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Even on weekends

In this week, the work pace at the site has been incredible. Even if we have lost an important amount of time waiting for the permissions and we have some specialists who have been forced to abandon the site without having completed his tasks, we are still satisfied that we could achieve many plans this week. Although it is Friday (weekend in Egypt), the team agreed with the inspector that we would like to work from 6:00 AM to 16:30 h. We also agreed that the local workers should stop by 11 AM so that they could go to pray to the mosque and enjoy the rest of the day. Our inspectors have left the site for 30 minutes to pray at the mosque in the nearby of the temple of Hatshepsut and soon were back to continue with our work. We are very happy to get these two appointed inspectors with us, in special in the case of Dr. Ala, with whom we feel that one can discuss any matter and get much understanding from him. We hope that the entire team, inspectors, local workers, and MKTP experts will be satisfied at the end of this complex season.

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Following the steps of Winlock again

One of the most attractive and exotic aspects of archaeology is the possibility of finding intact structures or contexts, spaces used a few thousands of years ago. One of the duties of an archaeologist is to identify contexts of use of monuments, from their construction to their definite abandonment, including intermediate stages such as the reuse of the monument, robbery and plundering occurring in it, and the possibility that they have been subjected to research in recent times. To a limited extent, the MKTP research has taken a very particular research path, identifying sectors of the necropolis where Herbert Winlock hardly excavated, or following his steps in areas in which he worked intensively, leaving no object, remain, or info behind. In any case, both cases force us to be very cautious in our excavation work, study of materials and findings, and any recent interpretations.

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In the search of another underground chamber and more filming

Today we have initiated the excavation of a new square in the eastern sector of the mid-courtyard of Ipi. In this area, Winlock had already discovered a chamber of which he offered not so much information, except that he included the chamber in one of his plans. We would like to know more about this structure and will be looking for it in the next days. The relationship between burials, subsidiary structures and shafts in this eastern side of the complex is interesting and for sure the excavations of the MKTP will offer more information to reassess the importance of this mortuary monument for Egyptology. Not in vain, in this area one can find the mummification deposit for the visir Ipi, the tomb of Meseh, the papyri of Heqanakhte… and a series of subsidiary structures that we hope to understand and explain more in detail.

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Full steam ahead!

The funerary complexes of Ipi and Henenu hummed with activity today. The team members worked all together, doing their best in order to recover the time lost and to advance in the knowledge of the funerary structures assigned to our project by the Egyptian authorities.

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Both courtyards are all about action

The experience of conducting archaeological fieldwork does not allow to know what object or structure is going to be next! Our case is not different, and the excavation of the two large courtyards in the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315) seems promising. Today, Kelly and Lisa have continued with the excavation of the new squares in the complex of Henenu. The western square has offered some interesting materials, while the eastern one, unexpectedly, revealed the existence of a modern electrical installation in our area, probably for the light system at Deir el-Bahari. We hope to find levels of our interest under this modern construction, mainly dating to the Middle Kingdom up to the Grecorroman period. Regarding our work in the tomb of Ipi, Mohamed has supervised the excavation in the current area of work, where a stone wall –probably post-Middle Kingdom– has been found. In the next days, we hope to identify the context of reuse (habitat, burial, plunder) attested in this square of the middle-section of the courtyard in Ipi´s tomb.

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Discoveries in both courtyards and filming at full speed

Following with the intensive work of this week, at 6:30 AM we have initiated another day in the site with the goal to speed up the excavations in the middle area of both courtyards in the complexes of Henenu and Ipi. In particular, Mohamed has opened a new square in the courtyard of Ipi, where some mixed materials from various periods have been found, including some Middle Kingdom objects on which we will focus in the next days. In the excavations at the courtyard of Henenu (TT 313), Kelly has found some mudbricks that could proceed from a subordinate structure in the area.

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Day of hard work in Ipi, Henenu and with the TV producers

At 5:30 AM we got our breakfast at the Marsam. Half an hour later, we were ready at the hostal entrance, waiting for the two vans that would transport our materials and take us to the site. Today, it has been a special day, although only in part. On the one hand, the MKTP members that could work in the site were anxious and willing to arrive there. On the other, half of the team has not yet received the security clearance and cannot work in the site. While the team members with permissions went to the Theban tombs of the concession, the other group crossed the Nile and went to see some of the most interesting objects of the Middle Kingdom collection at the Luxor Museum and to visit the Mummification Museum. Later they went to purchase some tools and materials for the excavation work that, insha’allah (“God willing”), they will be able to conduct in the next days.

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Ready, steady…

Today most of the MKTP members have focused on the plans, preparations, and nerves brought by the first day of real work in the site tomorrow and the awareness that we only have three weeks to fulfil much. Our meeting with the rais one day before was very important for deciding the schedule, group of workers, and the transfer of materials into the site in the first day. We believe that everything is ready for tomorrow at 6 AM. Most of members have passed this Friday between hours of planning and moments of relax. Some of us have even enjoyed a short walk outside the Marsam.

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Permissions received and the beginning of fieldwork

Yesterday night, our moudir returned from Cairo with a positive –though not definite– solution: although we have not received yet the security clearance of 2018, the Ministry of Antiquities has allowed us to renew the security permissions from last year, which allows those included in the previous permission from 2017 to work now. As soon as we get the new security clearance the rest of the members will be able to get incorporated into the team. The first sectors to be visited today were Ipi and Henenu. Tomorrow is Friday (ergo, holidays), so we will have to wait for Saturday to continue with the excavation works in both tombs, and initiate our research and work in the tombs of Dagi (TT 103) and Djari (TT 366). The MKTP members are going to face a very intensive work in both tombs with the study of their architecture, geology, and conditions of the decoration therein for protecting the rich paintings and revealing one of the oldest mortuary gardens in pharaonic Egypt.

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Balloon ride, RTI and permissions

Early this morning, Patri, Inma and Mohamed left the Hotel in order to make a hot air balloon trip with the aim of photographing, from the sky, the Theban tombs in our concession. Their SD cards came back brimming with astonishing images extremely useful for our study of the archaeological landscape of the area.

MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Recuperando el pasado
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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
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MKTP - Middle Kingdom Theban Project - Patrocinadores - Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte
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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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