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In January 2011 Professor Betsy Bryan will return for a another season at an archaeological site in Luxor, Egypt. She is the Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology. Her area of study is the Egyptian New Kingdom (18th to 20th dynasties) spanning the time from 1550 to 1069 B.C.E. The geographic area that is encompassed by the modern day city of Luxor is rich in finds from the New Kingdom, which was Egypt's imperial era of power and affluence. Luxor, on the east and west sides of the Nile represents the ancient city of Thebes and contains the temple complexes at Karnak, Deir el-Bahari, Deir el-Medina and the burial sites in the Valley of Kings and the Valley of the Queens with tombs from the 18th and 19th dynasties. Thebes was the center of the cult of the great national god, Amun.


JHU is continuing work this year at the Temple of the Goddess Mut (pronounced "moot") at Karnak in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. Mut was the wife of the great national god of ancient Egypt, Amun, whose central temple at Karnak is the largest existing religious complex in the world. Mut had her own temple in the southern precinct of Karnak, and the main temple was linked to it by two different paved alleys flanked by rows of ram headed sphinxes. The god Amun's statue was brought to the Mut temple when rituals occurred commemorating the birth of a son to Amun and Mut. That son, Khonsu, a moon god, has his own temple at Karnak as well.
Amun, Mut and Khonsu
Amun, Mut and Khonsu


Since 1977 the Brooklyn Museum, under the direction of Mr. Richard A. Fazzini, has been excavating in the Temple of Mut. The Brooklyn team continues to work in the north of the precinct, including Temple A, the area of the front courts and first pylon of the Mut Temple, as well as in the northwest sector.


For six years JHU worked behind the Sacred Lake of the precinct. Thus far the excavation has identified production areas of the Eighteenth Dynasty (ca. 1479-1300 B.C.), including industrial and food processing installations. Granaries and bakeries of the Eighteenth Dynasty and slightly earlier have been identified, as well as New Kingdom enclosure walls and adjacent workshop areas. Reuse of these areas in the Third Intermediate Period and the Saite era has also been established, such that dates defining the earliest and latest use of the industrial areas have been clarified.

A second target area for our work has been inside the temple itself. We thank the American Research Center in Egypt for its support through a conservation grant of our efforts to preserve the New Kingdom remains of the Mut Temple. In the Second Court of the temple, throughout 2005-2006 two interior walls of the court were rebuilt and conserved by a team of conservators and stone masons. In addition, the decorated and inscribed New Kingdom sandstone and limestone blocks found reused in the temple's platform have been cleaned and conserved. In 2007 - 2008 the many newly found decorated and inscribed blocks of the New Kingdom temple of Mut, built under Thutmose III and Hatshepsut, were moved and placed on display in an Open-Air Museum. Remnants of a porch of Hatshepsut, dismantled before the sandstone building of the same ruler, was found buried beside the Mut Temple, and more of it will be retrieved so that it can be rebuilt. The Temple is a large precinct but we hope slowly to define its New Kingdom form, bringing together the support areas behind the temple with the original religious building in order to better understand the precinct as a living environment, circa 1470 B.C.

Satellite view of Karnak


Courtesy of Google Earth, we have two spectacular views of Karnak and the Mut Precinct.  In the image above you can see the entire Karnak complex.  It is delineated with a solid line around the Mut Prencinct and a dotted line indicating the rest of the area.  You can see the Nile on the left hand side of the image.

The shot below shows a closer view of the Mut Precinct.  The trenches opened through 2004 are clearly visible in the area south of the sacred lake.  We have outlined the areas in the Mut Temple where we have been working more recently.  The rectangular area to the left is where we will proceed with reconstruction.  The outlined area to the right is the location of our Open-Air Museum. The recently-found decorated and inscribed blocks of the New Kingdom temple of Mut, built under Thutmose III and Hatshepsut, have been moved and and placed on display in this space.

Satellite view of Mut Precinct


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