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labelThe Dig Diary 2000--Part 8

Tuesday 10 October

The day got off to a dramatic start, as mother dog bit one of the guards who must have frightened her a bit. It is interesting to note how much more aggressive dogs are to people wearing galabiyas than to those wearing trousers. This is presumably because they tend to associate trousers with foreigners who feed them and perhaps pet them, while the locals tend to throw things at the dogs!

Bridget is due to leave tomorrow, and thus has to get on with mounting the fragments she has conserved, so that they can be safely stored and photographed. There is going to be no time to try and arrange them in their proper places. It is more important to get the stuff into a better condition.

Pamela will also be leaving soon, and thus she is sorting out many of the things which need to be done. Among these is photographing the vessels for her records; she is principally concentrating on those with inscriptions, since it is really good to have both the inscribed labels on the jars and the context of the jar. Our main problem is that none of us read hieratic...

I was working at the hotel part of the day, building up a list of things which need checking. Down at the tomb I copy a number of fragments from the stela which was originally in the tomb but which we have found in dozens of fragments in the courtyard and shafts.

In the evening we are invited to a party at the house of Mohamed el-Bialey in the western Valley of the Kings. He is throwing this party for the foreign missions, and the Director of Upper Egypt and Luxor, Sabri Abdel Aziz is also there. It was a pleasant evening, in a magical and very quiet place.

Wednesday 11 October

Everything is continuing much as yesterday. John has moved on to looking at the other remaining material, mostly pieces of wood from the burial chamber of Senneferi, which are probably from coffins. He agrees with that initial diagnosis, and comments how little is left--it really does seem that the burial was smashed up a lot, if we look at how broken the pottery is and how damaged the shroud and papyri are. However, the fact that we are learning so much from this material shows what can be achieved with careful work.

Nothing dramatic in the Dog diary today...

Today we were offered the chance to visit the first of the tombs on our study list this year. This was the tomb of Amenemhat (TT82), which is in the hill just above us. This tomb was published by Gardiner and Davies in 1914, but there are a number of things we wanted to check in it.

The tomb is one of the few in the necropolis to have a decorated burial chamber, which was plastered and inscribed with Book of the Dead texts; there is also a small decorated niche there.

The tomb chapel itself is quite well-preserved, with some very colourful paintings, as you see below. Note the stela on the left; in addition to bearing a date of year 28 of Thutmose III (which makes Amenemhat more or less a contemporary of Senneferi), you can see figures from an earlier composition visible through the paint of the stela. This is one of the most interesting examples of repainting I have ever seen in Thebes.

On leaving the tomb, the view over to Luxor was so stunning that I made this QTVR panorama.

Bridget has managed to get most of the papyri treated; her last job was to conserve and mount a number of miscellaneous fragments found over the years. These include bits of Third Intermediate Period Books of the Dead and various Coptic documents. She mounts these under glass as there are not enough fragments of the same documents to put them together properly, something we hope may still be possible for the Senneferi papyri.

Then we have the obligatory group photo.

At this point, we'd like to send a couple of messages to some of you out there who have been watching and reading the diary.

A big "Hello" to Class 6F at South Grove Primary School, and Mr Forrest, their teacher.

And another to F. Club at Church Hill Surgery, Pulham Market, and to Nurse Pyke, the practice nurse.

Pamela would like to say "Hello from Egypt" to Emily Waterson, and hopes she's enjoying learning about the Valley of the Kings.

Thanks to you all for reading, and stay with us, it's not finished yet!

When this is done, we bid her farewell, as she has to go straight from the tomb over to Luxor to get her bags and get the bus to the airport. We'll miss her.

 Thursday 12 October

A new arrival today is our photographer, Tony Middleton, from Cambridge. He came over with a vast amount of excess baggage, and enough film to make us think he was a Fuji film salesman. He sets up his 'studio' in the tent in the courtyard, where we can work in natural light while keeping out the strong sunlight.

We start with photographing the objects. Up to now, our photos have really only been study or record photos, but these ones are intended for the publication.

Otherwise, pottery drawing and reassembly continues, and Helen goes on drawing objects. John is writing down notes on the cartonnages, and is taking some record photos of his approximate reconstructions.

This evening Pamela will be leaving, so we will be going over to Luxor to have dinner and see her off on the train to Cairo.

All text and images © Nigel Strudwick 2000

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014