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Saturday, January 24, 2009

It’s Saturday and the first day without the students. Yet today promises arrivals as well as departures, since Kent Severson, one of our Conservators for the past five seasons, will be on site soon. This morning Reis Ayman Farouk starts everyone at their tasks. The large quay and embankment appear in the background, now without Chris and Ashley to supervise. Yet the result of their work and that of the quftis and workers is apparent. The baulk between A/E and B/C has been partially removed, and now you can see all along the excavated area of the revetment.

Reis Ayman Farouk
The quay and embankment.   The excavated area of the revetment.

At the south end of H where the embankment is still being revealed the stone has appeared both along the lower courses but also at an upper one. The stones above are laid at a slightly different orientation than those beneath, as is the case with the remainder of the embankment. Whether all blocks were set at the same time with the upper courses indicating stone that was visible above the water and the lower ones angled a bit forward to support the structure, or whether we have the remains of two different eras of embankment remains uncertain.

The south end of trench H.
View of the excavated area.

View of the west quay.

Over at the west quay Chuck’s team has finally reached the bottom of the dock! This is not a pretty square to look at, but Emad Farouk and his team have been incredibly great at slogging through the muck to help us find the lowest level of the quay. We are highly grateful to them for their hard work. At the base of the stone are the remains of broken up baked bricks scattered about. More stone is visible in the east of the trench and descends lower than the quay itself. The indications are, as with the east quay, that several versions existed built successively atop the growing silt in the lake.

View of the west quay.

With this last thought in mind, look back at the brick and stone feature opposite the east quay. This was Chris’ square, (a view from the other side in the accompanying photo) and the extremely well built baked brick feature that abuts the south baulk continues to go down. Yet this wall is joined by a brick one that does not reach the same depth, and that feature joins a stone one with an even shallower base. Here we perhaps see the result of adding to a feature which has been slowly covered with silt. The portion deeper in the inundation soil remained solid but those parts added to it were exposed and have degraded. The slope of the silting lake edge is preserved in the changing bottom of the wall. These angled walls that we have here and (in stone) at the west quay may be a form of jetty that facilitated the maneuver of the sacred bark of Mut.

The brick and stone feature opposite the east quay.
View of the walls in the east quay area.

Laying out the platforms for the portico.

In the second court just in front of the temple’s porch façade, Franck’s team has laid out the first of two platforms that will carry the Hatshepsut portico. The masonry rectangles will be constructed with rebar and brick in order to guarantee their strength.

Examining the columns.
Laying brick in the platform.

Ken Severson helping Franck witht eh columns.
Ken with broom.

Kent Severson has arrived and immediately is at work helping Franck with the columns. Why he has a broom in his hand is a mystery to me, but he has always kept us ship shape, and perhaps that is the idea.

Yasmin, Sherif and Haya pose with Betsy.

A visit today from great friends (and a former student) -- Yasmin El Shazly and her husband Sherif, and, of course, their gorgeous daughter Haya. They are in Luxor for a brief vacation from Cairo. Yasmin, who received her PhD from us in 2007, is now Chief Registrar of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Wow! But, I think she is far more proud of her beautiful family – and rightly so. Please note, both she and Sherif are wearing Hopkins sweatshirts!



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