Today has been the last day of the season. The members of the team which still remain in Egypt went to the site at 6.30. Unlike other days, there were only a few workers, and no archaeological activities could be undertaken. Instead, it has been a day of making order in the magazines, making sure that every find is in its proper place, and taking all the equipment back to the hotel, where it will be stored until the next year. Before closing the tombs, some last season photographs have been taken, which will serve as a record to remember every detail of the condition of the site in the planning of the next season.
Today illustrates what the end of the season means for an archaeological team. On one hand, Flavio, Teresa, and Ernesto left Luxor after a week of intense work. The rest of the team said goodbye, and stayed working on the preliminary report of the season, which has to be handled in before the end of the season, i.e. tomorrow. In spite of being our free day, the team stayed at the Marsam hotel preparing all the due documentation of the end of the season. A list of remarkable finds and preliminary reports of all the different specialists are gathered together. It is time to go through the materials and the information collected along the season, and to start to think about their possible interpretation.
Today was the last day with workers at the site, and thus the last day of archaeological works in both TT 313 (Henenu) and TT 315 (Ipi). A close relationship between the team members and the workmen is the result of a month of cooperation with the local Egyptian families and best workers in the area. In these last days, it is common to interchange telephone numbers in order to keep future contact, emails, or even postal addresses. It is also normal to have some token of friendship among all of us. In any case, we are all both very tired and satisfied with the large amount of work which has been done.
As the end of the season approaches, the last archaeological works are undertaken before closing the site, which will take place on Saturday. The visit of some authorities of the Ministry of State for Antiquities is recurrent in these days, as they also want to make sure that all the last steps of the season are being done according to the permissions and official procedures. Today, we had the kind visit of Mr. Ezz, Manager Director of the Inspectors at Deir el-Bahari, who saw the most relevant finds of the season and ensured that all of them are stored properly until the next season.
After two days of exhausting high temperatures, the morning was pleasantly cool when we arrived at Deir el-Bahari at 6.30 in the morning. Both teams climbed up the hill and got ready for another day of work at the site. Teresa, our geologist, started the day walking on top of the mounting, analysing the geology of the landscape. After getting a good idea of the general configuration of the area, Teresa started the detailed study of the geological stratigraphy in which the funerary structure of Henenu is excavated. The survey of the geological layers started today from the lowermost shaft of the tomb, and will go on up to Henenu´s main entrance.
Today was a very intensive day in almost every sense! In the early morning the heads of the archaeological teams in TT 313 and TT 315 started work as soon as possible to make sure the week was enough to complete their plans. Both teams had opened important fronts in the last days and it is fundamental to make sure they are completed, documented, and closed in the next three or four days. However, the most exceptional event today was the work of Spanish television in the site. With the appropriate permissions of the MSA and the local inspectorate, this television crue filmed inside and outside the tomb of Ipi, focusing mainly on funerary beliefs, the architecture of a tomb, and the mummification and encoffining processes. For the whole day the moudir has been participating in the filming of various parts of the tomb and has explained the various aspects important to the TV people.
Today we worked in every front with maximum speed and intensity. We want to make sure the various units excavated will be closed by the end of the season. Besides, it is the last day of Kelly and Sebastian. Once they go it will be very difficult for us (mainly Sergio and Mohamed) to keep the intensive rythm we have undertaken in the last weeks.
Today it was a busy day for the team in several ways: on the one hand, we were very happy to receive the visit of Gustavo Cabanillas, President of Gaselec Foundation, one of the sponsors of the project. The moudir welcomed Gustavo Cabanillas down the hill and explained to him the nature of the necropolis, the progress of the project, the latest discoveries, and how happy we were to be funded by this foundation. Each of the team members showed him his work, noting how important is the existence of these opportunities of funding to offer the community interesting discoveries, findings, and interpretations. In addition, we also got the visit of a group of young researchers from the IFAO that work in the temple of Karnak. They came together with Abraham Fernández, one of our team members who have not been able to work with us due to the contract he recently signed with the IFAO that will take him to work in Karnak. Mohamed and Sebastian, considering how busy we were with the visits, helped the moudir and took the French group to the different sections of the tombs of Henenu and Ipi to show them the latest works.
Today at 4 AM our moudir and Mohamed Osman accompanied our three members leaving the mission to the Luxor Airport. They have enjoyed a lot and their work has been substantial and important for the progress of the team. In the next months they will work on their respective materials to get the best possible interpretations, understanding, and solutions to some of the most important riddles found in the site. At our return the balloons for the tours around the sites of the West Bank, Luxor and Karnak, already initated their daily routine with the initial launching from the nearby area to the Ramesseum.
Today it was the last day of work in the field for Dina, Raúl, and Jónatan. Our plans to complete the excavation of the opened units in TT 313 and TT 315 by the next days also meant that the responsibles for materials and the expert on epigraphy could finish their work by this week and return home a little before than the rest. Tonight they will travel back to Berlin (Dina), Jaén (Raúl), and Valencia (Jónatan). It has been a pleasure to work with them and we hope to see them back in Deir el-Bahari working for the MKTP again! We celebrated our work together in a farewell dinner the previous day.