As we enter our second week of the campaign, you may be asking yourself whether these blog entries are appearing your inbox too frequently. Fear not, dear Reader! Our plan is a post every few days only while we are actively excavating. And this short, two-week campaign has only one more week to go. Otherwise, you might receive a post about once a month. And, of course, you can let us know what you think about the frequency or content of these posts in the comments section or by sending us a message using the “Get In Touch” tab above. We would be delighted to hear from you.
When we are not actively working at the site, this blog will have a new post less frequently, but it will still discuss issues related to our work at the site and the interpretation of archaeological material found there.
Speaking of such, in the course of our work even large architectural fragments must sometimes be brought back to the dig house for safe storage. This column base (in photo) is made of local limestone and the zigzag pattern on it represents the sepals of a papyrus stalk (a common motif on pharaonic-style columns). In our latest newsletter (“Oracle” 5, p. 19, fig. 54 – click the “Newsletter” tab above to access it) you can see a drawing of this base as part of an entire column (labeled “C” in the drawing). In our immediate excavation area we have seven complete or partial column shafts and six complete or partial capitals. But we have brought this one rather ragged base back to the house because it is the only example found so far of this base type, and if it were further damaged or even removed by the locals it would be a serious loss of information. In fact, when it was excavated by the Egyptian government in 1991, it was bashed but whole, but when our recent work began we found that someone had broken it in two pieces.
The photo shows some of our workers and me bringing the base back to the dig house on Thursday (22 October). The other photo was taken this morning, and it shows Hamada taking levels of the collapsed 1990’s baulk prior to our workers beginning to remove the collapse there to create a clean section. The tall white stick being held vertical in the distance is marked with measurements that are read with the auto level (which is the device in the foreground on the tripod). This technique allows us to plot accurate elevation measurements for features (layers) and objects as we proceed.