Monthly Archives: June 2014

Blog Post 5

Blog Post 5

The past three weeks we were very busy working on a number of projects.

Salima Ikram came to work on the animal bone deposit in the tomb of Karabasken. Her time at the site, although short, was extremely productive. We all learned a lot trying to assist Salima as best we could. Salima is sorting bones in the tomb of Irtieru assisted by her student Nick Brown.


We have completed the conservation of the vestibule in the tomb of Karakhamun. Katherine Blakeney is taking final photography of the ceiling.


The arrival of Joy Stamp and Jane Golding revived the ceiling project. With thousands of painted ceiling fragments found on the floor of the collapsed tomb of Karakhamun reconstruction is not an easy task. Numerous patterns and their variations – seventeen in total – were identified so far. The geometric and floral designs are painted red, blue, yellow, white and black.


It seems that the ceilings of the spacious rooms of the tomb were divided into segments featuring different patterns. The newly finished tomb looked extremely festive despite some unfinished and unpainted areas. Trying to create more space for their installations Joy and Jane purchased wood from the friendly owner of a wood workshop and ordered platforms, which they placed on top of the shafts in the tomb of Karakhamun.


These new surfaces immediately became covered with beautiful designs.


The big news in the tomb of Karabasken are the entrance steps to the tomb. The steps are getting stronger and stronger as they go down. It seems that Karabasken had an impressive entrance area with an elegant staircase. Nick Brown and Katherine Piper are taking measurements in the trench.


All the finds from the field go to John Billman who takes great care of them.


The Second Pillared Hall in the tomb of Karakhamun keeps growing. The North West corner is shaping up and soon will be able to receive its decoration consisting of the texts of BD 48 and 49 on the west wall and an offering scene on the north wall of the hall.


Meanwhile, the conservators are working on the vignette of BD 15 in the south west corner.


Not only tomb walls grow in South Asasif. The Project has adopted these adorable ginger twins. We see them as a good omen and hope to see them grow and prosper.


The last day before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan was very special. Our team was happy to have the chance to give a holiday present to everyone at the site.


The workmen of the Project were in a true festive spirit. IMG_1225

To deliver the boxes to the conservators working in Karakhamun we had to form an offering bearing procession. How appropriate!IMG_1291

RAMADAN KAREEM to all our Egyptian friends and colleagues!

Weeks 4 and 5

The last two weeks have been very intense and productive. Our team members excavated, recorded, reconstructed, sang and danced. All this was happening at the site of South Asasif and all these activities happen to be interconnected.

The excavation of the open court in the tomb of Karabasken has revealed new architectural features of the court as well as a number of important decorated fragments from the tomb of Karakhamun. Our conservators reinstated the fragments in their original places in the Second Pillared Hall and our team members celebrated our success with an exciting rock concert.

In more detail, it happened in the following sequence:

Nick Brown, Kerry Webb and Robyn Kealey are in the court of Karabasken bagging and recording small finds. During the last two weeks our skilful archaeologists (with the participation of Natalie Marquez) explored, recorded and disassembled a few partitions built in the court by the latest occupants of the tomb to realize that their building blocks originated in the tomb of Karakhamun. Moreover, two of them fit directly into our recent reconstructions.


A well-preserved fragment of the outer frame of the False door was a welcome addition to the Offering formula and joined directly with the fragment above. Our conservators carved a “pocket” in the new limestone and put it in the next day after it was found.


The legs of the statue of Osiris from the False door were another happy find. Previously found parts of the statue constituted the feet in situ, a torso and a crown. We calculated the length of the legs’ based on known contemporary examples and carved a support for the torso. Based on the calculations done by Katherine Blakeney the newly found part of the legs from the feet to the knees will demand some adjustments to the previous reconstruction. The original legs are slightly more elongated proportionally and display rather more rough carving than could be expected based on the sophistication of the torso. It seems that after the shape of the statue was coarsely carved out of bedrock only the upper part received final modelling treatment and the legs were left in a preliminary stage with rough chisel marks.


The installation of the new fragments on the False door was a cause for celebration by our conservation and excavation team.


In fact our multi-talented team members mark every success with a display of their artistic genius. Katherine Blakeney, Ali Hassan, Hassan Dimmerdash and Mohamed Abu Hakem celebrated the re-installation of the statue of Osiris with a spirited dance.


Peter Tolhurst praised the benefits of excavation in the tomb of Karabasken in a series of songs with his own lyrics. The exciting backup singer is Natalie Marquez.

While some mission members dance and sing others work extra hard. Taylor Woodcock and Katherine Piper are re-checking stone fragments registration databases although they look like miners. Mohamed Shebib and Said Mohamed Ahmed are sorting fragments from the Second Pillared hall of Karakhamun. (To be continued)