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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Kent working on shattered block
Reconstructing the block
Close up of the block

A sad story with a happier ending: January 20 and 21 it rained in Luxor in a manner that occurs only about once every five years. Even though we have a tent atop our limestone fragments, the rain nonetheless soaked into the surface of blocks on the site. One limestone jamb retrieved in 2005 from under the floor of the Second Court, was apparently not strong enough to withstand the new dampness followed by sun exposure. Its surface exploded at the bottom, leaving tiny fragments of limestone in an array around the piece. Kent Severson, conservator extraordinaire, began to work immediately to consolidate the remaining parts, and after five days, the result is evident. It will never be the same as before, but the jamb is strong and largely intact.

The block reconstructed

Keli working on tracings

Keli at work

Keli Alberts returned this winter as our principal artist. She has been concentrating on completing the tracings of our column drums, and you see her here at that task. Keli is a careful draftsperson who studies how the glyphs have been cut in order to render them in her drawings. Sometimes the line is difficult to define and even more difficult to suggest two dimensionally. Keli must work out how her drawing will best represent sunken carving, even when the surface has been damaged and breaks the outline of the sign. Believe me; she can do it extremely well.

Keli amid the column drums

Franck and Chuck in discussion

Franck and Chuck discuss plans for removing blocks from the north wall and also for replacing and substituting them. A photo looking east along the wall shows Franck working with his right hand man, Ramadan, as they maneuver a large block, edging it away from its neighbor. Following this exercise, they look to see whether any faces of the block are decorated, and if so, Kent and Hiroko are called over to do emergency conservation before removing the block. If not, the block is attached to the winch and lifted. When necessary, Franck must chisel new stone into the shape of the ancient blocks in preparation for the rebuilding of the wall.

Franck and Ramadan moving a large block
Moving a block

Betsy measuring statue
Royal statue in the Second Court

Betsy has been measuring the large royal statue in the Second Court – again. She is completing an article about the sculpture and is lucky to be able to spend some quality time with the subject day in and day out.


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