Friday, 27 March 2009

Completely Off Topic

Last Monday was my birthday and we had the biggest sandstorm that my hubby could remember. I was at the conference on the East Bank. Salima Ikram gave a lecture under the most trying circumstances with wind whistling and canopies flying. The conference facilities at the Karnak Sofitel is just a marquee so very primitive. I left in a hurry hoping to paint the town red and found there was no town, electricity down and trees!!. The taxi driver I got was really nice and when I said ferry he told me it was not running. He was really fair when I asked him to take me to the West Bank instead 100LE but the drive was really scary when we had to cross to the other side of the road to avoid fallen trees and signs.

Yesterday my hubby arranged a belated lunch date with my adorable step children hidden in the car to surprise me. They loved the joke of surprising me and for a full five minutes all that could be heard was laughter. It was brill and we ended up at Abu Hagger for a great lunch. I taught my step daughter to use a knife and fork and she picked it immediately one lesson with a knife and fork and a mobile phone as food as she got the picture. She then proceed to eat her entire lunch with a knife and fork I was so proud her, she is 6, really bright and learning English really well. Expect to hear her as my replacement in a couple of decades.

But the really off topic was I was given some alcoholic birthday presents from Finland. My beloved Finns bought me Finish vodka (great still unwrapped) and Koskenkorva which is a fruity vodka drink and I love and Salmiakki which is cough medicine!!! Made of liquorice, sorry but one glass was enough for me.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

David Rohl semmiar finishes

Such an excellent series of lectures, great stimulation in Luxor, didn't agree with everything but it was intellectually challenging and slick.

Personally Salima Ikram was the best but that might have been because she published her last slide with birthday greetings for ME, I am still young enough to find that exciting lol

Dillon Bickerstaff was probably the most interesting, harem conspiracy and tomb robbers but Allan Lloyd was also stimulating. the whole thing was excellent and enjoyable. I got a lecture only price and thought it good value as well.

Many thanks David

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - Amarna Kom el-Nana

The decoration and identification of the site of Kom el-Nana at Akhetaten – Jacquelyn Williamson

These websites associated with the project and

This site is in the southern suburb of Akhetaten, down from the main city and southern tombs. In 1980-90’s it was excavated by the EES and she was using a general plan produced by Barry Kemp.

It consists of an enclosure wall with four entrance pylons, two in the west, side by side, one in the east and one in the south. It is divided in half, west to east, by a central wall. In the s/e houses have been found, the south shrine is the most important. There are thousands of stone fragments, mainly limestone but some sandstone. These were left by the destroyers of the city, probably in situ. The site is not full excavated because of the difficulties of the site such as encroaching cultivation. The north enclosure is less understood as a consequence. In the north there is a large bakery and brewery working area with a large number of bread moulds. The north shrine aligns with the pylon in the west wall as does the southern shrine align with the other west pylon. They also found garden plots.

There were 4000 fragments found in situ from the shrines, she has looked at the contents of 3 excavation squares with 153 sandstone and 800 limestone fragments in 10 sq m.

She explained her methodology which is a little difficult to get across without the slides. Gay Robbins (really interesting art author) developed cannon of proportions of 24 squares for the Amarna period. Once a piece is positively identified, a task in itself, then using this cannon it is then possible to expand a small fragment into a large relief. So if you have a tiny piece with part of the kings back leg and kilt and you apply the Robbins cannon to it, you can work out the content and size of the entire piece. The same scaling up will indicted whether fragments belonged with each other, if the eventually figure is the same then the fragments match. Other clues like Aten cartouches indicate that these are royal figures. These always follow the way the body faces and the cross line is always at the bottom. From all this she identified 5 royal scenes.

She believes that this could be the Sunshade of Re dedicated to Nefertiti. The bread moulds indicate that this is a very important site as the only place where bread moulds are found are the Great and Small Aten temples. The structure follows the early line of the royal road. The early name of the Aton is used. A stele mentions 3 important sites of which the third is not identified. She believes she has identified glyphs that say sunshade.

The plans for the future are the complete analysing the excavation squares, so far she has done 3 out of 7. Then she wants to move to south shrine. There the walls are better understood. She believes it will take another 2-3 seasons. Also the stone is not all in the same place, some was moved into storage magazines.

There are also small pieces of statues, some of which are composite statues, both shrines had statues and these are mostly likely the king, queen and daughters.

El Monguna is another possible sunshade location but there is only one inscription and does not feel there is enough other evidence.

Next week it is Mathew Adams on Abydos

Bed from KV63 to go to the Mummification Museum

The lovely bed found in pieces in one of the pots, which is thought to have some kind of ceremonial purpose during the funeral, is going to be moving to the Mummification Museum. Probably very soon as the tomb is closing on Tuesday.

Friday, 20 March 2009

David Rohl in Luxor

David is doing a seminar in Luxor at the Sofitel. Most people have come from the UK and there are 3 from Luxor. I am just attending the lectures. Last night we had Dr Sabry talking about all the work of the SCA in Egypt and then David talking about his theories of Egyptian orgins. Not sure I agree but they were certainly interesting. Mansour Boraik made some very good points in response.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

TT11 Discovery


Great news from the Spanish at TT11

(ANSAmed) - MADRID - ''The Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt'' is how the Spanish press have today celebrated the discovery by a group of Spanish archaeologists of a burial chamber with coloured paintings, jewels and hieroglyphics dating back 3,500 years, in Luxor. The chamber was found by experts from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, on the western bank of Luxor, Ancient Thebes. The burial chamber belonged to Djehuty, one of Queen Hatshepsut's high officials, and represents the culmination of the work of the 8th campaign of the project run by the Caja Madrid Foundation since 2004. Jose' Manuel Galan, the director of the team of archaeologists, explained to the press that the extraordinary significance of the discovery is ''not only in its undeniable aesthetic value'', but also in the fact that ''in this era, at the end of the XVIII dynasty, burial chambers were not decorated''

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

KV63 Update direct from Otto Shaden


15 March 2009

Sorry for the delay, for I have intended to get this Update out very early in the month but too many things intervened. Of special concern was my presentation on the current work in the SCA lecture series presently weekly at the Mummification Museum. In the talk, I did manage to get in 68 images within 45 minutes.

The last of the storage jars was examined on February 18th. This concludes our pot clearance for KV-63. Though we had 16 jars to deal with this year (as opposed to the 12 which were examined in 2006), the artifacts which we hoped would fine tune our ideas on the date of the closing of the tomb in antiquity were simply lacking.
Very few seal impressions were found, one being another example of the “official” KV seal with Anubis and the 9 captives. Unlike the Year 5” wine from Tjaru found in 2006, no dates appeared in our 2009 materials.

We do have more natron to add to our stock, which will be weighed and tallied together with the 390 lbs. from 2006. We should have a bit more natron from Coffin E, but the rough tally for the moment is over 400 kilos or ca. 930+ lbs. of this material.
The ceramics continue to mirror the types from KV-54 and so the general “dating” to the Tutankhamun era remains firm. One unique item may be the fragile legless bed found in Pot 13 and restored by our conservators. Three wooden items (wrapped in linen) with 4 “prongs” or “legs” each may have served as the legs for our bed. We have enough such “prongs” for four items, but only 3 wrapped boards (ca. 50 cm in length) were found; the fourth was lacking. During a visit to KV-10 a few days ago, Dr. Zahi Hawass called particular attention to one of our SCA conservators, Amany Nashed, for her good work on the restoration of the bed. Dr. Hawass also suggested we try placing the bed on those unusual supports --- we did just that on the following day and they look like a good combination. The web site will eventually illustrate more of the bed and these possible supports in the near future.
For the final month of the season, there will more work on coffins, pottery mending and drawing. Essentially now we are having the study season for the remaining weeks.

As the first resin came off of Coffin E’s lid, it appeared we had the name of a woman, Btau/Butau, a fairly common woman’s name already in the Middle Kingdom and into the New Kingdom --- but after cleaning resin off the texts on the box, it became clear that the name included the “hnwt” (mistress) and was thus Henut-wadjbu, a common woman’s name in the new kingdom.

The full description for her includes “The Osiris, Henut-wadjbu, true of voice.” She must have been of lowly origins as she lacks any title to adorn her identity.

As we are about to copy the texts, we must also consider the order of the decoration, for the traces on the front vertical column do not indicate that Henut-wadjbu’s name appeared there as on the cross bands and end panel. For example, if the coffin was originally decorated for this lady, why are the thorough erasures ONLY on the front column? If first decorated for the woman, then why were not her names erased from the cross bands etc.?

The text column down the front of the lid has been very well eased. Not many signs intact to suggest a reading at this time. But on the front of the “toe” section was a single hieroglyph --- the seated man. This should be the determinative for the name and thus indicates that the name on that column was at one time was inscribed for a man.

Just a few days ago our conservators began removing resin from the lid fragments of Coffin B. These seem study and so if there is any decoration hidden under the resin, we should make some progress. After removing the resin from most of the two main lid fragments, we also removed resin from on the of the side panels. In each case, there were no signs of any prior painted or carved decoration. One gets the impression that the coffin may never have been completed.

We have only begun dealing with the resin on some of the very poorly preserved sides of the box of Coffin A, but despite the bad condition of much of the wood, we have found some interesting texts. After further cleaning we will send a report to Dr. Zahi Hawass and later provide more details in our next Update.

Some rubble left behind in the chamber of KV-63, for before we cleaned the floors in 2006 it was necessary to take down our pulley system in order to have an iron gate installed. This debris was removed and the floor is being swept clean.

Margot Wright has worked on the garlands and on the wooden “legs” (?) which were found with, but not attached to the lions head bed in Pot 13. Elise van Rooij has discovered that some pile of shredded textiles from Coffin A were once a towel or blanket, cf. her comments and images on our web site. Coffins A and B had a considerable quantity or ceramics, textiles and natron.

Now that Heather Alexander and George Johnson have departed for home, Archie Chubb and Maryann Marazzi will share photos duties and other tasks. Betty Schneider, Margot Wright and Elise van Rooij left just days ago.

SCA conservator, Adel Aziz Andreus, worked with us in 2006 and just recently joined our group to assist during the closing weeks of the season.

Artist Sue Osgood has been working with us for many weeks now, thanks to the generosity of Ray Johnson, director of the Chicago House (ORINST) Epigraphic Survey. Sue drew the mask of Coffin B, the small Coffin D and is presently working on Coffin G.

Pieter Collet completed the mapping of KV-63 and also drew our lion-headed bed.
He is now off to work on another mission.

Earl Ertman and George Johnson traveled home together some weeks ago and they encountered their now customary adventures with delayed flights, flight changes, etc., but they finally reached home safely. Meanwhile, Maryann Marazzi (former Egyptology and photography student at Memphis) arrived some days ago and will be with us until we are about ready to shut down the site.

With the variety of activities in our work and storage area in KV10, its pillared hall provides ample space for tables and the corridors above and below have storage for shelving and the many large storage jars. The large storage jars are lined up in G and H chamber in numerical order.

The season is rapidly drawing to a close, for we set ca. March 21 or so for a shutdown date, leaving a few days to pack up and lock the tomb, then a few more days so my packing at the hotel can be done. A short report for the SCA will be prepared while I am still in Luxor, then the last few days in March I will be in Cairo. My flight is scheduled for March 31st.

A recent visitor was Judith Price of the UK. Judith visits Egypt with some regularity not only to see the monuments but also in her role as a trustee of the SUNSHINE PROJECT UK which raises funds to support orphans in Egypt. She is also among our list of sponsors for the AMENMESSE PROJECT.

Emailing was an entirely new adventure for me back in 2006, but I gradually adapted
at the Etap Hotel. Using the wireless system on the west bank this season, the computer is extremely slow, more like an old manual typewriter with sticky and some missing keys! When this season began I was able to send some images, now that has become virtually impossible. When I get or answer the mails, I try to keep the messages as brief as possible.

We will try to get in a final Update from the field (or from Cairo) around the end of this month.. More images will also be added to the website ( ) during and after our present season.

Otto Schaden
Amenmesse Project

Saturday, 14 March 2009

CFEETK – Centre Franco-Égyptien d'Étude des Temples de Karnak – SCA / USR 3172 CNRS

CFEETK – Centre Franco-Égyptien d'Étude des Temples de Karnak – SCA / USR 3172 CNRS As well as the site report publish below the Karnak website has had a relaunch. Now in English as well as French and Arabic it is fabulous resource for anyone wanting to know about this great site. Thanks to Ibrahim Soliman for bringing this to my attention

This site is intended to disseminate more widely the various activities of the Center (CSA / CNRS USR 3172), presenting work in progress and future programs. The pages will gradually be offered and updated with three interfaces in French, English and Arabic.
The activity and the numerous interventions of the Center and the associated missions will be available directly from the pages of the different programs in addition to the annual report. The report of the 2008 season is available from the News menu.

Report-2008-EN.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Report-2008-EN.pdf (application/pdf Object) Great report on the work at Karnak

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Pottery Finds at the Tomb of Ay

Michael on the roof got this shot when he was at the tomb last week. So it looks they are making some finds

The Associated Press: Ancient golden jewelry found in Egyptian tomb

The Associated Press: Ancient golden jewelry found in Egyptian tomb

There are quite a few stories on the net about this find but this one has photos. This tomb TT11 has been really rewarding, they found the apprentice board here as well. the team is led by Dr José Manuel Galán

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hot, hot, hot

Wow 36 in Luxor today!!!!!!!

Mummfication Museum lecture - News from Kom el Heltan - Dr Hourig 28/2/9

The area under excavation is the colossus of Memnon and the temple of Amenhotep III and they have been working for 6 years with lots of backing.

A very interesting slide was shown with the original temple superimposed on the existing site. There were three pylons with colossal statues in front of them, an avenue of sphinxes leading to a peristyle court, the sanctuaries. The width of the pylons is known but not the length. The site is 3 m above the original temple floor but after excavating 8 cm they hit water. The site desperately needs the dewatering project. There is a fantastic stele showing Amun, Mut and Khonsu. The temple was part of the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. In 1998 it was designated on of 100 most endangered monuments.

The colossi came from Gebel el Amar and show 2 ladies his wife Queen Tiye on the south and his mother Mutemwiya on the north. They monitor it yearly to check for tilting. As well as looking after the monuments they also collect old documents. She showed a painting by Verner 1873 which showed the statues with water at their feet, people around then with fires going. Combine that with the damage of the salts, the vibrations from the parking lot and the road it is amazing they have survived. They want the road to be moved (the slides show quite clearly the road goes through the southern side). The statue also suffers from the changes in temperature as much as 40 degrees between day and night which make it peel like an onion. They had over 1000 fragments that needed consolidation. An Armenian seismology report shows an earlier earthquake than the Roman one. Liquefaction gives evidence of earthquake.

The 1st court was 100m deep, the second pylon had 2 colossal similar to the Memnon statues. They have had to work on preservation and documentation. The north colossus of the 2nd pylon was fallen and eroded. In 2002 the found the right leg with a statue of Queen Tiye. In 2004 they lifted the 450 tons and moved it 11 ½ metres north to a dry area. They needed pumps day and night.

They found the south colossus fallen east south east, a hand was broken in 3 parts. She showed a short film clip showing the movement of the foot by the workmen. She noted her team was fantastic they used airbags to facilitate to removal. They learnt a lot the north colossus took several weeks but the south colossus took only one week, both were lifted above the water. They document everything, sort the splinters and have jigsaw experts that reassemble.

They have mad new mudbrick stamped with Memnon and hope to reconstruct the temple in a similar fashion to Seti I and Merenptah.

The third pylon was found last year and is protected by new statues. The peristyle court is twice the size of the one at the temple of Luxor. They have reconstructed a colossal statue including a replica of the head taken by Henry Salt. There were papyrus bundled columns and between 2 columns there was a statue.

The southern stele fell to the east in an earthquake and broken into 2 parts, the northern stele is being reconstructed on the ground at 9m is slightly narrower.

Merenptah used the temple as a quarry

According to the soil analysis there was an earthquake 1100-901 BC.

There are Orisired statues but not mummiform, they have a kilt; they are quartzite from Heliopolis on the north and red granite from Aswan to the south. The peristyle court had lots of Sekhmet statues in black granite but they are not from the same quarry and are not all the same height. Sekhmet fights against the enemies of the sun.

She stressed that temples without their statues and steel are like houses without their inhabitants. There are two sphinxes one of Queen Tiye and the other of Amenhotep III, the statue of Amenhotep II is the same as the one in the British Museum.

There is an ambitious site management plan that would include viewing statues, a suggestion of the pylons similar to Seti I reconstruction, a visiting station, replacing statues in the peristyle hall and a visitor centre like Merenptah

Friday, 6 March 2009

Excavations at the tomb of Ay

Visiting my favourite tomb the other day and expecting to find it deserted and quiet I was surprised to find dozens of people excavating. I managed to chat with the geophysics chappy called Dash. He said they were searching for the Amarna tombs which made a lot of sense to me as the Western Valley only has two known tombs Amenhotep III and Ay (possible originally built for Tutankamun). He said lots of interesting things.

1) the Eastern Valley deceives you, cut surfaces are identified but these led nowhere, tantalising and mysterious why are there

2) there are 4 bore holes at the tomb of Ay, nobody knows why they are there. Could possible by some kind of marker. Either old or new Belzoni or anything as nobody kept a record

3) geophysics has not developed as much as DNA so his ability to identify things is still primitive

He had just started work but there was also lots of excavations goign on as well.

El Nor - womens co-operative

El Nor is a Women's co-operative that was formed in 2007. There was a group of 34 young women, who have been taught embroidery and sewing at a school funded by a European charity and 9 of these decided to form this co-operative.

Most of the young women are un-married and many come from poor families where there is no wage earner. The skills they have learnt and developed make it possible for them to contribute to the family income and support their families.

They are have an exhibition of their work at the Marslam Hotel from 20th March - 2nd April and everyone is welcome to attend and see their work.

Archaeologists find statues of ancient Egypt king | Science & Health | Reuters

Archaeologists find statues of ancient Egypt king

This is from Dr Hourig's dig at Amenhotep III mortuary temple. she did a lecture last week which goes into this in more detail and I hope to get those notes up soon.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Voûte nubienne

Voûte nubienne

Do have a look at this really interesting website. This Hassan Fathy's ideas still alive and kicking. They came on a visit and I took them to the original village and they have added pictures from the visit. But is the use of the ideas that is the great thing. He would be proud

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Archaeologists rediscover lost Egyptian tomb | Science & Health | Reuters

Archaeologists rediscover lost Egyptian tomb | Science & Health | Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) - Belgian archaeologists have rediscovered an ancient Egyptian tomb that had been lost for decades under sand, Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said on Sunday.

In 1880 Swedish Egyptologist Karl Piehl uncovered the tomb of Amenhotep, the deputy seal-bearer of the Pharaoh King Tuthmosis III, in the city of Luxor, about 600 km (375 miles) to the south of the capital Cairo.

"It later disappeared under the sand and archaeologists kept looking for it to no avail until it was found by the Belgian expedition," a statement from the Supreme Council of Antiquities quoted Hosni as saying.

Tuthmosis III of the 18th Dynasty ruled Egypt between 1504-1452 BC. Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass said the tomb consists of an enclosure and a large hall divided into two parts by six columns. Part of the northern side of the hall had been destroyed a long time ago, he added.

Laurent Bavay, the head of the Belgian team, said most of the inscriptions on the walls of the tomb were damaged, a sign that the place had probably been robbed in the early 19th century, the statement quoted him as saying.