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Sunday, January 11, 2009

View showing hoses from pumps.

The trenches that we have set up and are excavating this winter are highly dependent on the dewatering of the lake and the local areas of the work. The team provided by the American Research Center in Egypt keeps the pumps at work and the squares as dry as possible, but this requires constant maintenance. Fraser Parsons, the Project Director, oversees the work, and on site Andrew Bednarski circulates every morning checking each pump. In their absence a team of technicians surveys the wells and pumps and they intervene if necessary. Often a pump stops working for any number of reasons, and here you see one of the technicians fixing and replacing a pump near our crucial B/C, and A/E trenches. We are very grateful for their attentive work.

Fixing a pump.

Fixing a pump.


A view of the west side of the lake and our excavation at the western quay shows that qufti Emad has so far gone down about a half meter in front of the dock. The stone is definitely descending here, and we expect to find more of it below. However, the soil on the north end of the quay is far thicker with organic material and of a less sandy matrix than in the rest of the trench. For this reason it retains the water, and work here, despite the pumps working well, is slow.  There is so much water being drawn up here that is it is certain that we have tapped into an underground channel for ground water. We will keep going down, however, at whatever pace is possible.

View of the west side of the lake.
Examining the soil at the norht end of the trench.

Emily and Jessica taking levels and view of square J1/J2.   Siting for levels.

A view of square J1/J2 behind the Contra Temple was taken when Emily and Jessica were taking levels. Despite the fact that we are working all around the lake, Violaine has been able to locate three points from which to site that can do levels for all the squares. Emily has set up across the lake from her trench, at the southeast. Later in the day Violaine helps Jessica learn to set up the level at the same location, and now they will do their altitudes without additional assistance. From Jay’s photograph of the squares you can see that the workers have moved down the slope. In fact we will be moving them back up and have them take away the fill as we look for the lake edge in the soil changes. 

Violaine and Jessica.

Today Ashley’s boyfriend Michael is on the site for the morning. He is leaving Luxor today to go home, and we are delighted that he can participate with us briefly. Watching Ashley record in her notebook, Michael gets his first taste of the (somewhat less than glamorous) archaeological routine. Then he helps her measure the plaster surface in Trench A Extension, and finally he joins the team in brushing stone fragments to determine whether they are decorated. A good sport indeed!

Michael observing Ashley at work.
Michael assisting Ashley.   Michael brushing stone fragments.

Franck Burgos, Laurent Lecocq, and Chrisptophe Chini.

Today our stonemason Franck Burgos has returned to work in the temple. His team of expert French masons includes Laurent  Lecocq and Christophe Chini who are new to the Mut Temple but have worked with the Karnak Center. We are very excited that they will be helping us to restore the temple foundations and re-erect the columns of Hatshepsut.


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