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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Removing the plastic covering.

At Jessica and Emily’s trenches behind the Contra Temple, work begins with removing the plastic placed on the stones over night. The plastic retains the moisture for the drying stone and retards salt formation. The workers are in square J2 where we continue to work in homogenous fill – that is, dirt that is not stratified and must have been dug up and replaced at least once since its original deposition. Still, small fragments of decorated stone continue to emerge from even this type of environment – as we also see in Trench H where Ashley works. Jessica is handed a stone piece which carried part of a kheker, a stylized vegetal motif used to create a frieze above scenes in temples and tombs. This element still has paint on it and will be recorded in the notebook and then handed to Hiroko and Ghada for conservation.

At work in square 12.
Jessica holding a stone fragment.
Close view of stone fragment.

At the western quay.

Over at the West Quay, Violaine, Betsy, and Andrew have gathered to look at the wet area. We have not been able to work here for the past couple of days, due to water that spilled into the square from a new well set near it. We will no doubt continue to have difficulty working here due to the large amount of water flowing under the ground and the differing porosity of the soils. We are aware that there is stone beneath the area we have reached excavating, and that stone is probably forcing the water in specific paths. As we discuss the issue we resolve to continue to try to reach the lowest level of stone at the quay.

Discussin the water issue.
At the western quay.

Franck and Betsy in discussion.
Rebuilding the temple porch.

Working on the wall.

Franck and Betsy discuss the columns from the porch of Hatshepsut. He and his team of stone masons will begin the reconstitution of these columns soon, and he needs full measurements to order stone. We have finally reached a near resolution for this, so the order will be made today. Meanwhile, Franck’s regular team, including the fine mason Ramadan, are completing work on the rebuilt east half of the Mut Temple’s front porch wall. Due to the poor condition of the sandstone blocks, many that were undecorated were discarded after dismantling. The wall was then rebuilt with new stone. Now you see the stone mason Laurent Lecocq “aging” the stone with the chisel. The patterning will make the stone look less different from the older remains, but it will not disguise the fact that the wall has been rebuilt.

"Aging" the stone with a chisel.

Violaine surveys the eastern quay.

Violaine surveys the east quay area near the end of the day. We have the pleasure of her presence only one more day. However, as ever she has brought order and enthusiasm to the whole field team.


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