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June News

Reconstruction of the pillars of the First Pillared Hall in the tomb of Karakhamun is going incredibly well. the conservation team of Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Taib Hassan Ibrahim, Mohamed El Azeb Hakem, Hassan Dimerdash, Said Ali Hassan, Mohamed Badawy, Mohamed Shebib, Taib Said Mohamed and stonecutter Hussein Mohamed have finished the construction of five pillars. With three more under way we have a very good chance to reconstruct all the pillars by the end of the season.

Reconstructed pillars such as the north-east pillar NP5 give our epigraphers a chance to keep adding more fragments any time they make new identifications. Erhart Graefe started adding new fragments to the text of the Ritual of the Twelfth Hour of the Day on the first day of his arrival and keeps a very fast daily pace. Mohamed Badawy and other conservators are only happy to help.

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Annie Haward and Francesca Jones of the BD 17 team are having an amazing season this year. This is the first season when they started placing identified and joined fragments of the south wall of the First Pillared Hall with the help of Mohamed Shebib and Ahmed Hamdan. More on the achievements of the BD 17 team will follow in their own blog entry next week.

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Marion Brew is celebrating the first glimpse of the cavetto on the south wall of the court in the tomb of Irtieru (TT 390). The quality of bedrock in this area didn’t allow for precision in carving and the cavetto was carved in sections from better quality limestone. The sections were placed on a nicely carved bedrock “shelf” and bonded with mortar.

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Inspectors Ahmed El Tayeb Mahmoud and Omar Fathy Hassan are assisting our architect Dieter Eigner in drawing the bricks of the superstructure in the tomb of Karabasken (TT 391). They are doing an amazing job measuring and recording every brick and area of mortar.

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The diversity of our site allows every team member to find something really close to his or her heart. Salima Ikram is happily bonding with the skeleton of a cow.

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Katherine Blakeney spends her days under the painted ceiling in the tomb of Irtieru.

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Our new volunteer from Swansea University, Laura Chilvers found her first join of two painted ceiling fragments from the tomb of Karakhamun. She is assisting Taylor Woodcock in putting the thousands of ceiling fragments together and has fallen in love with even the smallest of them.

Fig. 8

John Billman, a big admirer of objects, is enjoying the company of shabti fragments. John’s new assistant Aimee Vickery from Swansea University is learning the intricacies of stone fragment registration and doing a great job.

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The team is happy and looking forward to every day of work.

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Katherine Blakeney is also looking forward to coming home after work to her new toddler Cesar. Cesar is now in this precious period of kittenhood when everything that happens around him looks enormously exiting.

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Our Work in May

The team of the South Asasif Conservation Project is finishing May with some notable achievements and finds. The team members of the Project have worked on numerous exciting tasks.

  1. The conservation team is continuing the conservation of the pillars in the First Pillared Hall of the tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223). The photographs show Hassan Dimerdash and Ali Hassan injecting the original plaster layer on the fourth pillar in the south row and reinforcing the fragile area with lime mortar.
  1. The stone cutting team received help from conservator Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali with programing the new control box for the stone cutting machine. Blocks and slabs of new limestone cut to the specifications of the conservators are used for the casing of large lacunae on the pillars and reconstruction of missing areas.

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  1. The architect and surveyor of the Project Dieter Eigner continued recording the superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken.

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  1. This celebratory moment was inspired by the identification of a piece of mud brick as a mudbrick cavetto made for the first pylon of the tomb of Karakhamun.

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The remains of the pylon were discovered by the archaeological team led by Marion Brew. Congratulations to our wonderful workmen, Marion Brew and Katherine Bateman.

  1. Taylor Woodcock returned to the site as the new leader of Karakhamun’s ceiling Project. We expect great results this season. Welcome back, Taylor.

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  1. This season Mariam Ayad and a group of AUC students joined the Project to work on the digital epigraphy in the tomb of Irtieru (TT 390). Ahmed Osman and Bianca van Sittert assisted their professor in copying inscriptions on the doorframes and false door of the tomb. Inspector Ahmed Abdel Halim Ali Mohamed joined the epigraphic team. We are grateful to all the participants of this project and AUC for its support of our work. With Tayor Woodcock and Katherine Bateman being AUC alumni we had a merry AUC reunion at the site.

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  1. Katherine Blakeney taught an informative workshop on the conventions for digital epigraphy that she developed for the South Asasif Conservation Project and provided a set of photographs of the carved fragments found in the tomb of Irtieru.

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Start of the 2019 Season

The site of the South Asasif is open for the 2019 season! Congratulations to our team members, sponsors and friends. We are going to have an incredible season! We are very grateful to the Ministry of Antiquities for supporting the work of the Project.

  1. Our first two weeks were fantastic! We are so happy to be back at the sit and reunite with the MoA conservation team led by Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali. We are lucky to work with these incredible professionals: Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Taib Hassan Ibrahim, Mohamed El Azeb Hakem, Hassan Dimerdash, Said Ali Hassan, Mohamed Badawy, Mohamed Shebib, Taib Said Mohamed and Reis Mohamed Ali. Our inspector Ahmed ElTayeb Mahmoud is an experienced archaeologist and an old friend of the Project. We are happy to work again with our colleagues from the Qurna inspectorate: Fathy Yassin, General Director of Antiquities of the West Bank of Luxor; Ramadan Ahmed Ali, General Director of the Foreign Missions Department, Ezz Elnoby, Director of the Middle Area, Ahmed Bogdady, Chief inspector of the Middle area, Abdel Nasser Ahmed Abd El Azim, General Director of Museums and Restoration in Upper Egypt, Bedawy Said Abdel Rahim, General Director of the Luxor Restoration Department and conservation inspector Samah Mohamed Abd El Rady.
  1. One of the goals of the season is the conservation and reconstruction of the collapsed pillars in the First Pillared Hall in the tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223). The pillars were found collapsed and buried under the fragments of the ceiling and large blocks of bedrock. Remains of only about 1m in height were found in situ. The conservators started consolidation and reinforcement of the lower parts of the pillars. Tens of thousands of fragments of inscriptions and vignettes found during the clearing of the tomb will be incorporated into reconstructions built of new limestone. The pillars were decorated with the texts of the Ritual of the Hours. The Hours of the Day were placed on the four pillars on the north side and the Hours of the Night on the four pillars on the south side of the hall, three hours on each pillar. They are arranged from east to west on the north side and from west to east on the south side following the solar cycle. The reconstruction of these texts is of utmost importance as they exhibit the earliest example of Stundenritual texts included into the decoration of an elite tomb and displayed on the pillars. The fourth side of each pillar was inscribed with one or two chapters of the Book of the Dead. The texts were reconstructed by Erhart Graefe ( Hours of the Day), Kenneth Griffin (Hours of the Night and BD), Miguel Molinero Polo and Raquel Agras (BD 85, 92). Identification of the fragments and digital reconstruction of the decoration is still a work in progress. (see bibliography)

Conservators Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Mohamed El Azeb Hakem, Hassan Dimerdash are at work consolidating the pillars and joining fragments of inscriptions in sand boxes.

  1. The so-called “stone tower” is erected in the court of Karakhamun higher than ever. It will serve to deliver blocks of new limestone to the First Pillared hall.

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  1. Our leading archaeologist Marion Brew continues clearing the superstructures of the tombs of Karakhamun (TT 223) and Karabasken (TT 391). They will be recorded by the architect of the Project Dieter Eigner.

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  1. Our assistant director, artist and photographer Katherine Blakeney is always ready to climb every mountain to record the architectural features of the tombs.

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  1. New discoveries keep our excavation workmen, archaeologist Marion Brew and head of the registration department John Billman happy and busy.

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  1. One of the best discoveries so far is a small fragment with the upper part of a G17 sign. The beautiful owl is carved in raised relief with precision and numerous details indicating feathers of different lengths and textures. Our conservator Mohamed Shebib with his photographic memory immediately remembered another fragment with the lower part of the bird found in 2015. The fragment is part of the decoration of the doorframe leading to the pillared hall in the tomb of Karabasken. What a great way to start the season!

More soon!

 

Bibliography

Graefe, Erhart “Report on the work on the fragments of the “Stundenritual” (Ritual of the Hours of the Day) in TT 223″. In Thebes in the First Millennium BC. , edited by Elena Pischikova, Julia Budka, Kenneth Griffin, 295-306. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2014.

Graefe, Erhart. “Second report on work on the fragments of the Stundenritual (ritual of the hours of the day) in TT 223”. In Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis: New Discoveries and Research 2012-14, edited by Elena Pischikova, 91-95. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2017, 91-95.

Griffin, Kenneth. “Toward a Better Understanding of the Ritual of the Hours of the Night (Stundenritual)” In Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis: New Discoveries and Research 2012-14, edited by Elena Pischikova, 97-134. Cairo, New York: AUC Press, 2017.

Griffin, Kenneth. “A Preliminary Report on the Hours of the Night in the Tomb of Karakhamun (TT 223) “. In Thebes in the First Millennium BC: Art and Archaeology of the Kushite Period and Beyond, edited by Elena Pischikova, Julia Budka , Kenneth Griffin, 59-70. London: Golden House Publications, 2018.

Molinero Polo, Miguel. “The Textual Program of Karakhamun’s First Pillared Hall.” In Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis: Thebes, Karakhamun (TT 223), and Karabasken (TT 391) in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, edited by Elena Pischikova, 131-172. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2014.

End of Season 2018

  1. Our excavation team made a heroic effort to finish clearing the superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken by the end of the extended 2018 season. The work was conducted under the supervision of Marion Brew and Reis Mohamed Ali. They were assisted by Katherine Bateman, Marcus Wallas and a team of our wonderful workmen.

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The ancient bricks of the superstructure were temporarily covered with cotton fabric and new stamped mud bricks made by the Project. More permanent protection and reconstruction of the superstructure will be executed next season after it is recorded by the architect of the Project, Dieter Eigner.

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We are grateful to the ASA Restoration Project and personally to Anthony Browder and Darren McKnight for the extension of the season and to TVAES for its support of the mud brick protection project.

 

  1. A few last moment joins were identified by Ken Griffin and added to the walls of the Second Pillared Hall. A small fragment with the outlines of lips and a nose joined with the figure of the goddess Maat leading Karakhamun to the realm of Osiris on the thickness of the entrance to the Second Pillared hall. Mohamed Shebib and Ken Griffin are celebrating the resurrection of the divine face.

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Anthony Browder and Darren McKnight are triumphantly installing the back shoulder of Karakhamun’s brother Nesamenopet.

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  1. Our amazing conservation team finished reconstruction of the monumental entrance to the First Pillared hall in the tomb of Karakhamun and started re-constructing the vaulted ceiling of the Tornische. The work was performed by an MoA conservation team: Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Mohamed Shebib, Taib Hassan, Abdelrahman Ahmed Ali, Taib Said, Mohamed El Azeb Hakem, Hassan Dimerdash, Tarek Mohamed Yusef, Mohamed Bedawy, Ahmed Kammel, Said Ali Hassan, Hussein Ahmed Hussein with the help and support of the Qurna inspectorate, directed by Fathy Yaseen Abd El Karim.

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  1. Salima Ikram examined the contents of the canopic jars of Lady Amenirdis found earlier in the season and delivered the results to Marion Brew and Elena Pischikova, who look transfixed by Dr. Ikram’s magical performance.

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  1. Afaf Wahba studied three mummified bodies found in the side room (IA) in the open court of the tomb of Karabasken. She was assisted by Hayley Goddard and Marcus Wallas. Observations made by the osteologists were recorded on camera by Katherine Blakeney.

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  1. Karakhamun is closed until the 2019 season. The Second Pillared hall is covered with a roof and the pillars of the First Pillared hall are enclosed in wooden “boxes”.

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  1. The South Asasif Conservation Project team has just finished its twelfth, and one of its most successful seasons. Congratulations and many thanks to our team members, sponsors, colleagues and friends. We are looking forward to continuing the work next year!

We would like to thank our Egyptian colleagues for their help and support during the 2018 season. Special thanks go to H.E. Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Moustafa Waziri, General Secretary of SCA, Dr. Mohamed Ismail, Former Director of the Foreign Missions Department, Dr. Nashwa Gaber, Director of the Foreign Missions Department, Mr. Mohamed Abd El Badia, General Director of the Center of Upper Egyptian Antiquities, Dr. Mohamed Abd El Aziz, General Director of Antiquities for Upper Egypt; Mohamed Yahia, General Director of Antiquities of the Luxor area. Mr. Fathy Yassin, General Director of Antiquities of the West Bank of Luxor; Mr. Baha, Director of Qurna Antiquities, Mr. Ramadan Ahmed Ali, General Director of the Foreign Missions Department (mission member), Mr. Ezz Elnoby, Director of the Middle Area (mission member), Mr. Ahmed Ezz, General Director of MoA storage, Ahmed Hassan, Director of MoA storage, Abd El Gawad, inspector of the MoA storage,   Mr. Ahmed Bogdady, head inspector of the Middle area, Abdel Nasser Ahmed Abd El Azim, General Director of Museums and Restoration in Upper Egypt, Bedawy Said Abdel Rahim, General Director of the Luxor Restoration Department, Mr. Ahmed Ali Hussein Ali, Director of the Conservation Department of Qurna, General Director of Conservation Department of Upper Egypt, Abu El Hassan Ahmed, general engineer of Qurna Antiquities, Inspectors Hussein Ahmed Hussein, Mohamed Khalifa Mohamed, Mahmoud Yussuf Khalifa, Ahmed Kammel, Safaa Mohamed Abd El Motey, and Conservation Inspectors Mohamed Ali, Ali Taib Mohamed, Nawal Mohamed Fawzy, and Tarek Mohamed Yusef and security guards of the Qurna area. We are very grateful to Dr. Sanna Ahmed Ali, General Director of the Museums of Upper Egypt and Samia Abdel Aziz, Asma Nubi Ragabia Atia Ala for their help in installing canopic jars in the Luxor Museum.

 

 

 

Our Work in August and September 2018 Part I

  1. The main August event was the delivery and installation of the canopic jars of the Lady of the House Amenirdis in the Luxor Museum. We found these beautiful jars in the tomb of Karabasken (TT 391) in May 2018 (for more details see the previous blog post). The Qurna inspectorate, the Ministry’s museum sector and the direction of the Luxor Museum were extremely helpful in making this exhibition possible. The canopic jars are the first objects found by our archeological team to be put on display in the Luxor Museum. We are very grateful for this opportunity and are hoping to have a chance to show more in the future.

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2. Marion Brew, Katherine Bateman, Katy Ball and Vibeke Berens are finishing excavation of the superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken. The extension of the season, made possible thanks to the ASA Restoration Project, gave our excavators enough time to unearth the remains of Karabasken’s monumental pylon. The impressive structure will be recorded by Dieter Eigner at the beginning of next season.IMG_4119

IMG_40943. The offering scenes on the east wall and pilasters of the First pillared hall were bought back to life by our great team of Egyptian conservators. This area of the tomb suffered from fire, floods and later occupation. The top of the wall collapsed and the pilasters had less than a meter remaining in situ. The decoration was reduced to hundreds of small fragments scattered over the open court and first pillared hall. The architectural elements were re-built out of new limestone fixed on metal frames, and ancient fragments were inserted into pockets carved in the new limestone. Joins found between the original fragments or the fragments and the bedrock helped to reconstruct three registers of offering bearers on the pilaster, two large-scale offering scenes on the east wall and a procession of offering bearers on the south wall of the Tornishe.

Offering Bearer Detail

  1. Ken Griffin, Mohamed Shebib, Taib Hassan, Said Ali Hassan and Markus Wallas are finishing the installation of the text of the Ritual of the Twelfth Hour of the Day and BD 92. The texts and vignettes were reconstructed by Erhart Graefe, Ken Griffin and Raquel Agras Flores. 45 fragments of the text of BD 92 were installed on the north face of the pilaster. 16 fragments of the vignette will follow soon. 28 fragments of the text and 28 fragments of the vignette of the Twelfth Hour on the west face are already on the pillar. The vignette of the Twelfth Hour contains one the most sophisticated images of Karakhamun in the whole tomb. The precision of carving, modeling and treatment of the details can be compared only with the “main” large scale figure of Karakhamun at the offering table on the north section of the east wall.

IMG_4103Black Karakhamun Detail

  1. Anthony Browder, Darren McKnight and Atlantis Browder assessed the damages to the granite sarcophagus of Karabasken in preparation for its reconstruction next season.

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  1. John Billman is reviewing the finds of the season with pride and satisfaction.

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  1. Karakhamun is getting a new roof! The wooden roof we are installing this year will provide great temporary protection for the tomb’s decoration for the period of reconstruction. Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali and Ken Griffin are demonstrating a window built into the roof.

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More very soon!

 

Finding Canopic Jars

We congratulate the team of the South Asasif Conservation Project on finding the canopic jars of the Lady of the House Amenirdis in the tomb of Karabasken (TT 391).

Fig. 0

The name of Amenirdis on the Duamutef canopic jar.

The discovery was recently announced by Dr. Mostafa Waziri. General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

It was an unforgettable day for (from left to right) Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Hussein Ahmed Hussein, Marion Brew, Katerina Ball and John Billman.

Fig. 1

The set of canopic jars was found on the 7th of May, 2018 in an intrusive burial compartment in the pillared hall of the tomb of Karabasken by the archaeologists Marion Brew, Katerina Ball, Hassan Mohamed Ali and Reis Mohamed Ali.  The room, accessed via a staircase carved between the 4th and 5th pillars of the southern side of the hall, was discovered in 2016.

Fig. 2

The shaft in the south-east corner of the room and burial chambers were cleared in April-May 2018. The 3m deep shaft leads to two burial chambers oriented to the east and west of the shaft. Both chambers were roughly carved and undecorated.

Fig. 3

The canopic jars were found in the eastern chamber in a nearly cubic cutting in the floor and photographed by Katherine Blakeney.

The happy moment of discovery was shared by Mohamed Shebib, inspector Hussein Ahmed Hussein, Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Katherine Blakeney and Reis Mohamed Ali.

Fig. 6

The jars and lids, made of Egyptian alabaster, needed emergency conservation performed by a team of MoA conservators including Ali Hassan Ibrahim, Mohamed Shebib, Ali Taib Mohamed, Taib Said Mohamed, and Mohamed El Azeb Hakem. Mohamed Shebib is performing injections.

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Canopic jars after conservation:

Fig. 8

The Jars were measured and registered by John Billman.

Many of the mission members gave their hears to Duamutef with his mischievous smile and elongated eyes.

Fig. 9

His erect jackal ears, connected by an area of negative space are elegantly indicated by two parallel incised lines. The jar was found in two pieces. The smoothness of the edges suggests this was the original construction and the pieces were joined in antiquity.

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Drawing by Katherine Blakeney.

 

The canopic jars will be published in the 3rd volume of the AUC series Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis.

The Third Week of June

Two exquisitely carved faces found their way back on the north-east pilaster in the First Pillared hall this week. They belong to offering bearers from the top register on the western side of the pilaster. Three registers with three offering bearers (Two male and one female) in each comprised the original decoration of the pilaster, found broken into numerous small fragments.

Abderazk Mohamed Ali, Ali Hassan Ibrahim and Katherine Blakeney are transferring the reconstruction drawing of the newly constructed top register of the north-east pilaster. Reconstructions of both eastern pilasters in the First Pillared hall will be finished by the end of June under the supervision of our inspector Mahmud Youssef El Edassy.

Fig. 2

Fig. 2aThe lintel of the Tornische doorframe is almost finished. The next level is a beautifully colored cavetto cornice. A lunette with wadjet eyes carved in bold raised relief will top the entrance structure.

Fig. 3aFig. 3cErhart Graefe is working on the reconstruction of the vignette for the text of the Ritual of the Eighth Hour of the Day. This colorful, beautifully carved vignette will face the central aisle of the First Pillared hall in the tomb of Karakhamun when placed on the third pillar of the north side of the hall.

Fig. 4We welcome Louise Bertini who visited the site on the 20th of June and started working on the animal bones found in the tomb of Karabasken at the beginning of the season.

Fig. 5Mohamed Shebib is very happy about finding this tiny fragment of carving that he identified as the top of the folded cloth clenched in the fist of Karakhamun on the south wall of the Second Pillared hall.

 

Katherine Piper is back at work on the painted ceiling from the Second Pillared Hall. We hope to reconstruct most of it in a sand box by the end of the season.

Fig. 7Katherine Blakeney is flying high photographing the mud brick superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken.

Fig. 8Mohamed Abu Hakem is getting ready for his first space voyage. We wish him luck but are going to miss him at the site.

Fig. 9Our wonderful excavation team of Lesley O’Conner, Reis Mohamed Ali, Cheryl Hanson, Mustafa Said Jad, Saeed Abdul Rahim, Ahmed Hassan Mawat, Ramadan Mohamed Abdullah and Saeed Hassan Ahmed continue working on the growing superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken despite the heat of the previous week.

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More next week!

First Week of June in South Asasif

Every week in the South Asasif necropolis brings new discoveries and achievements.

One of the most notable discoveries of the week was made by our leading conservator, Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali. He brought back to the team’s attention a small fragment of sunk relief with a well-modeled surface, a thin raised line in the middle and a plain polished surface on the other side of the line.

Fig 1

Many mission members participated in the discussion of this strange fragment without reaching a quorum on “deciphering” the image. Katherine Blakeney saw the modeled area as a knee but Elena Pischikova never shared her view because of the raised line above the proposed knee. It would suggest a kilt with a rim on its hem and that would be unique for the tomb of Karakhamun. This time Abdelrazk didn’t want to hear any arguments. Following his instinct he went directly to the scene of an offering bearer leading a crane on the north-east pilaster of the First Pillared Hall and inserted the fragment into the gap above the back of the crane.

Fig 2 Outlined

It fit perfectly, adding a new feature to one of the most lavishly carved scenes in the tomb. And yes, this particular offering bearer has one of the best-modeled knees in the whole tomb and a rimmed hem on his kilt. This beautiful bird is on the cover of the Tombs of the South Asasif Necropolis vol.2 published by AUC in 2017.

Fig 3

Abdelrazk suggested informing AUC of the new addition to the scene and updating the cover. Sounds like a great idea!

 

Reconstruction of the Tornische, the vaulted entrance area to the underground part of Karakhamun’s tomb is going remarkably well although we face problems in the most unexpected areas. For example, Hassan Dimerdash , the conservator responsible for the reconstruction of the torus, reed bundle elements, and the rectangular ledges that flank the entrance doorframe realized that the dimensions of the elements on the left and right side of the door are different. To place all the fragments of three-stem reed bundle elements Hassan has to check the size of the stems, depth of carving, shape of the stems, etc. (with help from Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali).

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The right side is shaping up well. On the photograph below Hassan is placing an identified rope element.

Fig 5

 

The north section of the east wall is constructed all the way up to the ceiling. It is ready to receive the fragments of the offering list and conservator Ali Hassan Ibrahim is waiting for the first stones.

Fig 6Fig 7

 

Erhart Graefe arrived at the site to continue working on the texts of the Rituals of the Hours of the Day. Although photographed on his first day of work, Erhart looks extremely well organized and concentrated on the task at hand. A good start to what will surely be a productive season.

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We are happy to welcome AUC student Hayley Goddard. She has just taken her osteology exam at the site. The grueling test was conducted by the prominent expert Afaf Wahba. We are happy to report that Afaf will be joining our team later in the season.

Fig 9

 

Members of our BD 17 team Annie Haward and Francesca Jones will be leaving the site next week. A lot of progress has been made in sorting the fragments by columns and finding new joins.

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Karabasken’s superstructure keeps growing under the watchful eyes of Marion Brew and Lesley O’Connor. With Lesley’s arrival we got our own Indiana Jones at the site (not the hat).

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More soon!

 

 

Our Work in May

The work of the South Asasif team continues in all the areas of the necropolis with incredible results.

We had a wonderful breakfast with our workmen to celebrate the start of Ramadan.

Figure 1

The excavation team of Reis Mohamed Ali, Marion Brew, inspector Mohamed Khalifa Ahmed and Katy Bell are still following the remains of the northern wall of the superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken. The traces were almost lost on higher ground but recently resurfaced at a lower level of the terrain, with as many as three courses of the original bricks preserved in situ.

Figure 2

John Billman, the head of the object registration and catalogization project enjoys the recent finds in his “office” in the tomb of Irtieru.

Figure 3

Reconstruction of the Tornische area in the tomb of Karakahamun is also in full swing. Today was a big day of the arrival of the lintel carved by our stone cutters. A large group of builders, stone cutters and conservators watched its progress down into the court of the tomb and celebrated its arrival. The participants of this event on the photo are Ahmed Bedawy, Mohamed Gamal, Abd El Hady Abd, Hamdi Abdel Fatah, Ali Hassan Radwan, Ahmed Mustafa Maraa, Mohamed Ahmed Attia, Hassan Mustafa Ali, Hassan Dimerdash, Mohamed El Azeb Hakem, Ali Taib Mohamed, Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali.

Members of the team BD 17 Francesca Jones and Annie Howard continue sorting the fragments of the text by column finding new joins in the process. In previous years they amassed a corpus of 135 fragments whose position can be identified in the 112 columns of the text. They explain the significance of the new join on the photograph above in their own words:

“Great excitement was felt earlier in the week, when we found a new piece with half each of a horned viper (I9) and a basket (V31) and a reed (M17) depicted, and were able to locate it to column 75. Not only that, but we already had another piece from the same column with half a horned viper and basket and a reed. A join! The photo shows us with this join, the first of two this week!

We would like to thank all the team for their help in locating possible fragments, and for helping to move the sometimes very heavy stones to where they can be worked on.”

– Francesca and Annie

Figure 5

More soon! Continue following our blog!

Highlights from Our First Month

Our first month in South Asasif was full of hard work and excitement. Everybody is happy to be back at the site and contribute to the success of the season.

Figure 1

Reis Mohamed Ali, Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali, Hassan Mohammed Ali, Ali Hassan, Mohamed Hakim, Mohamed Shebib, Mohamed Bedawy, Hassan Dimmerdash, Mohamed Ali Abdullah, Taib Said, Hussein Ahmed Hussein, Dr. Elena Pischikova, Dr. Katherine Blakeney, John Billman, Mohamed Khalifa Mohamed, Ali Taib Mohamed, Ramadan Ahmed Ali, Ez El Din Kamal El Noby, Ahmed Bogdady,

The work began with the recording of the superstructure of the tomb of Karakhamun and clearing of the superstructure of the tomb of Karabasken. Dieter Eigner, the architect of the team, was instrumental in both projects. He interpreted the intricacies of Karakhamun’s superstructure (on the photograph with Elena Pischikova)

Figure 2

and assisted the excavation team of Marion Brew, Sharon Davidson and Hassan Mohamed Ali in surveying the area of Karabasken’s superstructure.

Figure 3

The excavation team led by Marion Brew (on the photograph with Katy Bell) has already reached remarkable results by finding the remains of the wall above the entrance to the underground part of the tomb and a section of the enclosure wall to the north of the open court.

Figure 4

Photography of Karakhamun’s superstructure proved to be a real adventure for Katherine Blakeney and Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali. To find a high enough angle they had to build their personal “Eiffel tower” to the west of the tomb.

Figure 5

The conservation team is working on the reconstruction of the Tornische area (entrance to the underground part of the tomb) in the tomb of Karakhamun based on the architectural features still in situ and the reconstruction drawing by Dieter Eigner.

Despite being one of the most destroyed features of the tomb this originally richly decorated area still contains some of the most sophisticated relief carving in Karakhamun. Most of the images were reduced to numerous small pieces and their reconstruction requires a lot of time, patience and skill. This series of photographs shows the work of done by Said Ali Hassan, Katherine Blakeney and Abdelrazk Mohamed Ali on the reconstruction of the figure of one of the offering bearers originally from the south wall of the niche. The process began with the reconstruction of the figure in a sandbox, and continued with transferring the outlines of the figure to the surface of a new limestone block, carving the figure in sunk relief and then using the depression to embed the original fragments, carved in raised relief. The photo shows one of the eight figures originally forming the procession.

Figure 9Figure 10Figure 11Figure 12

These are only a few activities of the South Asasif Project in 2018. We will be covering different aspects of our work this summer in future blog posts.