Yesterday night, our moudir returned from Cairo with a positive –though not definite– solution: although we have not received yet the security clearance of 2018, the Ministry of Antiquities has allowed us to renew the security permissions from last year, which allows those included in the previous permission from 2017 to work now. As soon as we get the new security clearance the rest of the members will be able to get incorporated into the team. The first sectors to be visited today were Ipi and Henenu. Tomorrow is Friday (ergo, holidays), so we will have to wait for Saturday to continue with the excavation works in both tombs, and initiate our research and work in the tombs of Dagi (TT 103) and Djari (TT 366). The MKTP members are going to face a very intensive work in both tombs with the study of their architecture, geology, and conditions of the decoration therein for protecting the rich paintings and revealing one of the oldest mortuary gardens in pharaonic Egypt.
Early in the morning, the moudir met the General Director of Upper Egypt, Mohamed Abd el-Aziz, the general secretary of the West Bank, Ramadan Ahmed, and the General Director of the West Bank, Fathy Yassim. With these authorities, we complete the process of approvals initiated in Cairo. In addition, we have been able to know the inspector appointed by the Ministry of Antiquities to our site, Dr. Alá Hussein, who has worked for many years in the area known as “the tombs of the Nobles”. He is currently supervising a very interesting project of excavations in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, particularly with the archaeological excavation of Djeser-ka-re-seneb (TT 38) and Nebseny (TT 108).
While the moudir was dealing with the meeting with local authorities and our paperwork, the rest of the team started to prepare the materials for our first day of work on Saturday in the tombs of Deir el-Bahari and Asasif. The head of each sector knows well what the team needs for its work, so the selection of materials has been arranged by team and sector. They know what material is needed for archaeology, epigraphy, conservation, survey and study, so in this way it has been easier to select and prepare the material for Saturday.
After finishing with the documents –and considering that it was lunch time– we had a quick lunch in the Marsam together with Ramadan Ahmed and our inspector, Dr. Alá Hussein, with whom we could exchange ideas, plans, and research questions. Rais Ali Farouk and his brother Omar, also a rais, came to this lunch to enjoy the meeting with “the big group” of the MKTP.
In order to make sure we have everything ready for Saturday, the authorities allowed us to open the tombs of Henenu and Ipi in the early afternoon, although we only got time to see one of the tombs. It will be on Saturday when we will be able to start working hard on both tombs, the East, and in the tombs of Djari and Dagi in Asasif.