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Sunday, January 4, 2009


View west toward temple of Ramesses III

Welcome back to the Mut precinct! But, is this the same place we have been working for nine years? Yes, but just a little different view with some added attractions.  The photo looks west across the Sacred Lake toward the temple of Ramesses III and the village behind it. The lake has been drained of nearly all its water by the team from the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), including Fraser Parsons and engineer Magdy. Areas intended for our excavation trenches have been fitted with small wells holding pumps (two visible in the photograph)  that likewise regurgitate ground water into the lake bed. That water is then moved in channels toward the large pump (towards the rear of the photo) and then is removed from the precinct to the irrigation canal east of the temple. 


Stone quay east of the temple.

The area east of the temple where a quay is located was the site of our work last summer, and here we will continue to work this winter. Wells have been placed both inside and out of the trenches due to the high volume of ground water in this area. We hope to be able to excavate and keep the areas dry to a depth well below that of June and July. The stone and brick walls that we excavated last summer were covered with plastic and secured with dirt over the last months. This retained moisture on the newly exposed stone and prevented the formation of salts on the surface. It did not, however, retard the growth of some green stuff (the technical term) on the brick. We will look into that.


Violaine and Norman laying out a square.

Violaine is back to help us get underway, and today she and I, along with our two photographers Jay (behind the camera as ever!) and Norman Barker (shown assisting) are laying out the squares where we will work during January and February.

At the rear of the so-called Contra-Temple (because its axis is opposite to the main temple and thus is entered from the lake side) we are placing a square on the slope down to the water. Andrew Bednarski who is representing ARCE for our project this season has been checking the pumps and offers to help out and to keep us company. He is a very welcome presence and a fine Egyptologist.

Looking westward from temple penisula.

A shot taken from the temple peninsula looks westward where we are laying out two squares. The western quay may give us some opportunity to dig into the lake in front, and three wells have been placed to facilitate that work.  We have also placed a square on the south of the quay to attempt to find any stone embankment running away from the dock. Here Betsy and Norman are holding the measuring tape as we complete the square.

Betsy holding the tape to complete the square.

Contour Map of Mut Temple Precinct with 2008 Excavation Locations
Above is a contour map of the Mut Temple precinct showing the areas of our summer 2008 work.


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