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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Overview of the five trenches.

We are now working in five trenches, named temporarily A, B, C, D, and E. The first two aimed to better define the large stone structure which we consider to be the east quay of the lake. From these, A and B, we have seen stone walls run north and south, and in B, also significant baked brick structures that are over and under mud brick walling. Trench C is directly in front of the stone quay and there we hope to see the bottom course of stone and more particularly what it sits upon – i.e., a lake bottom from some particular time. We cannot assume that the lake depth and height was consistent in antiquity, due to inundation variation, river course changes, and lake silting. Trench D is an extension from C and is intended to look at pure lake bottom and to evaluate it for sediments and evidence of depth changes. Finally, Trench E is a southern extension of A where we had stone north to south across the trench, and we wished to see whether it continues southward. Violaine is nearing the completion of her drawing of the baked brick in B, and then we will begin to remove it layer by layer, recording as we go.

Violaine working in Trench B.
Violaine working in Trench B.

Trench E.
Qufti Abdel-Aziz at work.

In Trench E, we are now at the level of the top of the stone line that adjoined from A. Qufti Abdel-Aziz begins to show lightness in the soil, then scattered stone as he clears, then by the end of the day, the top of stones across most of the trench. We are very pleased to see that this wall continues running south from the quay. Ashley and Shaina go into the square to measure and sketch the pattern.

Exposing the stone.  Ashley and Shaina take measurements.

Hiroko and Betsy in discussion.      A rare shot of Jay.

Now that we are set up with a wet conservation station, Hiroko and I discuss plans for larger scaled objects pulled from the lake. We will need a tank, perhaps, but at least the hose can be moved if need be. Jay is leaving us today, and our replacement, Will Kirk (holding the camera already) snaps a rare picture of our amazing photographer. Thanks Jay for another set of incredible pictures of Mut! Will was with us on our trip through Egypt this past winter, so you have seen his photos before. He works with Jay at JHU, and we’re delighted he could come out.

Removing the layers of brick.
Checking the bricks for inscriptions.

Violaine having completed her drawing in B, Ayman begins to remove the top layers of brick which are then set beside the square. Shaina and Ashley carefully brush each brick removed to make certain that there are no stamped inscriptions or marks on them.

In Trench C.  Another line of baked brick appears.

In front of the quay in Trench C, qufti Emad has another line of baked brick, running roughly parallel to the feature in B but about a meter and a half east of it. This is at a far deep point, however and indeed forward of the stone dock.

Hiroko cleaning materials.
A small piece of decorated sandstone.

Hiroko cleans and treats any of the materials we remove from the highly damp lake environment. Even small decorated fragments of sandstone can be carefully conserved as you see here – as well as metal objects, such as this beautiful small figure of Osiris found in Trench E.

Small figure of Osiris from Trench E.


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