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Thursday, January 29, 2009

View of square J2.
In square J2 the work has been different from other squares. Here, directly behind the temple’s central axis we had thought to find the remains of a ramp or staircase descending to the lake. Perhaps we have, but as you can see looking at the east baulk, what remains are strata of fill containing large well cut stone blocks that have fallen down a slope. The west baulk shows a large pit of stone fragments whose floor we have just reached.  Its scatter runs across the trench at its center. The south side of the trench is a dark organic soil that represents the lake bed itself, and thus we do have the zone of embankment and lake edge, but the feature has been disrupted.
Removing the capital.

Hathor capital in situ.
Moving the capital.

Among the stones in the square is a smaller nearly square one, and today it is the focus of activity. It is a Hathor capital from a small column, and Kent comes with Andrew and the Qufti Abdu’s team of workers to remove the capital and place it on a protected mastaba platform. The slow removal onto the palette is repeated as with yesterday’s block, but today no trolley is possible. The men carry the palette up to the mastaba area, and the block is set in place. Abdu shows the true appreciation that he and his fellow workers have for the work they do.

Carrying the capital to the mastaba.
The block is set in place.

View of the Hakoris block.

Back in the second court, Kent has begun the slow task of cleaning the surface of the Hakoris block removed from the west quay. Now you can see what the activity yesterday was all about. This is a very well preserved block, but its surface is coated and will dry gray in color. At least the dirt can be removed now, and the block must be allowed to dry very slowly to prevent salting and to allow cleaning to take place. What we can see so far is that we have the king’s full face preserved and his cartouches; he is shown before Amun-Re of Karnak and the goddess Mehit who is “residing in Thebes”, indicating her guest status. There is still some color on the block, and we’ll see what cleaning can achieve – next season.

Kent begins cleaning the block.

View of the east quay area.
Long view of the east quay excavations.

Jay’s last shots at the east quay area, where squares A/E, A extension/B/C/H and H extension have all been brought together are something to be proud of, I think. We have accomplished a great deal in revealing this large embankment feature, and now it is certain that the Mut Temple’s lake did have a prominent structure that revetted the lake and probably protected the temple at the same time. Surely the size of this structure indicates some role in supporting the peninsula upon which the Mut temple was built. Note that where the baulk has come down there is baked brick on the floor of A extension. This line of brick is heading toward a junction with the baked brick feature in B/C.

This is the conclusion of our site for the 2009 season. We’ll be out here working for another month, and things will change greatly as the columned porch of Hatshepsut goes up. So look for an update sometime later in the year. I hope that Jay’s photograph of the long feature is allowed to keep his shadow. It is an appropriate addition, since his presence is in every image.

The shadow of the photographer in a view of the long feature.


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