Beyond the determination to fulfill our tasks, document everything and achieve each of the season goals, our work also implies to adapt ourselves to each circunstance and find pleasure in searching for the past in these conditions. In the last days we were so interesed on getting more information about the southern corner of Djari’s courtyard and the recently discovered access to a subsidiary structure that no one listened to the jokes of one of our best moostareens, Abu Saidi, who told everyone around that Amenhotep III Neb-maat-Ra (“Ra is the Lord of Truth”) himself had told him –seating on his shoulder– some great news: “you will find a shaft in the entrance of this tomb”.
Precisely one of the selected photos from Monday shows him concentrated and cleaning the concentration of mudbricks… from which he reiterated, laughing at us, that we were going to find a shaft in his area of work. Said and done! José Alba and Laura, team members who supervise the cleaning of this area –together with Abu Saidi– have found today a shaft that presents some interesting questions: does it belong to the original plan of the tomb of Djari? Have we found a shaft that was build later in the New Kingdom when the monument seems to have been reused? Is it an intact shaft that has not been previously identified or is it a looted burial?
Surely, these questions will be answered in the next days, though we can anticipate a couple of compelling issues: on the one hand, the material that appears as part of the filling in the superficial layers include modern findings (a package of cigarettes Melachrino & Co., a small metalic key, a page from a German newspared from the early twentieth century, etc.), which means that someone must have previously visited this shaft. This does not mean that we found ancient remains such as a large fragment from a limestone sarcophagus or mudbricks that were once used to seal the shaft. On the other hand, however, none of the previous workers in the area (e.g., Winlock, Davies, Roehrig, Kampp) has included this shaft in the plans of the monument, which means that they had not seen it, or they thought it was not interesting enough. No matter the answers, in the next days our team will investigate in detail this shaft, which will for sure offer interesting surprises.
Regarding the work in the tomb of Dagi, the team (Raúl, Jaime and Carmen) has identified an area with a basin for the preparation of the whitish plaster and for the covering of the walls of the monument. This type of finding –which is very useful for approaches such as those of the Material Philology– will help us to understand the way in which the decoration was designed and prepared by the ancient Egyptian workers. We should take into consideration that we have found fingerprints and even a footprint of the workers of the monument, which is a kind of material that requires more evaluation, documentation, and even chemical analysis of the samples from the basin.
Regarding the conservation team, in these days they have been working together with the restorqtion inspectors (Karima, Fatma, Ahmed and Salah) to find the best components and quantities for the composition of morters and plasters. They have created three types of morters, which we hope to employ the next seasons in the consolidation and restoration of the walls and wall paintings in the tombs of Djari and Dagi.