Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture -Tuthmosis III funerary temple

Egyptian Spanish Funerary Temple Tuthmosis III – Dr Miriam Seco Alvazez

The dig started in Sept 2008 for 6 weeks. It was originally excavated by Devesy 1888 and 1906 by Vigel. It is a terraced temple which is actually dug into the bedrock at the back (west). There are 2 parts one dedicated to Amun and the other dedicated to Hathor. The first court has never been excavated as it is under the road.

The team firstly looked at the storehouse built by Vigel at the west edge of the temple. It contained lots of fragments many with colour. They show nice decoration and Amarna damage. There are pictures of Tuthmosis as a young prince with a forelock of youth. Some is unfinished and was just painted and not sculptured. They are concentrating of epigraphic work of these blocks and preservation by putting them on blocks of wood to keep them away from the ground. Outside the store house they classified 4,000 fragments. They had to draw some in situ and then they removed then to allow for further excavation. . Colour fragments are in the store house but the others are stored on matting and sailcloth in the temple area. Excavation of the Hathor temple revealed the lines of the walls on the floor.

They also cleared the Eastern part of temple near the road and the area around the first pylon on the other side of the road. The first pylon was in great danger from the debris from the alabaster factory next to it. They removed 40 trucks of this debris. The factory itself is actually built on part of the pylon. There is also potential damage from the humidity from the house next door. It was very difficult to work here and constant conflicts with the locals however they succeeded and the area is now fenced off. Part of the pylon needs urgent work as there is unsupported mudbrick and eventually they need to remove the house and the road. The road is 2 meters above the base of the pylon. They need to protect it before any further excavation.

In the West they found under the blocks placed on the bedrock several shafts, one of which they excavated but only found ceramics from the 18th dynasty up until the Coptic era.. The excavated shaft was 3m deep with a side room to the south which was empty. They could see alluvium from different inundations. Within this they found wooden objects and more fragments. In the south wall there is a tomb in the bedrock, they are monitoring the cracks there and hope to excavate next year.

They excavated the ramp to the main temple which has bulwarks to strengthen the ramp. In the ramp they could see 2 facades of the temple showing where it had been enlarged. They have filled excavated areas with sand to protect them.

In the south east corner near the road they found sandstone blocks from the portico. There was a trench cut into the bedrock which was used to build the wall. They found bricks with cartouches. There were cartouches of Tuthmosis II perhaps a commemoration of his father. They also found a working area in front of the wall below the level of the floor. On the fragments sometimes the colour is perfect and they are both limestone and sandstone the limestone is larger. There are some slat problems but small ones. They have put new mud brick on top to protect the plastered walls and stop the disintegration.

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