Among other surprises, this year the cleaning of the courtyard in TT 366 has revealed the existence of a subsidiary structure, surely built for a dependent of Djari, and a shaft –with diverse materials dating from Dynasty XI to the Byzantine times– that was located in the northern side of the transversal corridor in the monument. These novelties require from our team members a deep analysis, at times very hard physical work (in this case, mainly by our workers), and strict supervision.
However, they also require a clinical eye, a good hand with the objects, and much care with the selection of the materials. This was our case today with the tasks conducted by our workers cleaning the subsidiary tomb TT 366A and the sieving of the entire remains coming from this structure. The same duty has been conducted in the case of the cleaningof an exceptional structure made of mudbricks and attached to pilar F (already observed by Winlock and included in the plan generated after his excavations), which we believe that might be –as it happens with its counterpart in the other side of the main entrance into the tomb– some kind of installation for a tree (acacia, sycamore). This interpretation would pose the possibility that two plants decorated the main entrance into the tomb just in front of the funerary garden (structure that we hope to clean in the near future).
In both cases (TT 366A and the installation of pilar F), sieving allows the collecting of critical and often small materials such as sealings, coffin fragments, seeds, bones and fruits, a kind of evidence critical for our documentation of Djari.
On the other hand, in the tomb of Dagi (TT 103) archaeologists have continued with the cleaning of the transversal corridor area where –according to the initial excavators Winlock and Crum– there was a reception room for the monastery of St. Epiphanius and, previously, a textile production area might have existed. Obviously, as we explained yesterday, the accummulation of layers of occupation allows us not only to evidence the reuse of the place over the centuries but also to identify the minor changes produced in a monument, room or area within the same period. Aside of this work, the archaeology team at Dagi has been “shooting points” to continue with the documentation of the various units, contexts, and strata so that we can proceed at the end of the fieldwork with our investigations on the uses and reuses of this section of the monument.
Our conservators Ella, Jaume, and Lily embarked on a technical analysis of the paintings preserved in the tomb, as well as some of the fragments, using a Dinolite. The examination with this device offers variable magnification ranging from 20 to 250x, depending on the working distance. This range is achieved by a simple rotation of a dial, allowing for zooming in or out. This feature facilitates a detailed examination of the surfaces, including the preparation layers and pigments. Particularly fascinating were the mixtures of different pigments employed by ancient craftspeople to achieve specific colors. The results obtained from this analysis will provide valuable insights into the mural techniques employed during the Middle Kingdom. In the future, these findings will enable the team to compare the results with similar analyses conducted in the tomb of Dagi, and eventually, other Middle Kingdom tombs in the area. Consequently, a greater understanding of the techniques employed during that period, which still remains a mystery, will become more comprehensible.