Working and learning together

Despite the tiredness after the trip to Abydos, today the activity at the site has been more intense than ever. It is already noticeable that we are at the end of the campaign and we want to make the most of every second we have.

At Henenu’s tomb the excavation of the courtyard continues apace. Several grids have been opened in the upper part of the courtyard. Nisha has been in charge of taking measurements and drawing the profile of one of these grids. Meanwhile, David took photographs and documented the excavation. Iria has been working with the total station, taking points and dimensions. The shabtis also received a lot of attention at Henenu today, as Carmen was drawing some of the shabtis found in previous campaigns while Ella was in charge of the restoration of the most damaged ones.

Just when it seemed that the action of the entire site had turned to Henenu, the subsidiary chamber of the tomb of Ipi has provided another surprise. Winlock documented a shaft located on the Western side of the chamber that Mohamed located this morning. However, the profile seems quite different from the one drawn by the American and, in addition, very interesting materials are being found such as large quantities of textiles, which are already being analysed by Elsa.

Enrique and Manuel continue to analyse bags of bones, separating them into animal and human remains. Today they have been able to locate the remains of birds in several very interesting contexts.

At E1, Sergio and Raúl have continued with the excavation of the chamber. The new strata that are appearing are still quite difficult to excavate due to the numerous rocks (most of them large) that flood the chamber. Several workers are needed to break them up and move the fragments out of the tomb.

After breakfast Sergio stayed at Ipi’s tomb together with Hazem and Didi. The three of them are trying to create a geolocation database to share the information that is being collected thanks to the trimble with Alberto Gonzalez Garcia-Saavedra, a new member of the MKTP who is working with the GIS team from Spain.

As it was Jaume´s last day, he spent his time on site finishing his ongoing conservation projects at Ipi. Lily also spent the morning at Ipi, as she began cleaning up the garland of leaves we found at the entrance to the subsidiary chamber. After breakfast, Reed, Rawda and Lily went to Dagi’s tomb where they documented more fragments from the tomb wall.

In the afternoon at the Marsam, Rawda gave a talk on a new technique that has started to be used in the world of conservation: hyperspectral imaging. Rawda thinks that this technique could be used on the Ipi sarcophagus with good results. Hyperspectral imaging can process information from the entire electromagnetic spectrum and therefore traces of decoration or marks from the artist which are invisible to the human eye might be seen.

In this job you have to be constantly learning new techniques and methodologies to improve. That’s why every campaign we like to have our specialists give us a few classes on a specific topic. We are lucky to have great researchers and we are very fortunate to be able to learn from each other.


Trip to Abydos

On Friday 10th December, the dream of many members of the team came true. After several seasons of trying, we were finally able to make a two-day trip to Abydos.

It was a journey of more than four hours by bus along the desert route. This route allowed us to contemplate the beauty of the Egyptian desert, very different from what we are used to seeing in the Theban necropolis.

As it is such a long trip, we decided to make the most of the day by stopping at the necropolis of El-Hawawish. It is a little-known necropolis where elite members of the fifth and sixth dynasties are buried, located in the city of Akhmim.

Raúl studied these tombs for his doctoral thesis, so we were fortunate to have the benefit of the explanations of an expert in the field. We were all delighted to hear him talk about the funerary rituals that took place in the Old Kingdom and their participants.

We also took the opportunity to quickly visit the temple of Meritamon, the daughter-wife of Ramses II, where we enjoyed the colossal statues of both of these royal figures.

From Akhmim we continued on to Sohag, where we spent the night. There we dined in a delicious Syrian restaurant before returning to our hotel where we played cards and danced and sang some songs. We didn’t stay up too late though, because Abydos awaited us in the morning!

Abydos is located some 91 kilometres northwest of Luxor, in the present-day city of El Araba, and is a site whose archaeological remains extend over an area of around 8 square kilometres. For four millennia Abydos saw everything from the burial of the first Egyptian kings to the construction of great temples, along the way becoming one of the most important religious centres in the country, with Osiris as its main god.

One of the projects digging there is led by American Josef W. Wegner. It is a combined expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University that has been working at the site since the 1990s. Their 2021 campaign had just started a few weeks ago, so we had the immense honour of receiving a guided tour of the site.

Wegner began by showing us the excavations taking place in the southern area. We were also fortunate to have Nicholas Picardo (Harvard University) show us part of the Wah-Sut settlement that is currently being excavated.

We then went to the tomb of Senwosret III. It is an immense complex, more than fifty metres underground, full of passages and impressive chambers. We saw the sarcophagus and the canopic chest, and the internal areas that Wegner plans to excavate in the near future. It was quite an experience and for many members of our team it rated as the most spectacular place they had ever seen.

Afterwards we said goodbye to Wegner and visited the temple of Ramses II, the Osireion and the temple of Seti I. The latter is one of the most impressive cultural complexes in ancient Egypt and we spent at least a couple of hours visiting every chapel, nook and cranny, beginning with the royal list of Abydos!

The trip ended with a visit to Shunet el-Zebib. This is an immense mud-brick complex dating from the second dynasty, the reign of Khasekhemuy, whose function is still debated in Egyptology.

From the processional wadi of Abydos we set off for home. As it was Sergio’s birthday, the trip turned into quite a party, with singing and even attempts at belly dancing on the bus. This did not stop when we arrived at the Marsam because, as always, the wonderful employees of the hotel were waiting for us with cake and their now legendary happy birthday songs. 

It might cost us a bit more to go to the site tomorrow as we are all a bit tired from our adventure, but it was certainly worth it. It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of this campaign.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Recuperando el pasado

El proyecto

El Middle Kingdom Theban Project tiene como objetivos la excavación, estudio y publicación de varias tumbas de la necrópolis del Reino Medio en Deir el-Bahari (Henenu, Ipi, Neferhotep, E1) y de las tumbas de Dagi (TT 103) y Djari (TT 366) en la necrópolis de Asasif.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Ministerio Egipcio de Antigüedades

Con la colaboración del Ministerio Egipcio de Antigüedades y las autoridades del Alto Egipto, Luxor y la Orilla Occidental.

Las tumbas

Las tumbas de Henenu (TT 313) e Ipi (TT 315) se encuentran en la colina norte de la necrópolis de Deir el-Bahari, donde fueron enterrados algunos de los oficiales más importantes de Mentuhotep II y principios del Reino Medio. 

La cámara funeraria de Harhotep (CG 28023) fue localizada en el patio de la tumba TT 314 y constituye uno de los ejemplos más interesantes en arquitectura, iconografía y epigrafía del yacimiento. 

En la planicie de Asasif, las tumbas de Dagi (TT 103) y Djari (TT 366) también representan monumentos a la memoria de altos cargos tebanos del reinado de Mentuhotep II que ayudaron a construir un gran estado.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Gobierno de Castilla-La Mancha
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Fundación Palarq
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Castilla-La Mancha
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Asociación Española de Egiptología
MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Asociación de Amigos de la UAH

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