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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Violaine chats with Andrew.

Today is Violaine’s last day, and we are going to miss her so much! Early in the morning she and Andrew steal a few moments to chat and say good-by for the moment.

A view of Meredith's trench.
View into the trench.

In the morning Meredith’s trench, damp as ever, has still the line of baked brick across it on the east side.  Jay’s official photograph indicates the brick running north to south, but with no other features and little soil differentiation, we may still only have tumble from above the lake’s edge.

Moving column drums.

Franck Burgos and Laurent Lecocq continue the work of studying the stone columns bases of Hatshepsut in preparation for re-erecting her porch. When the last group of column drums was removed, one base section had been left in situ because of its precarious position, but over the last days the space was cleared, and it was possible to remove the column part quite easily. Franck and Laurent have identified the uninscribed drum with which it joins, and viola!

Easing the drum into place.

The move is completed.

Hiroko at work.
Hiroko working on the statue.

Hiroko is drowning -- not in our dewatered lake, but in the small decorated fragments from our lake perimeter excavation.  There is so little room for her and Mme. Ghada to work in, but they keep going. When she has time, Hiroko works on the statue of Ramesses II that we drew from the lake in July. The red granite statue is encrusted with an extremely hard whitish mineral coating, and only long soaking in water softens it sufficiently to allow Hiroko to chip away with a scalpel. The front was largely cleaned last summer, and now Hiroko, wearing safety glasses, works slowly and carefully to remove more of the crust. The statue, although left soaking for six months, is now kept saturated under wet cotton.

Hiroko working on the statue.
Removing the mineral crust from the statue.

Betsy with visitors.

This morning Dr. Ibrahim Suleiman, Director of Karnak Temples and Fraser Parsons, Project Director for ARCE Luxor visit the site to discuss future planning for the lake area. Our excavations will conclude at the end of this month and will have identified much of the extent of stone (or other material) embankments around the lake in antiquity. The stone in question is far too weak and eroded (as well as often not in situ) to leave it exposed all around the lake, however, at the east we will be able to show the line of the revetment wall quite well. During their visit, Dr. Ibrahim, Fraser, and Betsy, together with Andrew and Violaine, discussed the continued cleaning of the reeds, the removal of debris from the temple precinct, and the site management for the lake when the temple is opened to the public.

Betsy in discussion with visitors.

Ashley at work.

Ashley watches her qufti Sayeed work around the east side of the quay area (in the foreground beneath Ashely you can spy new stone that has just been cleared) and gives us a good shot of how this stone feature has successfully been exposed. The stone is strong and clean and will stand up well in the future.


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