Finally, this Sunday the great moment arrived and the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315) were reopened again for the new field season 2017. Having transported the required material such as chairs, tables, excavation and drawing equipment up the hill, everyone was sweating and anticipating to start the setup. Former and new members of the mission joined in the upper courtyard of Ipi to observe if the conditions of the excavated site had changed since last year.
After having unlocked the door of TT 315, the moudir offered a short introduction to the team members, who were eager to discover their new working place. The door creached after the keys were turned, dust fell from the ceiling and the sun light unravelled the dark interior of the tomb giving way to a deep dark corridor. The team went on, making cautious steps inside, getting access into the very end of the sloping passage towards the burial chamber, which will be the focus of the work by some of the team members, especially conservators and epigraphists.
Meanwhile, in TT 313 preliminary arrangements were conducted to prepare the particular areas of interest and start the excavation properly: setting up the instruments and working material, relocating modern mudbricks used in the previous season, cleaning the courtyard, and taking initial measurements for the archaeological units. For the initial steps in both complexes the moudir wanted to be in charge and to keep an eye on the various processes undertaken within the MKTP concession. Having to supervise two excavation spots that are separated 150 m from each other and are located in a very steep hillside is a challenge. Looking at him this morning, no doubt, he has accepted the challenge!
In addition, from the beginning of this season we have had the honour of working together with Dr. Salima Ikram, who is responsible for analysing the embalming cache of TT 315 located in season 2016 and originally discovered by Winlock and the MMA expedition to Deir el-Bahari. So, after the “haima” was set up in the northeastern corner of the upper courtyard, Salima Ikram –with thre assistance of Ana Sáez and Raúl Sanchez– started to examine the packages containing mummy wrappings, shroud fragments, natron bags, and jar stoppers. Among other items, one of the bandages had a length of more than 4,36 cm, a piece that deserved to be conveniently documented.
As one can perceive from the smiling (and sweaty) faces of the team members, the first day in the field has been a successful preamble and a great experience for all.