Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Old Mummification Lecture - North Karnak

Mummification Museum Lecture - North karnak survey - Dr Sally Ann Ashton
North Karnak survey – Dr Sally Ann Ashton
This survey has been conducted over 2 years and is in the general are of the Montu temple. The site was first excavated in 1949 when the gateway of Hatshepsut was discovered. The aim of this survey was threefold
• Investigate the chronology
• Function of the site
• Recording techniques

Firstly they did a contour survey using satellite technology; this was needed in order to record the site properly for the magnetometer work. They discovered more in the West than the North. After one year on checking the various features and objects they discovered little change apart from on column base that had been moved up near the police hut.

Features Discovered
• Standing mud brick structures
• Broken column bases
• Column drums (sometimes cut into 2 during Roman times, Romans were reusing a lot of material
• Remains of mud brick found on columns with a central stone shaft surrounded by mud brick

The result of the survey was not much different from aerial recordings of the site but much more accurate.

Dr Ashton went into quite a lot of detail but you could tell there was a lot more scientific methodology behind her remarks. For example she mentioned in passing the difficulties of deciding what was on the surface. What exactly that tern meant. She described the technique that they had used of marking 1 meter circles every 20 meters and thoroughly investigating that circle. They had to clear the areas of thorns. Objects within the circle were brought to her for identification. They looked at pottery on the surface only no digging. They found many rims and were able to date these from the fabric in the pottery. This has all been recorded in a database.

They found mainly domestic ware and ceramic wasters. After these were recorded the team put them back in the circles so that any subsequent team could pick up from where they left off. After one year these piles had not been disturbed. The pottery was from the 3rd Intermediate Period, late Ptolemaic, Roman with minority being New Kingdom. There were a few fine wear pieces, some brick wasters but mainly domestic wear. There were Aswan, oasis and Canaanite amphora. Nile silt predominates in Roman areas.

This year the methodology went further using 1 meter circles but the results show that the 20m circles were representative. They also did a complete clearance of one area and the methodology held up.

There was a 25th dynasty structure of Osirus with 18th dynasty origins and portrayals of the #God’s wife Amun. There was not enough time to investigate properly.
Magnotometer (for those of you unfamiliar with this technique I found this explanation on the web It tests the earth’s magnetic signature and it varies right across the earth. So our big green ball has a background magnetic signature and if a ship or a lump of iron goes down within that main magnetic signature it causes what we call an ‘anomaly’. And then, once you bring a magnotometer into play, you’re then able to see whether there’s an object there.) This was used all over the site except certain points like the police hut and from these they were unable to locate various structures of the New Kingdom, 3rd Intermediate Period, Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

Area A
Largest structures had mud brick walls; from the magnotmeter results it looked possible it was a kiln area.

Area C
Had mud brick near the gateway of Hatshepsut

In areas L and M there was a substantial stone wall, 15 sandstone blocks indicating a large stone structure and explains why there is no pottery or mud brick in that area.

Evidence of early enclosure wall, an auger went 3.6 meters and at 3 meters there was early material from late Middle kingdom and New kingdom.

The area that showed as a possible kiln was cleared down to 30 cm and sieved using a 5mm sieve. Looking for beads and faience which are very helpful with dating. Initially it looked quite promising and found at a lower level evidence of living but 30 cm down they found a mud brick wall with 2 stones. They did find kiln associated material cones, saggers, wasters, types of pottery reused and dumped. So kiln material but not a kiln, it looks like holes were dug and stuffed dumped in it.

The alignment fits with the revechan trench, there were 7 dumps within the 30 cms with large quantities of materials. They only recorded material bigger than 2 cm. They found mud seals, a Ptolemaic terracotta face, 1 Greek fragment, tripod from a kiln, a very little amount of Middle Kingdom debris and some New kingdom at the lower levels most stuff is late period and Ptolemaic

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