Today was the last day with workers at the site, and thus the last day of archaeological works in both TT 313 (Henenu) and TT 315 (Ipi). A close relationship between the team members and the workmen is the result of a month of cooperation with the local Egyptian families and best workers in the area. In these last days, it is common to interchange telephone numbers in order to keep future contact, emails, or even postal addresses. It is also normal to have some token of friendship among all of us. In any case, we are all both very tired and satisfied with the large amount of work which has been done.
Today was also the last day for Teresa, Flavio, and Ernesto. Teresa has finished taking measurements and data for the geological analysis of the funerary complex of Henenu. She has also gone through some stone samples which had been collected for study along the archaeological works for its geological identification. Flavio and Ernesto also did very well in their last day of work and finished the 3D scanning of the entire tomb of Ipi up to the upper courtyard. We look forward to seeing the result of their work, which will be crucial for the proper interpretation of the funerary complexes. In the last day we also received the visit of our colleague Patricia Mora Riudavets, archaeological photographer who has just arrived from Deir el Bersha where she has just finished the season with the Belgian team led by Harco Willems.
As it usually happens, it is in the last days of the season when the most interesting archaeological surprises used to happen. The interesting cavity which appeared in TT 313 has been dug down to 158.5 m AMSL., with interesting data about the situation of the monument along the 20th century. Another interesting structure has also appeared in the courtyard of Ipi. Against our scientific curiosity, and being aware of the need to close the site finally on Saturday, we have covered these promising structures until next year. The site will be left on Saturday with many questions whose answer will have to wait until we are back the next season.
As it happens every week, today Thursday has also been the day of payment. This is an interesting moment, which has not changed that much since the work times of our American predecessors of the Metropolitan Museum of New York in the 1920s at Deir el-Bahari. Preparing the payment, the moudir Antonio sit with rais Ali Farouk behind a table, with all the workers gathering around waiting to hear their name. One by one, they are called to the table, where they are given both their agreed salary and a well-deserved tip, in accordance with their hard work. The salary that we can offer is often essential for the economy of the local families. Unfortunately, due to the hard moments that tourism in Egypt is going through, the economy of many families depends mostly on the work of foreign missions in localities such as this one in Qurna. We are happy and proud of having the possibility of contributing to help with the economy of these families, and we look forward to coming back soon. While payment went through, the closing of the season was celebrated. We all sang, danced, and had a very good time altogether, drinking soda and eating very nice Egyptian sweets which Antonio brought for this special occasion.