Tuesday, 26 January 2010


BTW this latest from Thierry & Jon compliments the lecture notes really well

Dear friends,

We are pleased to present to you the tomb of Sennefer, TT96, in its

You will find not only the underground complex (TT96B), the famous "Tomb of
the Vines", but also the description of the surface chapel (TT96A) which is
currently under restoration (for which the MANT mission of the Free
University Brussels has kindly provided advice).

Finally, a 3D virtual reality tour of the underground part of the complex
completes this presentation.


Monuments of Egypt

Mummification Museum - The Lost tomb of Amenhotep – Dr Laurent Bavay

The Lost tomb of Amenhotep – Dr Laurent Bavay

This is his website www.ulb.ac.be/philo/crea which he told me does not have details of the subject of the lecture on it yet but obviously will be updated in future. It does have details of their past seasons and in English as well as French

The discovery of this tomb was announced by Dr Zahi Hawass in March 2009. The team have been working for 12 seasons since 1999 at Gurna in the southern part of the necropolis above the famous tomb of Sennefer TT96. They have been working on the chapel TT96a and the next door tomb TT29. They have been doing conservation in TT96A and archaeology in TT29. TT29 Amenemope was a cousin of Sennefer and a Vizier under Amenhotep II. Percy Newbury noted it contained the duties of a vizier but it has never been excavated. During their excavation they found evidence of a Coptic occupation. There were many hermitages and monasteries on the Theban hillside. This particular hermitage belonged to monk called Frange and they found lots of ostraca detail his life. He showed us one piece O.29401, which was so personal and said he had come to see someone and would be ‘back soon’. Altogether they found 1,200 pieces and have been able to recreate his daily life. There was also a pit which would have contained a loom at which he would have worked. The hermitage was in the courtyard of TT29 which was t shaped with 10 pillars. To the south of this tomb was a donkey stable and in 2006 they started a test excavation and found mud brick structures indicating another hermitage, another Coptic occupation in the courtyard of an unknown tomb.

However sadly Roland Tefnin 1946-2006 died in and Dr Laurent felt the next two seasons should concentrate on consolidating and publishing all the current finds before they went on to another excavation. The first volume of TT29 is currently on his desk.

So it was not until 2009 that they could get back to the stable. Firstly they documented the remains of the modern house (personally I was very happy to see this, after all in America a hundred year old house would be ancient history). He said it was very important to document these early 19th century houses as they were as much a part of the history of Luxor as Pharaonic remains. These dwellings came about because of the European demand for antiquities, both fake and real. The early ‘tourists’ were coming to Thebes in droves and the locals made a good living selling to them. There is a photo from 1905 showing this house.

Underneath the house was the Coptic occupation. There was a short flight of stairs going from ground level to the courtyard, various rooms, and a mud brick wall. Inside a room there were two mud brick beds which were used by the hermit and his companion (a young acolyte?). There was lots of organic material, food, pottery shards, and wine amphora. One ostraca is a really important piece containing a lexicon of Arabic expressions and their Coptic translation which is a unique document.

Under the Coptic layer a very small hole led into the tomb. It is large with pillars, t-shaped and 18th dynasty. The ceiling still carries paint but the walls and pillars have all been lost. There is no fire damage and there are bands of text giving the names and titles and genealogy of the occupant. There is Amarna damage removing the Amen from his name Amenhotep. He was the deputy of the overseer of seal bearers, conceived of the overseer of the horned cattle of Amun, his wife was Renena a chantress and her father was Sennefer. So he was the deputy of his father in law.

This was not a new tomb but a lost tomb as it had been documented in 1886 by Karl Piehl, he had made a copy of the text of the ceiling and it was identified as Lot Tomb C3. There are lots of these lost tombs, which someone visited and took notes about but neglected to give a location.

How on earth do you lose a tomb, well the debris on the hill side can easily slip down and cover the entrance. ()the recent rain storm would have washed debris down and bigger rainstorms can wipe away all evidence) He showed a picture of the entrance to TT119 that was covered by debris.

Inside the tomb there was lots of evidence of where the walls had been cut away and removed by plunders, they even found the guilty saw.

His father in law served under Tuthmosis III and his tomb TT99 is very close. It was excavated by Nigel Strudwick from Cambridge University http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/tt99/ and has almost identical ceiling decoration indicating that it could be the same artist at work. Inside this tomb Nigel found JE99146 a statue which is not of Sennefer but of our man Amenhotep.

The excavation is still ongoing and this season should last about another two weeks. There was another small hole leading to the transverse hall and they sent a camera down. It has a decorated, vaulted ceiling but again the walls are lost.

NEXT WEEK Dr Zbigniew Szafranski on the Royal Family Necropolis of the Third Intermediate Period at the temple of Hatshepsut

As ever I appreciate any corrections

Sunday, 24 January 2010


On January 6th, Dr. Otto Schaden opened KV-63/KV-10 for our 2010 season.

A new KV-63 'Otto's Dig Diary' is now available (Otto’s Dig Diary 2010 tab) with a few images (Photos ~ 2010 tab). More reports and photos will be forthcoming as our season progresses.
See www.KV-63.com for further details.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Mut Temple future

Chatting to Betsy Bryan today she believed it would not be long before the temple could open to the public. Give it a couple of years and both her and Richard Fazzini would be finished excavating, a site plan designed and away we go. Obviously the SCA would have to then run it and they are pretty committed but Inshah'Allah

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Lost my Luxor phone, so please email and send me your number if you think I have lost it

Monday, 18 January 2010


Yes believe it or not we had rain tonight. Quite a deluge for Luxor. Our last rain fall was 23rd Jan 2007

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Finds at Dra Abu Naga

Apparently there have been a series of significant finds (including some papyrus) at Dra Abu Naga near Roy and Shu Roy and Zahi is coming to Luxor 17th to announce something.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Moalla and the Lost City of Hefat – Colleen Manassa

I might have misled people last week saying this lecture was going to by about Ankhtifi and it wasn’t but it put him and Moalla in context in Egyptian history. There is a very good website http://www.yale.edu/egyptology/ae_moalla.htm but Colleen said to ignore the part about the town site as she has changed her conclusions and the website has not yet been updated. I must admit I do like being on the edge of new thoughts and discoveries like this.

Moalla is situated about 40 kilometres south of Luxor where the gebel (mountain) descends to the Nile. It is between El Kab/Hierakonpolis and Luxor so has been neglected archaeology as teams have concentrated on these two sites. It is the third nome of Egypt and famous for the tomb of Ankhtifi which was originally published in 1950 and is currently being excavated by Liverpool University under Mark Collier.

Her study area is the area outside a necropolis of 2 kilometres with 1000 tombs dating from the Vth and VIth dynasty until the XVIII dynasty. There are considerable Nubian burials from the second intermediate period. Some of site has been lost to recent quarrying.

There are model vessels littering the site (there are quite a few examples here http://www.yale.edu/egyptology/ae_moalla_necropolis.htm) the tombs were plundered in antiquity but there is a lot of surface ceramics. There is quite a range of lower status burials in the area with funerary goods replacing offering chapels. There were 3-4 pre dynastic pots from Nagada II period but they were unable to associate them with a particular burial. Other ceramics were examples of Medium bowls, predecessors of Ankhtifi, First intermediate Period, and Middle Kingdom. As well as ceramics they found MK soul houses or platters again lower class funerary goods. These are similar to the discoveries at Rifeh http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/rifeh/mk/tombs.html

In the H3 area which is a low spur of the gebel Pan Graves were found. This grave type has been associated with the Medjay from 1600-1550BC these were auxiliary troops that were used in the war against the Hyskos. The graves look like shallow pans in cross section hence their nickname. A child’s tomb was lined with mud plaster. There are actually more of these grave types in Egypt than in Nubia. Moalla was a previously unknown site of these graves so the discovery has added to our knowledge of them. They were fond of leather and also their pottery has incised lines, the curved relief is unique to Egypt shown in figure one http://www.yale.edu/egyptology/ae_moalla/cemetery/ae_moalla_cemetery_fig4large.html

Tomb 4 they found a skull and mandible which were very Nubian. There was matting on the bottom of the tomb which was made to fit the tomb. Tomb 5 had a reed and leather strip matting. Tomb 3 had leather clothing.

Some of the pottery was Egyptian, Tuthmoside bichrome.

Across the river is the site of Gebelian and there 2 stone blocks were found which dated to the Hyskos rulers. So was this area under Hyskos occupation? Current thinking is that the stones were spoil taken from the north.

So Moalla was of importance both to the first and second intermediate period/

At the northern end, area L there are some painted reliefs showing offering figures, a man in a boat. There are no remain glyphs making the reliefs hard to date but it looks like there is a small offering figure in front of the owner’s face and this style is common in the first intermediate period.

They have also been surveying the area of the Eastern desert; 12 km south there is a narrow area which encourages ancient graffiti on the rocks. They are trying to understand the geography of the area the cultivation strip at Moalla is much thinner than other close areas so a settlement site could not have been supported. Looking for the lost city of Hefat mentioned in Ankhtifi tomb we need to look where the cultivation thickens. It was a very important city and mentioned in the Onomasticon of Amenemope, using that document for clues they have a probable location but as the area is very built up it cannot be proved.

In the Eastern Desert roads have been found and she believes these could have been used as much as the Nile or even more for local traffic. There is a Nagada II shelter on the road. The largest collections of ceramics are found at the ascents of the road.

Next week Mark Lehner on Giza

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


With the lecture on Ankhtifi next week you might find this interesting. Sent to me by Michael on the roof.

Precis of Bill Manley's lecture on Ankhtify. It will be interesting to compare with next Saturday's lecture.
Dr Bill Manley
Egypt in chaos: explaining the end of the Old Kingdom

Rather like ‘the causes of the first world war’ we probably think we know the reasons for the end of the Old Kingdom and the fall of Egypt into disorder and chaos; the old and feeble Pepi II losing control, the rise in power of regional rulers, foreign invasion, climate change and poor inundations resulting in famine, even the strain on resources from building vast pyramids.
Not so. In this interesting talk by Bill Manley we were made to rethink the First Intermediate Period in the light of recent research and reinterpretation of excavations. In the first place, the First Intermediate Period lasted about 150 years. It was only in the last 40 or so that there was the disruption of civil war.
The long reign of Pepi II (96 years gives us no suggestion that there was any weakening of his power. Indeed it is probable that this long period of stability would have increased prosperity. Petrie’s belief that there was foreign invasion has now been discredited.
There is absolutely no evidence of this.
Undoubtedly this was a period of increased regional government, but there is little to suggest that this was in opposition to the Pharaoh, rather that this decentralisation illustrates the king’s confidence in his prosperous and growing country. That the country was affluent with a strong government is illustrated by the development of trade in the north and the rise in immigration from less stable countries. The regions were responsible for their people, the production of food and maintaining the military. The nomarch was no longer buried with his king in a pyramid complex, but built his own tomb in the regions near his own people.
If the country was poor, divided and threatened by famine, then the tomb of Ankhtify at Mo’alla is hard to explain. It is exceptionally large. The importance of reading inscriptions carefully and in context was clearly demonstrated to us. Apparently the suggestion is that famine was so widespread and severe that they were reduced to cannibalism, even eating their own children, but a close examination of the inscriptions shows that far from eating their children they were perfectly capable of looking after their own people and were exporting grain both north and south. Ankhtify says ‘it is my grain that has gone to Wawat and Abydos. All the south may die of hunger but it will never happen in this district’. So far from suffering famine, he was producing a surplus!
The rather crude art of the period is another reason often cited as a sign of the turmoil and decline of the period. It is now thought that this is more likely to be the result of the freedom of the regions from central control and their palace-trained craftsmen, resulting perhaps in more crudely executed art but with lively and innovative interpretations. There is evidence of distinct regional styles.
In addition the democratisation of the country meant that there was an increase in the size of the élite population. Many more people were buried in tombs; it was no longer the preserve of the very closest to the king. His officials and soldiers also had their own tombs, so high standards of tomb production would have been difficult to maintain. What Bill calls the IKEA-isation of tomb art. Also the poor geological conditions in some of the southern regions would have made the production of perfectly smooth surfaces in the tombs difficult.
The end of the First Intermediate Period was precipitated by the Thebans, who opposed regional development and wanted to take over control of the whole nation. That they succeeded, perhaps accounts for the view of this period that has come down to us. As they say ‘history is written by the victors’.

Bad teeth tormented ancient Egyptians - Discovery.com- msnbc.com

Bad teeth tormented ancient Egyptians - Discovery.com- msnbc.com

Learn About The Theban Royal Mummy Project

Learn About The Theban Royal Mummy Project

“Mummy paper” not an urban legend – says researcher | Egypt Then and Now

“Mummy paper” not an urban legend – says researcher | Egypt Then and Now

BBC News - Egypt archaeologists discover huge tomb near Cairo

BBC News - Egypt archaeologists discover huge tomb near Cairo

My Facebook buddies have come up with a load of interesting links so I am passing them on

Monday, 4 January 2010

Mummification Museum Lectures - Forensic Egyptology – Janet Davey

Forensic Egyptology – Janet Davey

Although in English this week, this lecture was one of those that was difficult to take notes from as it was very visual but I will do my best.

Firstly a plug for my course Certificate in Continuing Education in Egyptology at Manchester University. This is a totally online course and Janet was one of the early tutors on the course now we have Joyce Tyldesley and the course director is Rosalie David. I am in my second year now and not only is the course great but being friends with the many people that have been involved as students or as tutors is a privilege.

Janet talked about her ongoing project, child mummies. She is based in a working forensic laboratory and they did in fact do a mock inquest on one of the mummies. She is using modern medical techniques such as forensic odontology, entomology and sculpture to investigate the past. She is focussing on 2 methods Microscopy and Radiology.

Mummy research is very much a worldwide group activity

The age of a child can be estimated by the eruption of the teeth HOWEVER the comparison is done against tables that have been drawn up using modern children so you must always be aware there may be inaccuracies.

On the scalp investigations under an electron microscope show a thread of linen and one of cotton. IF this is ancient cotton and not contamination then this indicates a much earlier use of cotton.

Also under the microscope whilst looking for infestations they found sodium chloride (natron) and quartz crystals. Spectrum analysis can be done to confirm the presences of these where as in the past it was educated guesses

They also finding fungal hyphae which is dangerous, it is possible this is ancient or modern but the important thing it is dangerous and work with mummies should always be done with masks and gloves. When a tomb is first opened it should be investigated in full forensic gear to protect the staff.

CT scanning is fantastic and has moved on significantly since 1995. The data from the CT scan goes into software like Vitrea which can then be manipulated to thoroughly view all angles. Her British museum mummies were done at Blackheath hospital and judging by the nicknames given to the mummies by the staff of great interest to them.

Skeletal details can be sent to other experts using other software in order to make 3d reconstructions of the faces. Again it should be born in mind that the data used to do this (depth of flesh) are based on modern tables of data and take no account of obesity etc.

Investigations done in the past by plain x-ray can be clarified and confirmed, e.g. inclusions are confirmed as sand and previously identified fractures are actually suture closures.

By measuring long bone and feet age can be ascertained. Also these techniques give more accurate information about
• Skeletal integrity
• Injuries
• Dental conditions
• Age
• Sex
• Mummification procedures

By viewing the mummies it shows that mummification procedures are many and varied during the Greco roman period. We often take what Herodotus said as the only methods but in these mummies the brain was not removed through the nose as the ethmoid cartilage is present, the chins of these mummies are all the chest and it could be the damage to the cervical vertebrae was caused by either removal of the brain or the positioning of the chins on chest.

The children were all blond and the ones Janet investigated were not eviscerated. The CT scan clearly shows the presence of internal organs. Missing teeth were found tucked under the top lip

Summary of the British Museum Mummies
• All mummies are in good condition
• Disruption to all cervical spine regions
• Evidence of server injury in EA 30363
• Fungal hyphae detected on the tissue of EA3032
• Children’s ages at death range from 4 to 7 years
• EA 30362 and 30364 have missing teeth tucked under top lip
• No evidence of Excerebration via nose
• No evidence of evisceration
• Inclusions in all cranial cavities

In conclusion modern medical and scientific studies have revolutionised mummy research

If you want to know more about Janets work google on Janet Davey Forensic Egyptology

Next week it is Ankhtifi