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The Dig Diary 2000--Part 2

Saturday 23 September

So we're up at 6:00 for our first day in the tomb. A small surprise greets us as we find a dog with a litter of three new puppies in the courtyard.

As is normal, the stones which have been placed in front of the door to block it need to be removed, and this is done by Nadjar, one of the guards. Then Abdel-Rahman has to remove the seal placed on the door for security and then open the door. The tomb of course is as we left it, with the dust having settled over the last nine months. Then we get down to work, which starts with checking various queries we have on our draft manuscript of the wall paintings.

Shortly before 10:00, the first of the rest of the team arrive. Pamela Rose, Gillian Pyke and Amanda Dunsmore are our ceramic team, whose job it is to finish off the study of the enormous amounts of pottery we have found, in particular the really interesting and important material from the burial of Senneferi. Despite having travelled on the overnight train from Cairo, they immediately set to work at continuing with the canopic jars put together last year; Helen and I continue with our checking.

Sunday 24 September

Ceramics: I don't wish to interfere with what the 'pottery people' are doing, so of course my notes on their activities risk being over-simplistic. Today was a day for checking over many of the details from last year, re-examining the very attractive marl clay vessels buried with Senneferi (for some examples see last year's diary), and occasionally adding an extra piece here and there. Some mysterious fragments of marl clay have tentatively been identified as parts of a lid of a canopic jar, and so we will have to get out the two lids we found already to compare them.

Wall plans: something we have been working on for the last three seasons is the production of wall plans of the tomb. A doorway and the two pillars at the back of the tomb still need doing, and so Helen and I get on with this and complete the doorway and one pillar.

The tent: it is often best to lay pottery out in the courtyard so as to be able to see lots of fragments at any one time, as there is not enough space in the tomb. However, with the outside temperatures in excess of 40º, this is not going to be easy, so we needed to find a shelter of some sort. Renée Friedman, the director of the Hierakonpolis expedition, has kindly allowed us to borrow their field tent, and today it is being driven up to Luxor. It then has to be carried up to the tomb and set up--as usual in Egypt, everyone joins in and has their own opinion.

Monday 25 September

Pottery: now that the tent is in place, we can begin laying out sherds outside the tomb and work out there for at least part of the day. One of the major tasks facing Pamela, Gillian and Amanda is dealing with the huge number of fragments of silt storage jars from Senneferi's burial. These large vessels could easily be 80 cm high, and for the purposes of documentation, one of them has to be put back together--we don't have enough time to deal with them all. So a massive jigsaw puzzle has to be done, without a precise picture of course.

They start with the necks of the jars, and joins rapidly start to accumulate. So many joins in fact that Amanda spends a lot of her time actually glueing the necks together to prevent build-up of piles of related sherds. By about 11:30, when it gets too hot to continue outside, no few than 14 necks have been assembled.

Wall plans: Helen and finish off the second pillar in the rear room. I take the opportunity to copy a few missing details of a drawing, and then we start to check the wall plans we have made already (see here for how they are made and work). I checked inside the niche at the rear of the tomb to make sure that we had not missed any details in there.

All text and images © Nigel Strudwick 2000

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