A Foggy Day (in Luxor town)
Today was a misty day in Deir el-Bahari, which combined with the hot Egyptian sun made us sweat a lot! In the tomb of Henenu Sergio and Kelly decided to start a new trench in the northwestern corner of the courtyard. After the largest stones were removed and the digging started, an old newspaper –which was probably written and read in the time of Winlock appeared in the area. Also fragments of a heart scarab were unearthed. We hope to find more fragments to be able to read the hieroglyphs and assign a date to the object. Up till now a provenience from the Middle Kingdom period seems possible. Apart from this, the drawing documentation of the northeastern corner with the alabaster vein was undertaken. For this purpose, Kelly and Sergio used measurement tapes reference.
Gone with the wind!
Today the work in the tomb of Henenu continued successfully. However, the day started with the dismantling of the haime therein, since the wind put it down in the previous night. Once it was assembled again, we continued our work there. Kelly was in charge of the excavation of the north-eastern corner in the courtyard, while Sergio was taking measurements with the total station and documenting the rubble pile in this area. Jónatan, who as usually was processing the findings coming from the trench, was assisted by the archaeologist Hazem who was drawing the incised and painted relief fragments found a few days ago. Apart from this, the front entrance of TT 313 finally received a new matting to protect the limestone floor.
Day off (for a few hours only…)
After some conversations due to the amount of work to be done this week, today the team members sacrificed part of their weekend and got a few hours off so they could recover from the hard work, get ready for more, and explore the surrounding sites in western Thebes. Some members chose to rent some bikes while others took a taxi to visit the famous Valley of the Kings. On the way to the valley we passed by Deir el-Bahari and caught a glimpse on our tombs TT 313 and TT 315 located up the hill, easily recognised now by the two white tents set up in both courtyards.
Exploring the unknown!
In the daily routine of archaeological work in Egypt, the arrival of basic tools, requests or items make it a big difference. Today a new wooden shelf for the tomb of Henenu arrived and all tools were finally stored safely in an organized manner.
Work at Henenu´s tomb is about to start!
Today our local workers started by cleaning the section of the façade above the entrance of the tomb of Henenu (TT 313). This assignment was not just a request to make the façade look like beautiful but also to prevent small rocks and sand from falling into the excavation area, which finally has been settled.
The curse of the natron?
Today we finally got enough members to produce our first group-photo of the field season 2017 at Deir el-Bahari. Although Salima had to leave the site this morning for university duties and other major colleagues are still to arrive, everyone assembled in the courtyard of Ipi’s tomb wanted to keep a memory of the beginning of the campaign and, in a way, say again “thanks” to the University of Alcalá for providing us support. Besides, it was a perfect occassion since we received the visit of the Chief Manager at Deir el-Bahari, Ezz El-Din er-Noby, and the inspectors Ahmad Boghededi and Omar Fathi, who wanted to know more about our initial progress and plans.
Setting up points of departure
Having initiated the day with a brief breakfast at 5:30 AM and the arrival to the site around 6:30 AM (to avoid the usual hot hours at the desert edge), the local workers, our rais, and the team members started by getting together to discuss the main goals of the day.
Sunday, April 2nd 2017
Finally, this Sunday the great moment arrived and the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315) were reopened again for the new field season 2017. Having transported the required material such as chairs, tables, excavation and drawing equipment up the hill, everyone was sweating and anticipating to start the setup. Former and new members of the mission joined in the upper courtyard of Ipi to observe if the conditions of the excavated site had changed since last year.
Saturday, April 1st 2017
Our first day started with the great news of the reception by fax of our permissions from Cairo. Unfortunately, the previous day the Head of the Foreign Missions Office, Dr. Mohamed Ismail, was too busy to sign and stamp the documents. Waiting for that, our moudir flew to Luxor and waited with some anxiety for the arrival of these documents. The next day, as the colleagues of the MSA promised, we received the permissions in the morning and, therefore, the local administration could initiate the appropriate arrangements. From here, we would like to thank especially Dr. Adel for reciving us on Saturday –non-bussiness day for the administration of the Ministry of Antiquities– and prepare the documents for the next day. Without his help and support we could not have received so quickly an inspector and we could not have been able to visit the site for discussing some of the initial plans for the team.
Friday, 31 March 2017
Today was time for the members of the archaeological expedition of the UAH and the Middle Kingdom Theban Project to travel, dream, and get excited about the incoming weeks. The international character of the team caused that our story began in the various cities of the world (Berlin, Cadiz, Cairo, London, Madrid, Seville, Valencia) and our members had to travel thousands of kilometres up to Cairo, where they have met and travelled together in the 10:30 PM flight between the capital and Luxor.