Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Old Mummification Museum lecture - South Assasif

I am really pleased to find this one after my visit there and the recent lecture. it puts things into context.

Mummification Museum Lecture - Forgotton Tombs of the Southern Assasif - Dr Elena Pischikova
Forgotten Tombs of the Southern Assasif - Dr Elena Pischikova
The idea of excavating the Southern Assasif came because the work the team did at Tomb of Nespakashuty (TT 312). After spending 6 years reconstructing the sandstone entrance which was a 6 m high structure. They felt their next task should be to find his mother. This tomb was known to be in the area known as Southern Assasif. This area is nowhere near the Assasif tombs at Deir el Bahri, but that is the name it is known by. It is actually just across the road from the Ramasseum, in southern Gurna and in the village of Abed Rassoul. There are 3 tombs near each other.

TT390 Irtieru or Irtyru, female scribe and attendant of the god’s priestess Nitiqret, Late Period
TT391 Karabasken or Kerebesken, mayor of Thebes, Dynasty 25
TT223 Karakhamun, first priest with entry, Late Period

There were many problems excavating in this area as the villagers felt these tombs were part of their houses. Indeed TT391 was used as the summer house when the family slept outside due to the extreme heat. It was a very complicated situation. The tombs were being used for the housing of donkeys and dogs. The team felt the removal of the village was good news but wanted to be around when the houses were demolished as they could see fragments being used in the construction of these houses.

Lexius recorded that there 2 door frames but 150 years later these were hard to see. The last person to see them was Dieter Arnold. There was a decorated ceiling in the burial chamber. Even finding where they were in the village was difficult but eventual in 2001 they were traced to the home of Ahmed Mahmoud Abdul Rassoul. The team were not welcome and they could not excavate as the family were there. Eventually Ahmed did let them in, it should be noted that he died 2 weeks ago.

There was a 4 story house on top of the tomb and the family were using the open courtyard. The tomb was covered in soot but although the ceiling was black they could see colour through it and it was a challenge to remove this soot without damaging the colour and pattern underneath. Lots of fragments had also been cut out. Prelimary cleaning revealed the colour, the whole tomb was painted and the Divine Adoratrice Nitocris (Neitiqert) was present in many scenes.

The old kingdom style papyrus columns were revealed to be painted in yellow. The offering inscription was dedicated to her father. There are 4 sections to the vaulted ceiling which have different patterns. The team found that the soot had actually preserved the colours. There was a prelimary drawing of the kepher frieze. All the tombs were left unfinished and Dr Elena knows that there is a related tomb at Abydos and wants to see if that is unfinished to. There is an offering scene of the owner and father.

The second door frame was covered in mud and had to be recorded before cleaning. In 2nd pillared hall the pillars are not in good condition, it is not finished and just has prelimary lines. There was a niche with lost bits. The carving is so shallow that without the painting you can not see it. It has never been excavated and the burial chamber has not been found by archaeologists. But they don’t expect to find anything as after this time the chamber has probably been cleared but they may find relief

TT391 was the house used during the summer by the family and in the courtyard there were 6 layers of flood debris. It was full of graffiti and the architectural elements had been destroyed. They thought there was nothing there but after digging down 2 meters they found images. The ground is very wet. The images were in the style of the Old Kingdom. There was an undecorated pillared hall and a 6 niched chamber. It is being left for the future.

TT223 there is relief of Karakhamun, known in the Berlin museum. At the 4 meter level they found carving including a figurine. This tomb will take at least 10 years but the pillars might be able to be reconstructed at the end. A 4 by 9 meter area was cleared. There was a good example of Kushite carving including a hunting dog, priest with a sash and an image of the owner. They found lots of fragments. The name of the owner had gone but no new name had replaced it. At least 2 pillars were decorated with offerings. There is a painted procession of the Gods. Dr Elena would love to try and reconstruct the ceiling from the fragments found but that is for the future.

They expect that these three tombs will take a long time to excavate properly; even the rest of their lives but the priority is TT390

In the question and answer session Mansour Boraik talked about the demolition of the houses. Apparently 72 houses were chosen from old photos and were not going to be demolished. They have found that the people are not cop-operative. With regard to Ahmed Rassoul the SCA had got an agreement with him but now he has died they will have to get an agreement with his 2 wives and 10 children which complicates things. They now intend to keep 65 houses.

Posted by Jane: - 9:13 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 18th, 2007

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