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Sunday, January 21. 2007

Aerial view of Mut temple

So much happened during 2006 that we are working to catch up with ourselves this winter. This aerial kindly photographed by the Franco-Egyptian Center at Karnak in the fall of 2005 has been cropped to identify the temple from the Second Pylon to the rear. Due to the angle, there is flattening of the perspective, and the temple looks far shorter than it actually is, but it is still a crisp image. In red I have identified the area where we are now doing some excavation.

Mastaba with additional columns
In 2004 we found columns of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III buried as foundation material in this room that we designate West 1. In the image of the tented mastaba you see some of the additional columns that emerged from behind the first ones during the 2006 season. In the other shot you will see that we still have columns in situ beneath the front wall of the main temple area. Indeed we also have them in the ground behind that wall, and they may continue under the west side of the temple. These columns formed an earlier porch of Hatshepsut that was taken down and dismantled no later than the reign of Thutmose III. It was quite large. In order to retrieve the remainder of the columns, we will dismantle the poorly preserved wall you see above the photograph label. The work we will do over the next weeks will clean the surrounding area and prepare a level corridor to the west of this room so that when we begin to move blocks (with expert assistance) the blocks will move as short a distance as possible on the winch and will then be carted to a temporary location. The wall will later be reconstructed to be more stable, after the western foundations that have been undermined over time, have been rebuilt.
Wall above remaining columns


Chuck Van Siclen, Betsy and Violaine    Excavation of mud brick wall

In the meantime, at the front of room West 1 we are clearing the pavement placed under the columns when this foundation was put in. In front of this and just behind the front (north) wall Chuck Van Siclen and I have excavated for two days and already found an east-west mud brick wall that mirrors one we found last year on the east end. We need more time to define its date, but it is earlier than or contemporary with the Hatshepsut /Thutmose III foundation.


Violaine taking measurements       Violaine mapping area
Violaine continues to create maps of this same area, using several layers of tracing paper to represent the blocks at different elevations between the ground and the wall height. She is leaving to go back home to teaching after tomorrow, but she will return to us in June.


Betsy, Dr. Ibrahim Soliman, and Inspector Fawsy
The Director of Antiquities for Karnak Temples, Dr. Ibrahim Soliman stopped by to visit today and to see our plans. Here you see him together with our Inspector, Fawsy. Please note, for those at home, that I am wearing the Orioles hat that my husband bought for me with strict instructions to “put it on”. I will also add that the vivid orange color can likely be seen on Google Earth any time now.


Katie and qufti Salah conversing
Katie and qufti Salah conversing
Katie and qufti Salah conversing
Katie and qufti Salah conversing
Katie and qufti Salah conversing
Here is a sequence we just could not resist showing you. Katie is overseeing the leveling of the area at the rear of the temple, marked with a blue line on my first aerial photo. Here she is having an exchange with her qufti Salah. We decided to ask those of you who look at our website to see if you can figure out what the conversation is about.

For more images from today, click here.

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