Today was time for the members of the archaeological expedition of the UAH and the Middle Kingdom Theban Project to travel, dream, and get excited about the incoming weeks. The international character of the team caused that our story began in the various cities of the world (Berlin, Cadiz, Cairo, London, Madrid, Seville, Valencia) and our members had to travel thousands of kilometres up to Cairo, where they have met and travelled together in the 10:30 PM flight between the capital and Luxor.
The moudir (“director”) of the expedition travelled two days before to Cairo, where he had to pick up the documents and permissions of the Permanent Committe and the National Security. These documents must be signed and stamnped in the central office in Cairo and later they must be presented in the Luxor Office at the local office of taftish in the West Bank. Without these documents, the expedition team cannot show up in Luxor or receive the authorisation of the local inspectorate to start. Once they are issued, the director of the Luxor can decide the inspector who will be assigned to the mission.
While the rest of the team members was flying, Sergio and the moudir got access to the storage of the MKTP and started to prepare the various materials, devices, and tools for the team. In the storage they found the remaining items from last year, including office material, conservation stuff (chemical components, brushes, knives, cutters), archaeological tools for the excavation (brushes, boards, bags, small picks, compasses), tools for the local workers (hampers, shovels, picks, scrapers), articles for team security (glasses, gloves, helmets, cords), and tools for investigation and study (printer, scaner, projector), as well as the total station Leica and the tent (“haima”), which was used last season in the courtyard of the complex of Ipi (TT 315).
Most of the team members arrived to Luxor airport around 23:50 h. Their way out from the luggage area took some time due to the traditional inspection that the customs officials use to undertake with archaeological missions, easily recognizable by the numerous boxes, larges packages, and huge luggage of their members. Sergio, Antonio and our driver were a bit anxious since they wanted to leave quickly. They knew that the team members would appreciate a simple welcome and a fast trip back to the hotel so that they could sleep a few hours. Once all the luggage was laden, our van headed to the hotel where the rooms were ready for the travellers.
Regarding the materials brought by the members of the MKTP in their luggage, it is clear that the team did not want to lack any office material, device or archaeological tool to make a good job. To all these materials, one has to add the countless packages of plastic bags for the objects, as well as the common boxes of plastic and cartonnage to store the findings. As concerns technology, new devices are to be incorporated to our list of helpful items, such as the Leica total station, the “distos”, theodolites, a 3D scanner that will be brought by the architects of the UAH, a Nikon Camera D750 with two high-quality camera lenses, two new computers, and hard drives for the two operative systems in the team, PC and Mac. This year, due to the fact that we are going to work also in the complex of Henenu (TT 313), another “haima” will be assembled to offer a comfortable work space in the area. Both haimas will be decorated with the logos of the University of Alcala and Middle Kingdom Theban Project. If we include the official clothing of the team with jackets, t-shirts, and hats with the logos of the project and the sponsors, we can say that each member has carried an average of 50 kilos. We hope all these materials help us to have a productive season.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and its Permanent Commitee, University of Alcala, Freie Universität Berlin, Fundación Gaselec, Fundación Palarq, Marsam Hotel, Egypt Air Mindhouse.es, the community of local workers at Qurna, the local inspectorate, and many other institutions, companies, foundations, and associations… We do not want to conclude this initial post without expressing again our gratitude to the people, institutions, and companies that facilitated the beginning of this season, and enabled us to turn up in the Middle Kingdom site of tombs at Deir el-Bahari. We hope to respond to this confidence, support, and consideration with work, determination, and enthusiasm for the next thirty days of work.