the ancient stone dock from across the lake.



View of the open air musuem.

The next time that we do our Egypt Today our museum display area will be complete. We’ll finish up with it this week and signs will be designed and installed for an inauguration, perhaps in the fall. But meanwhile next winter we will probably have new blocks to conserve and add.



Betsy copies an  inscription.
Betsy copies an inscription.

My task in the morning was to copy the inscription on the rear of the statue we removed yesterday. The right side of the seat is in good condition (this is a granodiorite statue that has unfortunately been exposed off and on to dampness that has destroyed much of its surface), but the rear is badly eroded. After three hours I have gotten about 70% of the partial signs still there, but we should get more after cleaning and with a small mirror to rake the light.

Good-by to all until next time. We’ve enjoyed sharing out time with you. Thanks again Jay, for your amazing photographs!



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