Having initiated the day with a brief breakfast at 5:30 AM and the arrival to the site around 6:30 AM (to avoid the usual hot hours at the desert edge), the local workers, our rais, and the team members started by getting together to discuss the main goals of the day.
In the tomb of Henenu (TT 313) workers began with the cleaning of the corridor entrance, which was still covered by some dust and debris. In the process, they found several blocks with painted and incised decoration, a material that was recorded by the responsible for findings in this sector, Jónatan Ortiz. At the same time, Sergio Alarcón and Kelly Accetta established several measurement points by setting up metal nails into the bed-rock. This stage was planned in advanced by both archaeologists and constitutes the departure point for the cleaning in the courtyard.
In the complex of Ipi (TT 315) extensive work has been conducted in different areas. In the upper courtyard, mainly in the eastern and westernmost sections of it, Mohamed Osman began excavating early in the morning. Here, a huge amount of mummy wrappings and textile fragments were unearthed. These wrappings were packed and registered by Raúl Sanchez, who is the Egyptologist responsible for the find registration. Raúl was sitting next to Salima Ikram and her eager assistant Ana Sáez, who had a very intensive morning. Both devoted most of their time to unwrap, measure and document a series of natron bags – small sealed packets of salt which were part of the mummification process– recovered in the previous season.
On Sunday night three new specialists – Eman Zidan, Rawda Abdelhady, and Mohamed Hussein– joined the MKTP team to undertake necessary conservation of the excavation finds, especially of the sarcophagus of Ipi in the burial chamber of TT 315. This sarcophagus yields colourful depictions and funerary texts. The conservation team started with some preliminary tests consisting on applying gypsum strips in the areas where the limestone of the sarcophagus shows breaks and traces of destruction. Meanwhile, the epigraphist Dina Serova started her work on the identification of the texts, a kind of duty that involves the reconstruction of the mortuary beliefs and practices of the elite officials in the late Eleventh Dynasty (ca. 2200 BC).
Indeed, the first day of excavation was so intense and hot that the day flew by and the team members had to return home like the ba-soul of the deceased had to go back to its tomb in search for shelter and commodities.