The cleaning of the shaft discovered a few days ago has been conducted very diligently in the last two days. We have been very lucky to have Sergio still with us –he leaves tomorrow morning– to produce one more photogrammetry of the current state of the shaft; Jesús will soon take the total station inside to prepare a proper plan of the chamber before we continue cleaning and documenting the shaft.
The fact that the vertical hole was filled with large pieces of limestone (probably from a sarcophagus!) has contributed to the expeditiousness of the task. In fact, the depth achieved up to this morning has made our work very intricate and has forced the moudir and rais Ali to give some directions to instal a lifting system with three wooden beams and a pulley. Only five minutes later, the rais himself was already swinging in the pulley, hanging on the rope, calculating how to land on the bottom of the shaft without causing any damage to the few remains on it. Once the pulley system was proved, Antonio descended the shaft to check –together with the satisfied Abu Saidi– the remains of a stone and mudbrick wall blocking the entrance into a burial chamber. It was clear that the chamber had been previously robbed, though Antonio’s access to its interior allowed him to identify remains of Middle Kingdom models of boats and offering carriers, fragments of a red painted limestone statue, and (unfortunately), newspaper pages, tobacco packages, and boxes of matches. It is still soon to offer a coherent interpretation, but the original burial might have been produced in the New Kingdom, considering the remains in the shaft and the possibility of using the nearby materials from the tomb of Djari to build his “place of eternity”.
Regarding our work in the tomb of Dagi, Raúl has continued with the careful documentation of the morter production area. We hope to apply plaster to the feet and hand marks and get a cast out of them.
On the other hand, Carmen and Jaime have left the “Dagi team” and have moved to the tomb of Ipi where they have initiated the selection of special objects from the mummification deposit, which must be moved to the Carter Magazine and the Museum of Luxor. The deposit materials will be moved to the museum so that, when the replica of the deposit arrives to the institution, we can prepare the small exhibition that we have designed together with the director of the Luxor Museum, Dr. Alaa, and will be opened in some months.
In the tomb of Dagi, Ella, Jaume and Lily were involved in lifting dozens of mural paintings that were rediscovered mixed with the sand on the ground. The presence of other materials mixed with the paintings, such as deceased animals and a flash bulb from the 60s, suggests that unknown individuals during that time may have handled and discarded the mural paintings. Once the fragments were lifted, they directed their efforts towards cleaning, consolidating, assessing, and documenting the wall paintings. These fragments, covered in layers of dirt accumulated over thousands of years, required meticulous cleaning to reveal the stunning iconography and texts beneath. Additionally, some fragments needed consolidation to stabilize their fragile edges, which involved applying dilute adhesives. These essential steps ensure that the photography team captures all the intricate details for future study and publication.
In the tombs of Djari and Dagi, Reed and Olivia persisted in applying their specially crafted emergency mortar to the areas most in need of repair. These crucial interventions now pave the way for the conservation team to strategically plan future actions for these archaeological treasures. With their expertise and careful attention, the team can ensure the preservation and continued study of these remarkable ancient paintings.