Monthly Archives: May 2013

False Doors

Slide71One of the goals of the 2013 season is the reconstruction of the false door in the tomb of Karakhamun. This photograph from 2012 shows the remains of the false door in situ and some elements found during the excavation of the court. Only from 10 to 30 cm of the structure, the 12 cm base of the central statue and the feet of Osiris were found in situ in 2011. Yet this small section provides information on the width and the overall configuration  of the door. The known height of the central aisle and found fragments of various architectural elements allowed to calculate the dimensions of most of the sections of the door. The reconstruction was enhanced in 2013 and now includes around 100 blocks. It is in its finishing state in a sandbox.  Most of the fragments are direct joins which helps to reimagine the door. We rely on numerous examples of corresponding structures in the tombs of the North Asasif to confirm our suggestions but in some cases the found joins contradict known patterns and demonstrate the unique features of Karakhmun’s door. We receive the most “assistance” from the immediate neighbors of Karakhamun  in the South Asasif necropolis. The false door of Karabasken is in a ruined condition but the remFalse door 2aining outlines allow to reconstruct its proportions. The false door of Irtieru (see photo) was influenced by Karakahmun, which is obvious from its architecture and decoration. All three doors share a similar proportional relationship of major architectural elements. The obvious connection between these three tombs provides numerous clues for the reconstruction of  Karakhamun, the most ruined tomb in the necropolis. The photograph below shows two of the Project’s conservators fixing the first fragment of the false door a slab of new limestone. A newly built limestone frame will support the growing structure and the statue of Osiris.    DSCF4824

Our Visitors

We’ve had another busy week in the South Asasif with conservation, excavation and registration all proceeding in parallel.  In addition this week we’ve had a chance to share our passion by hosting a number of delegations of fellow Egyptologists at the site.

DSCF4575On Tuesday morning we had a really friendly visit from our neighbours, the team of Andrew Bednarski, Assistant to the Director for Special Projects, from the local American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE).

Later the same morning we received another group of fellow archaeologists led by Salah ElMasekh Akmed. It was wonderful to be able to repay the hospitality shown to us by Salah and his team when we visited his excavations at Karnak as part of the Thebes in the First Millennium conference organized by the project last October.






IMG_2064On Wednesday we received our third major visit of the week, this time from the ARCE field school currently running.  Dividing the group into three sub-groups, Elena Pischikova, Katherine Blakeney and John Billman all conducted tours in parallel.

With all groups we get to see the project and its work through new eyes and share the enthusiasm that the necropolis inspires when you see it for the first time.

– by John Billman

Week 2

The team of the South Asasif Conservation Project is continuing reconstruction and conservation work in different parts of the tomb of Karakhamun. This year’s work will mainly concentrate on the decoration of the Second Pillared Hall, the Burial chamber and the Vestibule.

The work in the Second Pillared Hall, which collapsed almost completely, started with positioning metal rods in strategic points of the hall to support the structure of the walls and pillars of the room. The photograph shows our senior conservator Ali Hassan Ibrahim and his colleagues measuring the points for the rods.


The work continued with cutting slabs of limestone and positioning them along the walls of the Second Pillared Hall to support the remaining fragments of the original decoration. The newly cut limestone blocks  are delivered to the tomb from the top of the open court with the help of a winch fixed on a “tower” built by our reis Mohamed Ali (see photo). The photographs also show the conservators Ali Hassan and Hassan Dimerdash closing cracks on the west walls and around the remains of the Osiride statue of Karakhamun with lime plaster.

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Week 1

We have just completed an exciting and eventful first week, reuniting with our old friends and colleagues. On the photograph below are some of our Egyptian team members, archaeologists, and conservators including Fathy Yassen Abd el Kerim, Ramadan Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Ali, Abdelrazk Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrhem, ElTaib Hassan Ibrhim, Mohamed Badawy, Taib Said, Mohamed El Abu Hakim, Said Abu Gaed, Hassan Dimerdash, and Mohamed Shabeb.IMG_0670

DSCF4258Our team members have begun work in different areas of the tomb of Karakhamun. The photograph to the right shows Patricia Mason determining elevations in the court of Karakhamun with the help of Abdelrazk Ali and Mohamed El Abu Hakim.





DSCF4295Our conservation team is adding new fragments to the pillar reconstructions in the first pillared hall. Abdelrazk Ali and Mohamed El Abu Hakim are positioning a new fragment on the Northwest pilaster.





All of our team members have their own individual ways of showing their passion for Karakhamun. Here is Said Abu Gaed, with a celebratory heart-shaped cake (which is delicious by the way). We take this cake as sign that we are destined to have a successful season!



We opened the site for our eighth season on May 2nd, 2013. We want to express our gratitude to the Ministry of State for Antiquities and all of our sponsors for making this season possible.


Our team of workmen opening the tomb of Karakhamun (TT223)


Our team of Egyptian workmen, led by our our Reis Mohammed Ali. Our inspector Atitu stands in the middle.

The South Asasif Conservation  Project team has just opened its eleventh season in the South Asasif tombs of Karakhamun (TT223), Karabasken (TT391), and Irtieru (TT390). We will be working until September and are looking forward to a productive season. Watch this page for weekly updates from team members, along with images and video clips of the work.