The discovery of a funerary shaft in the tomb of Djari has added a new incentive to the multiple tasks of these days. After the yesterday visit –and aproval– of the head inspector of the area, Dr. Abd El-Ghany, we have continued with the excavation of the shaft, which originally emerged as a concentration of mudbricks.
The depth of half a meter that has already reached the shaft allows us to think that again –as it happened with the coffin niche that broke into the stela niche of Djari– the transversal hall was reused, a very well-known phenomenon in the area of Asasif where tombs dating to the Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, and the Kushite and Saite Periods mount on each other. In any case, the materials found by the archaeologists indicate that the shaft is not intact. In the southern corner, we continue removing debris to reach the gebel. Once we have documented the entire area, we will be able to dismantle the block of cement at this spot and get access into the structure.
On the other hand, in the complex of Dagi there has also been some news. Raúl, Jaime and Carmen have continued with the final cleaning of the eastern sector of the transversal hall, where they have found out an interesting question: some of the mudbricks used by the Coptic monks in the monastery of St Epiphanius had stamps. These stamps date to the pharaonic times and are partially readable. A detailed study and high resolution photographies (including the RTI methods) will contribute to the documentation and understanding of these features.
Other promising news came from the complex of the vizier Ipi where Miguel Ángel, in his last day of work, has explained to us the sequential steps for the construction of the funerary chamber. Miguel Ángel, who has been one of the few specialists working in this complex together with the inspector of the northern sector, Dr. Said, has developed a great work in the tomb together with the other specialists therein: Elsa Yvanez. In the previous season, Elsa already documented and studied the textiles from the mummification deposit of Ipi, but the high number of bandages, wrappings, shrouds, shawls, and other types of linen pieces for the mummification of the vizier have forced her –and she is happy to do so– to return to continue with her analysis.
Regarding the conservation team, our five colleagues have worked diligently in the tombs of Dagi and Djari today. In Djari, Reed and Olivia continued their experiments with mortar recipes, successfully discovering the perfect one for emergency mortars to be used on the mural paintings in both tombs. Meanwhile, Lily, Ella, and Jaume focused on consolidating the most fragile parts of the walls before applying the mortar and prior to the removal of the wooden planks that still cover the majority of the paintings in the tomb of Djari. This crucial process ensures the protection of the paintings from further damage. By faithfully replicating ancient practices, we strive to preserve these remarkable pieces of history for future study and the benefit of generations to come.
After completing the consolidation of the visible areas, the team, assisted by the moudir, embarked on a delicate task—carefully removing the first wooden plank from one of the paintings. In the selected side of pillar D, according to the photos taken by the Met expedition led by Herbert Winlock, there are two wrestlers fighting in front of the tomb owner, a traditional scene that expresses the prestige and consideration of the deceased by the community. Regarding the removal of the first plank, anticipation filled the air as nobody was truly aware of the state of preservation hidden beneath. With precision, they skillfully cut through the joints of the wooden panel using a saw and lifted it away. And then, like a breathtaking revelation, the millennia-old ancient painting resurfaced, captivating everyone’s gaze.