Again, we have worked one more Friday to make up for the lost time when we were waiting for the arrival of the permissions. Work today was very intensive considering that the local workers agreed to leave at 11 AM to put an end to their day and to be able to attend the religious services at their nearby mosques. Our local workers play a fundamental part in our research and constitute the human group that really deals with so much excavation material, transportation of large amounts of sand and debris, and with all the discoveries with which the experts work every day. On Fridays, due to the religious services, this deserved break comes after a short session working for the MKTP colleagues from 6:30 to 11:00 AM. This little effort implies a higher salary that they appreciate a lot and for which “they do not lose sleep”, their smiles, and good mood. We also appreciate their efforts because with their willingness to help we can make up a little bit for the lost days at the beginning of the season.
In Asasif, the activities of the MKTP at the tombs of Djari and Dagi have increased dramatically in the last days: while our conservators discussed the most immediate methods to protect the tombs and the long-term plans for the reconstruction and conservation of the tomb, Antonio has conducted an initial examination of the inscriptions in the tomb of Dagi. These texts reveal the prestigious position of this official in the court of Mentuhotep II and in addition they provide more particular details of his life, such as the name of his mother (Maatnemti). These minor details could be fundamental in future investigations on, for instance, the genealogical relations of this individual and others in the Theban court in the late Eleventh Dynasty.
While several activities were conducted in the other sectors of the concession, in the complex of Ipi Mohamed Osman supervised the excavation conducted by 50 men at once in a single square. This would allow us to be done with this area of the excavation in a single day. The square measured 5 x 5 m and was excavated a meter and a half in depth, taking four hours of our working time. This task, which was carefully supervised by Mohamed and our inspector, Dr. Ala, was conducted with much accuracy and caution, with the incorporation of the object registrar in Ipi´s tomb, Raúl, to make sure everything was properly identified, catalogued, and stored. The decision to complete this square as soon as possible was taken this morning since it is crucial –for a better understanding of the area– to get the information therein and use it for our interpretations. Besides this archaeological task, today Raúl has worked together with Salima Ikram on the analysis of further findings from the mummification deposit, such as the natron bags and textiles. They have used innovative techniques, such as the ultraviolet lamp, to detect ink tracings, inscriptions, and stains that might be undetectable by the human eye.