Monthly Archives: May 2014

Week 3

The team members of the South Asasif Conservation Project are continuing with their daily activities at the site. With more members joining us this week we were able to re-open more work stations.

John Billmann is enjoying the peace and quiet in the tomb of Irtieru, where he has moved his object registration table.


Martin Labram and Katherine Piper have teamed up for stone fragment registration in the tent next to the tomb of Karakhamun.IMG_0172

Annie Haward and Francesca Jones are copying the remains of the text of BD 17 on the south wall of the tomb under the supervision of the head of the epigraphic team, Miguel Molinero Polo.IMG_0114

Meanwhile Miguel, who is now in the middle of his own project in TT 209, has visited the burial chamber of Karakhamun with members of his team to show his previous work and make plans for his return to TT 223 in July.DSCF5615

The most progress was made on the reconstruction work in the tomb of Karakhamun. Erhart Graefe has identified more fragments of the Stundenritual texts. Here is his new addition to the First Hour of the Day.DSCN0570

A new block of limestone was finished by the stone cutters and delivered to the tomb.


Katherine Blakeney and Ali Hassan finally got enough wall surface to position the top of Karakhamun’s head. It is a key fragment for placing the section with Karakhamun’s titles directly above, as many of the fragments join directly. The work will be continued next week.IMG_0108  IMG_0113

As the mission’s photographer, Katherine Blakeney must find the right light and camera position to photograph each found fragment to best advantage. Sometimes things turn unexpectedly tricky. Katherine Blakeney, Peter Tolhurst, Mohamed Shebib and Mohamed Abu Hakim are in the middle of a photo experiment.



Week 2

Week two was dedicated to preparing for the reconstruction activities in the tomb of Karakahmun. The most labour-consuming part of this process is the cutting and delivery of blocks of new limestone to the Second Pillared Hall of the tomb. Our brilliant Egyptian conservation team employs rather ancient building methods. Large blocks are cut into smaller sections by means of hammers, metal wedges and wooden poles.

A tower equipped with a pulley system was built in the open court to slowly lower the blocks onto the floor of the tomb. From this point the blocks are transported on a sledge sliding on large beams. IMG_9987DSCF5577






The first block of the season became a part of the north-west pilaster featuring BD 51 and 104 on the east side. Conservator Ali Hassan has already started adding new fragments to the reconstruction of the text following instructions from Ken Griffin.


Meanwhile, Katherine Blakeney is preparing the South Wall for the final stage of the reconstruction started last year. She is using the almost compete seated figure of Karakhamun on the east wall of the hall with traces of a proportional grid as a reference for recreating a fragmentary figure of Karakhmun on the south wall. The grid on the south wall was informed by the remaining lines in the area of the offering table.

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Erhart Graefe is rapidly moving forward with his reconstruction of the text of the Ritual of the 8th Hour of the Day. The success of his work may allow us to reconstruct the corresponding pillar in the First Pillared Hall of Karakhamun already this season.


Peter Tolhurst and Marion Brew are deep into excavating and recording modern mudbrick structures in the open court of the tomb of Karabasken Their work has already been rewarded by finding a group of re-used fragments from Karabasken’s original decoration.DSCF6286

John Billman, Annie Haward, Francesca Jones and Martin Labram arrived at the end of the week! See the next blog post for our new activities!

Week 1 – Opening

The South Asasif Conservation Project has opened for its 2014 season. We are excited to return to the site and reunite with old friends. Image

ImageOur conservators opened the protective gate to the tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223), which we installed last year.  We started removing fabric and plywood from the pillars, when something unexpected happened…


ImageMohamed Shebib found a nest with two baby birds hidden in the folds of the fabric. ImageKatherine Blakeney was delighted and called it a good omen for the season. The birds looked tiny and helpless. However, only a few days later, one of them is already starting to show excellent fighting skills and trying to bite anybody who gets close to the nest.


When the conservation materials arrived we were pleasantly surprised to recognize the driver as Mahmoud, one of the sons of Ahmed Mahmoud Abd El Rassul, one of the last “owners” of the tombs of the South Asasif necropolis. ImageIt brought back a lot of memories from 2005 when were only looking for “lost tombs” in this area. It took us some time to earn the friendship of Ahmed Mahmoud. When it finally happened we were blessed to be greeted with glasses of hot buffalo milk with at least four lumps of sugar in each. It was tremendously refreshing. Slide6

We went back to clearing the debris in the open court of the tomb of Karabasken (TT 391). IMG_9809

Conservation and reconstruction work in the tomb of Karakhamun is continuing in the 2nd Pillared Hall. Katherine Blakeney and Abdelrazik Mohamed Ali are marking the newly-rebuilt South Wall with grid lines to reconstruct the figure of Karakhamun.


All our activities are supervised by the most important member of the team, Reis Mohamed Ali.



In the midst of all this bustle, Erhart Graefe has created his own secluded office space and is already hard at work.


We are looking forward to a productive and successful season.