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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meredith, Chris, Shaina, and Norman.

Early morning is still chilly here, despite the beautiful sunny daytime weather in Luxor. From left, Meredith, Chris, Shaina, and Norman chat while waiting for equipment to be taken out of storage. Norman is working over at Beit Canada where much of our pottery is stored. He continues the long and arduous task of photographing (digital and black and white) all the pottery from our nine seasons here at Mut. We have kept at it all those years, but it seems never to end. On a later date we’ll be sure to show you Norman in his element.


Andrew is helping out in the mornings wherever we need assistance. He has been working with Ashley in trench H where we are starting a new square. Here we hope to continue to expose the stone embankment found last summer in squares A and E that runs south from the quay. The top layers are stone rubble and dirt, visible in the south baulk of E. The stones are not infrequently cut up pieces of decorated temple blocks, so Andrew and Ashley must look at each one removed from the square. Here you see Andrew measuring and sketching a tiny fragment of granodiorite that has parallel lines carved into it. This will no doubt derive from the throne of a large Sakhmet statue (of which we have literally hundreds) and as such is certainly worth recording.

Andrew measuring and sketching a fragment.
Andrew standing by the trenches.

View of Trench C.
The wall in Trench C.

In trench C, where Chris is working with Gufti Ayman Farouk, the stone of the wall/embankment running north of the quay continues to go down, now in large dressed blocks at the northern end of the square. The upper part of the “wall” consists of small stones placed in a different configuration and paralleling the stone and brick feature to the east in this trench. We are aware that the two layers of stone must represent different time periods, but we suspect too that their functions may have differed.

Chris and Violaine discuss the northern stone wall area in his trench. The decision is finally made that we will remove the smaller stones at the top in order to look at the sealed fill beneath them, and also to determine whether the larger line of stone beneath will reappear when the soil is removed.
Chris and Violaine in discussion.

Meredith overseeing her square.

Meredith’s square on the opposite (in this case southeast) side of the lake has so far produced only heavy organic soil with patches of sand. Very likely this was part of the lake in antiquity, but we have no features as yet.

Hiroko is being assisted at this time by Mme. Ghada, our conservator from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Together they are handling the small decorated fragments that are largely coming from squares H and A extension. Since they were very wet, these often show salt damage, and Hiroko must work quickly to prevent further salinization on the surfaces.

Hiroko and Mme. Ghada at work.
Close view of the fragment.

Shaina’s square is located at the southern end of the temple peninsula, just at the point that the lake turns westward. We are looking for the evidence of a continuing stone embankment here, but the area is heavily contaminated with modern debris mixed with ancient. It will take some time and skill to ascertain the ancient conditions.

View of Shaina's square.
Shaina overseeing her square.

Chris at work in square C.

Late in the day back in square C, Chris has begun the work of removing the smaller stones making up the northern wall in his trench. He records each one before removing (although this feature was completely drawn last summer and photographed as well) and looks for reused fragments at the same time.


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