Friday, 26 March 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

TT184 Zoltan Fabian

The main thrust of the lecture was the difficulty of presenting epigraphic work and used a lot of computer drawn slides to illustrate his points. This makes it a bit tricky to record on the blog. I will limit myself to the non technical aspects of the lecture which unfortunately make it a bit sparse. The computer bits were quite clever basically by colouring in the epigraphic work in different colours then the software can remove a coloured layer. So you can remove the damage, or the text or the line or the drawings in order to concentrate on the aspect of most interest to you.

Nefermenu was the Mayor of Thebes in the second part of XIX dynasty. His wife was Meryt. This tomb shows the change in the cultic practice around the naos. On the right side of the shrine painted in red was the outline for a traditional family group. However this was replaced with divine statues, only the Hathor cow was completed however. It is contemporary with TT264 Ipy and TT62 Djehutmes, It contains one the earliest litanies to Sokar as well as the barque of Sokar.

The tomb is close to TT413 the oldest tomb in the necropolis but this is surmounted by a mud brick chapel of a later date so cannot be investigated further. (Like the roman frescos on top of the walls at Luxor temple, which is the most important and do you keep in situ). He does not know where the burial chamber of this chapel is and the owner is not identified. He showed some fantastic slides of where that had jigsaw puzzled fragments into place and the probable look of the complete chapel. It is similar to TT93 and TT17 where composition is not strict so the scenes are difficult to reconstruct.

Friday, 19 March 2010

KV63 March 2010 - Dr Otto Schaden

Otto opened the lecture by reminding us that whatever KV63 finally turns out to be it will always be the first tomb discovered since the tomb of Tutankhamen. It started with a search for foundation deposits for the tomb of KV10. Excavation revealed 2 huts to the west and 10 huts to the east. These were used by the workman who lived in the valley and filled with ostracha and other artifacts. Theodore Davies had excavated the east most huts 10, 9 and 9a but left the central area. Under hut 5 they found KV63. Consisting of a single chamber with a stack of 8 coffins and 28 huge storage jars. This season they have been working on restoration of the coffins and the contents of the jars. Within these jars they have found natron, pots, textiles and the ‘embalming bed’ that is now in the mummification museum.

Coffin B (please refer to the Kv63 website for identification and pictures) was in a dreadful state, split with its mask fallen off and laying face down. SCA conservators have restored it and put the mask back in place. This is slow and painstaking work like watching the grass grow. It is not a work of art (I thought the profile was nice) and there is no writing or decoration

Coffin A contained jars, pottery and bowls. Earl Ertman noted the glass inlays both around the eyes and on the decorative bands. Nearby they found copper nails with gold heads which must have come from this coffin. It is for the royal nurse Iny. The bands would normally have formula addressed to Osiris but in this case they are only addressed to Re Herakty and she is not called Osiris so these must have come from the Amarna period. Catherin Roehrig did a dissertation on royal nurses but Iny was not identified at that time. The coffin itself is in many pieces and so far only the top half has been restored.

Coffin F Otto believes must have had the same carver as Tutankhamen objects, it is badly destroyed with no inscriptions; amongst its contents were two woven mats. There were also parts of two stone blocks, these grooved slabs would have been ideal for propping a mummy for bandaging with one each at head and thighs.

Winlock described the pots he found in KV54 and much of that found in KV63 is the same in shape and form. These were smashed into many pieces and found in various jars. It is unclear as to what their purpose is embalming, workman or the funerary feast. There were a variety of shapes and decoration, for one shape there were the follow varieties
• Red with blue decoration
• Bluff with blue decoration
• Light bluff
• Red
• Small
Destruction was so complete that one small bowl had pieces located in 8 find spots. Otto is hoping to physically inspect the pots from KV 54 in order to compare those with the KV63 contents.

There were rectangle clay tablets with raised edges which must have been used wet as there destruction shows squeezing.

Wine jars dated to Year 5 which does not help with the dating of the tomb as jars of many dates were found in KV62 so this does not indicate closure date.

There were seal impressions similar to those found in KV62 and KV55. These contained ka and kheper glyphs which could mean Tutankhamen or Ay. There were also the 9 bows and jackal seals. They also found cotton buds but these were surface containments.

Finally everyone loves gold and there was the small red gold coffinette.

For the future they still have a lot of excavating to do in KV10.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

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Monday, 15 March 2010

Jane's Document Store

Kindly put on the net by Andie of Egyptology New and the author Andrzej Cweik Jane's Document Store these are PDF's from the Polish Mission at Deir el Bahri, Luxor

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Responsible Tomb and Temple visiting and main ticket office prices

Adult Ticket Prices

Speaking to Moustafa Wazery, the SCA director of the West Bank he asked me to pass on some comments to visitors to Luxor.

You are very welcome but please help preserve the monuments for future visitors.

Photography has been banned in both the Valley of Queens and Valley of Kings, this is because so many people were taking their cameras into the valleys and then taking photos inside the tombs. This is forbidden and I afraid the few have ruined it for the majority.

Please, please, please do not touch the paintings, they are real and original. You don’t need to test. I actually saw a tourist scraping at the paint with their nails and saying ‘look it comes off’ I slapped them, yes it does come off and touching, scraping, rubbing will take it off. Don’t do it.

Rucksacks, backpacks please carry them in hands in the tombs; a lot of damage is done by people’s backpacks scraping the walls.

As churches as for Christians, mosques for Muslims and synagogues for Jews so were the temples for the Ancient Egyptians. Please dress respectfully and keep beachwear for the beach.

Some rather unscrupulous tour companies are selling panorama tours; they charge the tourists to view sites like the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri from the car park. This is very unfair on the tourist and the SCA but very lucrative for the tour companies. So the SCA has made it a rule if you are in the car park you must pay for a ticket.

Student Ticket Prices

Friday, 12 March 2010

Free Publications from Andrzej Cweik

OK people big treat Andrzej Cweik has sent me 4 PDF’s of article he and his collegue Marta Sankiewicz haves written IN ENGLISH, send me your email and I will send them to you, they are big a total of 30MB but I will send them individually. The titles are
1. Fate of Seth in the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri
2. The Scene of “Going round the wall” on the North Wall of the Portico of the Birth
3. Red, yellow and pink. Ideology of skin hues at Deir el-Bahri
4. Cryptogram Uraeus Frieze in the Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bahari

Andie of Egyptology News has kindly put them on the net for us update

Dear Friends,

After several months of work, we can finally present to you, on OsirisNet, a complete description of the famous mastaba of Ty, in Saqqara. Besides an exhaustive description (which includes the translation of almost all the
texts) you will be able to discover more than 650 photos, illustrations, commented plans and images with an overlay effect of detail information.

We hope that this visit will please you.

Tombs of Egypt

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Karnak Duty Free Shop - your first 48 hours

I had a visit to this new duty free shop. it is on the road side of the Karnak shopping area. Actually rather nicely located. You can go there the first 48 hours after you land and buy 3 bottles of spirits.

Imported spirits are really expensive in hotels and local spirits are not particularly good or available in 5* hotels so you could end spending a lot. Stocking up at duty free will save you loads.

The staff were massively welcoming and the manager assured me that Ramadam will not be problem as they have some Christian staff. It is well stocked, loads of flavoured vodkas and apart from alcohol you can buy anythign at any time, great news to those of you with a sweet tooth.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A morning with Dr Andrzej Cwiek

I was privileged and lucky enough to be taken round Deir el Bahri by Dr Andrzej Cwiek the Assistant director of the Polish Mission. I made sure the previous day that the inspectorate knew I was coming, this is really important as when I turned up on site their local inspector was freaking out. The knowledge that I was there with permission from Moustafa Wazery smoothed all that out. Permission is god here. The director of the site took me to the Punt portico where Dr Andrzej was photographing.

He enhanced the lecture from Saturday by showing me the places where erasure had happened and how it had been done by different hands. Honestly it was so obvious once you have been shown. It helped that he had a mirror to shine the light against the decoration and we were under the barrier. But once it has been pointed out it is so obvious even when this is taken away.

We then went to the Hatshepsut chapel which is actually their workshop. I am afraid I am not going to remember everything he said, there was so much but I will do my best. First there were official versus unofficial erasures. If something is removed only to the reach of a normal man but exactly the same picture higher up is left untouched then this is unofficial damage. If they had really wanted to remove it higher up they would have done. He explained that this had occurred at the step pyramid where the edges are removed off the niches but only to the reach of a normal man. I loved some of his terms waiters, menu instead of offering bearers and offering list, he does it as a little bit of humour.

He also mentioned about the use of rose pink on the skin of royal women and we had a big chat about yellow being used on men when they weren’t reckoned to be virile like old men and Syrians! This rose pink seems to have been favoured at first by Hatshepsut but then she obviously decided it was not kingly enough and the skin was repainted red.

There is also the use of white and yellow head cloths as the sun and the moon, in the chapel Hatshepsut had to be the most important so on her side she is shown first wearing a white head cloth in front of Amun and then wearing a yellow nemes head cloth in front of Amun. So the closest to Amun is the sun but on the other side the closest Tuthmoside figure to Amun is wearing a white head cloth and the one behind, the complimentary sun figure hasn’t got Amun in the picture. It is all so subtle but so obvious once you are shown.

But when Dr Andrzej gets on to hieroglyphs omg, the moment his stuff gets published go out and get a copy, some of the interupretations etc are amazing. There is no point in my trying to explain without pictures and I didn’t feel I ought to ask to take pictures before publication. Anyway I don’t think my memory card is that big!!

I saw Senenmut pictures and erasures and interestingly enough one of these would not have been hidden when the door was opened as the door hinge was on the other side.

We clambered up to the Tuthmosis III temple which was so much bigger than I imagined., I had seen the reconstructions but when you are looking from below it doesn’t seem big enough but when you are up there. It is quite amazing how big it was. It was a cult temple used for the worship of Amun and Hathor and the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, no mortuary aspect as he had his mortuary temple down below in the northern Assasif. Quite ruined obviously but there is quite a lot up there.

My head is literally buzzing from everything he told me, why Anubis was erased, why the royal ka wasn’t, how tiny scraps of stone from statues gives them a clue about the original placement, how uraeus were removed making statues non royal, the Ptolemaic chapel at the back of the Amun chapel with statues of Amenhotep son of Hapu and Imhotep with ladies of their household with the most improbably boobs. I felt like I had never been to the temple and just seen a completely new site.

Thank you Dr Andrzej and Moustafa Wazery so much

Monday, 8 March 2010

Fall of Senenmut - New Evidence from the temple at Deir el Bahri - Dr Andrzej Ćwiek

This week’s lecture was by Andrzej Ćwiek and what a riveting one it was. I also got to spend the rest of the evening with him and I thought I just died and went to heaven. He is doing a lot of work at the temple and was showing me loads of pictures illustrating his work with hieroglyphics. If you remember the lecture by Francesco Tiradritti about art there was a lot of similar work and indeed they had Francesco out on site. He is looking at all the variations of hieroglyphs and trying to identify if they are variations or new glyphs. Also when glyphs have colour on they it makes previous assumptions about what they were problematic. Like Francesco talked about black bread there are other glyphs whose representation ought to challenged as the colour does not fit at all. It was fascinating. We talked about whether it was Hatshepsut or not, new technical procedures, who did what damage at the temple. Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Amarna or 26th dynasty, Hatshepsut and goddess who were daughters of Re. Sooooooo much. He briefly mentioned his Phd so I did a little search and found it

Anyway here is the lecture, fortunately English is not his native language so he pauses a lot and gave me enough time to take notes, next week it is Otto Schaden who is another delight to take notes from as he speaks very slowly and deliberately. I love lecturers like that : )

The title was supposed to be the Fall of Senenmut but had been publicized as the Full of Senenmut and he did a very neat work play about that. Pretty impressive for a non native speaker it certainly made the audience laugh. Although he was doing the presentation it was a joint project between him and Marta Sankiewicz. His particular interest is Old and Middle Kingdom evidence and links and her orientation and whilst they were working they got into the Senenmut evidence.

Senenmut was an especially favoured by Hatshepsut, to an amazing degree the object BMEA1513 says “My mistress repeated favours for me….” Were they more than just good friends? Hatshepsut had two fathers Tuthmosis I and Amen Re so her mother had two lovers, could Hatshepsut have decided to have two lovers also. The story is the building of the whole complex but what can be said safely stripping away conjecture and romance.

This is not the first example of separating the tomb from the mortuary complex. It is the same as the Old Kingdom mortuary temple which is attached to the eastern side of the tomb complex. It is just that the tomb complex in this case was the mountain itself. (I have often heard that the intention of KV20 was to continue on its original axis and end up under the temple).

It is believed to have been started during her 7th regnal year when she assumed the full titlulary and attributes of king. Although she represented herself as a king she stressed her feminity and Dr Andrzej showed a number of slides where although she was portrayed as a king she was definitely feminine. Although she started to be king and have a co-regency around year 7 she used the same regnal years as Tuthmosis III.

Senenmut was her main supporter; he was a man of very humble origins that she had raised to a position of power. The burial of his parents identifies them as having no titles. He was VERY closely connected with Hatshepsut and Neferure. He had 90 titles and most of these were connected with posts to do with money.( btw I contacted Kento Zenhiro about his funerary cones and they are type 84, 88 and 261 check Kento believes funerary cones show the titles most important to the owner and the ones on the cones are Steward of Amun, Senenmut, prophet of the (the barque) 'Userhatamun', Senenmut justified, steward of the king's daughter, Neferure, Senenmut, overseer of the cattle of Amun, Senenmut. Overseer of the double granary of Amun, Senenmut, overseer of the fields of Amun, Senenmut, steward of the god's wife Hatshepsut, Senenmut, chamberlain, Senenmut justified. Chief steward of Amun, born of Ramose, born of Hatnefer
Neither of his tombs mentions a wife or children and Dr Andrzej believes he did not have any.

There is a well know picture located in the bottom of a Middle ‘Kingdom tomb that was probably used as shade during the building of the temple. It shows a man having sexy doggy style with a female wearing a nemes head cloth but it is a pure guess that this is Senenmut and Hatshepsut. There is graffiti of Senenmut with a big head which does show he was well known.

The statues that show him with Neferure are an exceptional and unusual group. There is one of him standing and holding Neferure in Chicago which has been suggested shows a fatherly pose. But the only thing that is safe to say is that he had a very important role in her life and was her tutor.

Neferure was removed from inscriptions or changed to her grandmother for uncertain reasons but not everywhere. The last inscription is in year 11 where a stele in the Sinai shows Neferure and Senenmut offering to Hathor in poses similar to that of a reigning monarch. It could be a connection with Senenmut going down.

There is no proof that Senenmut was the architect however he was the overseer of temples. The well known figures behind the shrine doors have given rise to this idea. The popular misconception was that there were some tiny figures behind a couple of doors in the sanctuary but the reality is that he is in at least 74 places (found by Marta) behind many doors in many places. Another misconception is that his fall was because of this hidden action and when Hatshepsut found out he dared to do this he lost his place. However the text in the Amun chapel makes it quite clear that Senenmut had been granted this unique privilege by Hatshepsut not only at Deir el Bahri but at all cult temples and his figure is know in 2 other places the Mut temple at Karnak and at Elephantine.

There is some cryptographic writing used as a frieze and Senenmut was probably the creator of this as it is shown in 3d with his own statue at Brooklyn and Fort Worth. This symbol of a cobra seated within a ka sign with a sun disk is actually on the top of the Hathor columns in the Hathor shrine in the temple. From below it just looks like two double urea but when you climb to that level you can actually see the hammered out ka arms either side of the urea. This was also perhaps invented by him. The falcon at the bottom of the ramp was also embracing a cobra with a sun disk on a ka sign. Like the statue of Kafra with the Horus falcon transferring the divine, royal Ka to the king. There were at least 70 sandstone sphinxes which were found by Winlock.

The tomb TT71 faces east to the midpoint between Karnak and Luxor temple. In the niche above the tomb there is a statue of Senenmut with Neferure in the style of the block statues. TT353 goes under the courtyard of the temple which stresses his devotion to Hatshepsut but he was not buried in either tom. TT71 was destroyed and TT353 was just closed. In TT71 not only his name but also those of Amun Mut and Hatshepsut were destroyed but these are the results of different actions. His name was removed (by Hatshepsut?), Hatshepsut’s name was removed later (by Tuthmosis III) and finally Amun (by the Amarna period?).

He was given a quartzite sarcophagus an enormous privilege but instead of being reused it was smashed to pieces. At Deir el Bahri there are 2 nice small pictures of him in the Hathor shrine but all the others were chiselled out. In the upper shrine of Anubis the carving had not been completed but there was a sketch of Senenmut so almost at the same time they were still carving his name and then were destroying it. This chapel is a later addition around year 16.

There are other pictures of Senenmut in the decoration. On the northern wall of the punt portico there is a large figure of the queen which has been erased. There are 3 officials in front of the queen which have also been erased Howard Carter (working under Naville) did an extremely good drawing recreating the text and showing the damage. However when you look at the damage it is done by a different hand. The first official is identified as Nehes and then the next 2 figures it says dignitaries of the king. The second figure is named as Senenmut and the third is unidentified. The name of Senenmut has been removed by a left handed carver making the two dignitaries unmade general figures. The subsequent erasure was by a different figure.

In the obelisk scene Senenmut was there in the prow of the boat and the left handed guy has removed this during Hatshepsut’s reign. Also by the rope of the tug boat there was a navigational inscription ‘turn left’ this has been removed and replaced further over. This has given them enough room to insert the names of the dignitaries, so for some reason it was important to name these dignitaries and one of these was Minmose overseer of the granaries, a title that used to be held by Senenmut.

In the temple courtyard there is a small gate on the northern wall and beside this is the tomb MMA59, this is a reused grave but the coffin of the original owner was used to block the shaft and therefore we know his name Minmose. This tomb goes under the courtyard and is therefore located within the temple prescient like TT353, this is not by chance. So did Minmose take over the favourite position from Senenmut?
Fantastic lecture bet you wished you were there

Friday, 5 March 2010

New Luxor duty free shop

The Egyptian authorities let people arriving in the country buy 4 bottles of spirits within the first 48 hours you are in the country. You can get this at the airport as you land but you can also get it at a brand new duty free shop at Karnak

Monday, 1 March 2010

Amenhotep III temple

Well I tried to go to the site and have a sneaky look, no chance. Apparently the head is in a magazine store. Actually it was quite interesting looking at the site from the road. There is so much excavation going on, I was told there are 300 workers on that site. It is a large site but even so. The reconstruction of the statue Dr Hourig talked about in her last lecture looked almost complete, beard and all. The site looked drier than usual, no idea if this is delibrate

New Statue of Amenhotep III found at Luxor

This is one of the best links I have found on this story about the latest discovery in Luxor. The temple is just behind the colossus of Memnon and for years everyone thought there was nothing left. Dr Hourig and her team have proved that wrong. BTW when I say her team it is one of the biggest workforces you will see, there are loads of workmen there.

New Amenhotep III

Thanks to Heather Alexander of the KV63 team for the link