This year the project received permission not simply to work onsite but also in the MSA storage magazines adjacent to Carter’s house. This large magazine complex stores objects from west bank missions going back decades, and of course a range of the most important objects from the South Asasif Conservation Project dating as far back as the first season in 2006. Over a period of eight elapsed days in the magazine Dr Elena Pischikova and John Billman have been carrying out a range of study and practical tasks including some re-photography in the light of improved digital photographic capabilities.
The large number of artefacts and long duration of the project means that cross-year connections are not always apparent at the time of discovery. Re-assessment of a corpus of objects as a whole thus adds significantly to what may have been understood originally.
In 2006 half of a wooden funerary mask was discovered. Most likely a separately manufactured piece from an anthropomorphic sarcophagus the face displays traces of yellow paint, with black paint around the eyes, and can be expected to derive from one of the many later secondary burials in the tomb of Karakhamun.
Three years later in 2009 a separate registration was recorded of half a wooden mask, while not in quite such good condition this also displays traces of yellow paint and black paint around the eyes.
It was during the final morning in the magazine that suddenly Elena made the connection, bringing out both pieces from their respective boxes at once it was immediately obvious that they join, and despite the three years separating their discovery we have the two halves of the same mask.
For now the reunification remains a virtual one, something we hope to correct in the not too distant future. The South Asasif Conservation Project would like to thank the Egyptian MSA and storage inspectors for facilitating study this season in the storage magazine.
-by John Billman