The inquiry What do you feel when you discover an object that has not been seen by anyone in thousands of year? allows for many kinds of responses, from the often flamboyant and pompous answers to the much more serious and informed replies. Beyond the good vibes and splendour of a significant discovery, the perform of a researcher in a project such as ours requires documenting, analyzing, and assessing the context, nature, and characteristics of the finding. This makes very complicated –even if it seems humanly impossible– to get captivated or let emotions appear. However, any researcher understands and celebrates a good discovery, which in most cases is the result of an investment of time and research, on the one hand, and the collaboration of other people before and during the fieldwork.
Today we have continued with our investigations in the funerary complex of Djari. We are interested on getting access into the subsidiary chamber, though we do need permission from the Ministry of Antiquities and its local authorities in the taftish. It is very clear to us that we must improve the documentation kept for this tomb, its façade and courtyard. No doubt, this structure –which has gone unnoticed by most of scholars publishing plans of the monument TT 366– will provide new information about the architectural typology of this kind of complexes and the ritual activities performed in them. In addition, in the complex of Djari, over the hill where the tomb is located, we have stationed one of the most skillful workers, Antar, who is preparing an enclosure wall for access and protection of the monument that might have been the delight of the ancient Egyptian architects.
Regarding the tomb of Dagi, today we decided to expand the investigation of some stratigraphic units from inside the transversal hall into the outer section; one must consider that in antiquity there was no mid-wall dividing up these two sections, but when the Ministry of Antiquities rebuilt the monument, they decided to build a mid-wall to impede access through them. The cleaning of the outer section of the area in-between pillars has confirmed that the architects designing the monument use mudbricks as part of the eastern section to level the irregular floor of the gebel therein.
Besides this, our expert on stone restoration Miguel Ángel has continued with his work in the funerary chamber of Ipi, where he has identified marks of stonemasons, which could be very useful to understand how the sarcophagus was cut and prepared for this chamber. The weight of this sarcophagus is, approximately, 12 tons.
Regarding the conservation team, today Jaume and Ella worked in Dagi to clean the wall painting fragments prior to their photography. Some of the painted fragments need cleaning to better see the beautiful iconography and texts underneath the thousands of years of dirt. This enables the photography team to capture all their features for future study and publications. Other fragments needed consolidation, which is the application of dilute adhesives in order to stabilize the fragile edges of the mud and plaster.
At the complex of Djari, on the other hand, Reed and Olivia continued testing mortar recipes based on hib, a local clay. They have now tested three different kinds of hib from different sources within the necropolis. Since each type of hib has it’s own unique properties, they are considering the different kinds of mortars they can make. For now they are focusing on one kind of hib in particular for use in Djari, and they have collected a large amount from the source near the tomb, which they are now preparing by hand. This process mirrors what ancient craftspeople probably would have done to source and prepare the material we see preserved on the walls today.