Thursday, 8 April 2010

Ray Johnsons lecture again

Just got an email from Ray Johnson who had looked at my notes on his lecture. He apologised for throwing so much information at me which is the nicest way of saying you got some stuff wrong I have ever heard, and offered me a corrected version. He is such a gentleman. Any other lecturers who want to do this I would be delighted to accept. So here is Ray's lecture again.

Chicago House 2009-2010 season Ray Johnson

It was nice that the last lecture of the season was Ray as I really admire the work they do in Luxor and how accessible they make their publications. Indeed he opened his lecture by announcing that yet another publication was available for FREE DOWNLOAD.

There are over 100 titles on the Oriental Institute Publications website ‘Egypt’
category that are available for free in low resolution PDF’s, and they are pleased that rather than seeing a drop in hard-copy sales it has actually resulted in an increase. The link is here:
and if you look you can see a dollar sign or a downward arrow. The downward arrow gives you the free PDF. They are looking to get everything online and are thankful for the donation from Lewis and Misty Gruber that made scanning possible.

This year they were working at Medinet Habu, TT107, and Khonsu and Luxor temples

Medinet Habu
Chicago House has just published ‘Medinet Habu IX: The 18th Dynasty Temple Part 1, the Inner Sanctuaries,’ the first volume in a series of six for the small Amun temple. At the moment they are working on the drawings for Volume X dedicated to the Ambulatory of the 18th Dynasty Temple. In the 29th dynasty Pharaoh Akoris added four doorways that blocked some of the Tuthmosis III inscriptions of the inner pillar faces. One doorway remains in situ, and luckily the lintel is hollow and accessible. Artist Sue Osgood, who is small and thin, was able to crawl inside to document the Thutmosis III reliefs using aluminum foil rubbings and film tracing. On February 16 the ARCE/SCA field school epigraphers met with artist Margaret De Jong and Ray at the small Amun temple for an on-site seminar on epigraphic documentation methodologies, the third seminar in a series that took place with Ray at the Chicago House library and Brett McClain at Khonsu Temple. There are a lot of different recording methods depending on the differing conditions of the walls being copied, and the Chicago House team uses them all. Chicago House has also completed a new block yard at Medinet Habu and this season moved 1200 blocks into it making a total of 2000; the moving of material from the old block yard to the new one will be finished next season. Against the back wall of the blockyard Chicago House built a covered ‘hospital’ treatment area, and different storage platforms have been designated for different periods of blocks. Conservation is supervised by Lotfi Hassan. Outside of the block yard there is an open display area on the right side where one can see 40 blocks inscribed for Thutmosis III and Ramesses II from an ancient temple to Sobek discovered south of Armant in the 1970s.
These blocks were found reused as a large, late-period stone tank for the breeding of the sacred crocodiles. It was in this tank that the excavators found the large alabaster pair statue of Amenhotep III and Sobek that is the centerpiece of the Luxor Museum.

TT 107
The owner of TT 107 was Nefersekheru, Steward of Amenhotep III’s jubilee palace at Malkata. The concession for this tomb was given to Chicago House after its publication of TT 192, the tomb of Kheruef, the only other tomb Chicago House has documented in Luxor. This first season consisted of a condition study of the tomb with Boyo Ockinga and preliminary photography of the sunk reliefs of the facade by Yrako Kobylecky, the quality of which is as good as Ramose, TT 55. The documentation of the tomb coincides with the surveying, cleaning, and restoration work of the Malkata palace itself by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Emory University. The SCA is building a wall around the entire palace area, quite an undertaking as the site is 5km and requires a 10km wall, but crucial to its survival. Cultivation was encroaching like at Amarna, where two-thirds of that site is now under cultivation.

Khonsu Temple
So far Chicago House has produced three publications of Khonsu Temple: the first court, the hypostyle hall and the rooftop graffiti. The temple was built by Ramses III out of at least 6 dismantled temples, some from the west bank (the mortuary temples of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep Son of Hapu, and Ay/Horemheb among them). During the last two years Chicago House has collaborated with ARCE on a floor restoration project, documenting reused blocks in the flooring before ARCE fills the gaps with new stone. This season’s work has focused on the court, where the flooring includes Seti I blocks. Because of the position of the blocks photography is sometimes impossible, so they have developed new methodologies, including using aluminum foil to get a rubbing and then tracing the foil. Many blocks seem to relate to each other, so they will put some of them back together on paper. Many of the blocks in the flooring throughout the temple refer to Khonsu, suggesting that Ramesses III took down and reused an earlier 18th Dynasty Khonsu Temple on the site. The building history is complex and challenging. One block has Ay, Horemheb, and Ramesses II’s names one on top of the another! This season 144 in situ blocks were recorded and 315 block fragments.

Luxor Temple
There has been a growing interest in Roman Luxor Temple since the ARCE cleaning of the late 3rd Century AD frescos in the ‘Roman sanctuary.’ Under Diocletian the temple was completely surrounded by a Roman fortification wall, or castrum. Medieval Luxor grew out of the Roman community, as Old Cairo grew out of another, more famous Diocletion-period fortress called ‘Babylon’.
ARCE and Chicago House this season collaborated on the cleaning and clearing of a section of the Roman castrum wall on the eastern side of the Ramesses II eastern Pylon and an attached bastion, both of which are in poor condition.
When the cleaning is finished next season, the wall and bastion will be consolidated and partly restored in order to preserve the original remnants.
Adjacent to the wall is a later, 6th century basilica that is among the largest and oldest churches to be documented in the Luxor area. Next season Chicago House will be focusing a new architectural study of this church and the almost 200 beautifully carved blocks and fragments from the sanctuary scattered through the blockyard, with an eye toward partial restoration. Chicago House has also started designing a series of educational panels like those at Karnak temple in English and in Arabic for the main axis of the temple. The orientation panel is already finished and awaiting approval from the SCA. On Monday, March 29, 2010 Chicago House opened to the public the Luxor Temple Blockyard Open-Air Museum, a collection of blocks and joined groups on display from the Middle Kingdom through the present day, most unpublished, representing 4000 years of monument building and decoration in Luxor. Under the supervision of conservator Hiroko Kariya, Chicago House has landscaped the area to the east of the temple where the public is now encouraged to follow stone walkways along the joined groups arranged in chronological sequence.
The blocks are behind a chain link railing to protect them from being touched.
Fragment groups have been assembled with brick and mortar backing, but all the blocks have been wrapped in plastic so no bonding has occurred, and the groups can be easily dismantled for changing displays. Plaster infill between the stone fragments has been painted with simple reconstruction lines that communicate to the viewer what is missing, aiding comprehension of the scenes. This was done to great effect on the Colonnade Hall eastern wall Khonsu barque joined group in 2006. The blocks have been put into chronological groups as well as subject groups. Lighting has also been installed so that the displays can be viewed at night when the temple is lit and open, until 9PM. It is hoped that the block yard will encourage traffic flow away from the narrow door in the apse, a terrible bottleneck during peak visiting hours, as well as being educational. The walkway starts at the barque sanctuary and leads along past Amenhotep III large blocks, then the chronological sequence starting with Senuseret I, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV/Akhenaton, Tutankhamen, Horemheb, Sety I, Ramses II, Ramses III, Egyptian creatures, the 21st Dynasty, 25th Dynasty, 29th Dynasty, 30th Dynasty (including Nectanebo I and Nectanebo II), the Ptolemis (I, II, IV, VI, VIII, and XIII), crytographic animals including female baboons with skirts, Roman, Christian, and Islamic. The displays are designed to be organic amd change occasionally, so things will shift around, and some groups will be replaced by new groups. There is also a viewing area for the great eastern Roman gate and Tetrastyle. The path then leads the visitor back into the Amenhotep III sun court where the last display is to be found on the eastern wall, northern end: 110 fragments restored to the wall itself, supervised by stone mason Frank Helmholz. They preserve a large scene showing Amenhotep III offering a huge pile of offerings to the great barque of Amun, set up on a stand in the middle of the court, followed by another figure of Amenhotep III and the royal ka. The block fragments represent only about 50% of the original wall surface, so the missing bits have been painted on the plaster infill by Chicago House director Ray Johnson for the comprehension of the viewer.

Sadly this is the last lecture, roll on the autumn

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