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labelThe Dig Diary 2001--Part 6

Thursday 18 October

So far I've been pretty slow in showing you what April Farmer is doing for us. Textiles tend to get ignored in many excavations in Egypt, particularly tomb ones, where many just assume that mummy bandages are not very interesting. As I said before, we have some rather attractive textiles which are not often seen, and so there is no better way to deal with them than to get a textile expert, who are in very short supply within Egyptology. Such experts look closely at the material and techniques itself, rather than just what the implications for Egypt are. In the photos below, you see April examining the linen with a pocket microscope, and also measuring and counting threads. She has plenty to do:

On Wednesday Pam left us, but Tony Middleton arrived from England on the same plane. Tony is our photographer and is here for a week to clear up various things not done last year. We have to develop a list of priorities, and the first thing he does is to work on the pots with Gillian, as she will be the first person to leave.

I've also been rather quiet on what Julie is doing in the tomb. Her first priority was to relax the other pieces of decorated linen so April can work on them. She gets them ready for each stage of the process, and in-between she darts off to do the other jobs she has to do here. As well as the wall paintings, she has prepared some new boxes for the Senneferi mummy shroud found in the 1998 season. In the photo below you see her transferring one of the pieces into its new box.

Friday 19 October

Another well-deserved day off. Inspector Abdul-Rahman has kindly arranged for April to see the tomb of Nefertari, and she, Tony and I head off to the Valley of the Queens. I haven't been there for about five or six years, and it is a good chance to get some up-to-date photos. We visit all the tombs in the Valley which are open.

From the Valley we walk to the workmen's village of Deir el-Medina, where we visit the three open tombs and the temple. It never fails to amaze me how restricted is the range of tombs the tourists visit--there were crowds trying to get into the tombs of Sennedjem and Inheretkhau, but absolutely no-one in Pashedu. From the village it is a short walk round the side of the hill to the main road to pick up a taxi.

Friday is also something of a workday. Helen has stayed at home inking some object drawings, and once I get back I have to set to work preparing the list of objects to register from TT99.

Saturday 20 October

Another busy day at the tomb. I spend much of the morning working on the list of objects to register. I am still sorting them out, and today select the last group, that of a representative sample of coffin fragments. Among these is one of the most interesting ones we have found, that of a very rare openwork cartonnage of a woman called Nyny. Here is a photo of a couple of fragments showing ba birds and text. These fragments have to be photographed for the register book.

Julie and April continue with their work on textiles and wall paintings, while Gillian is starting to wrap up her work on the pottery as she leaves on Monday. Much of the day is spent with photography. Tony sets up his equipment in the tomb, and we work through things like the papyri and the shroud and the shabtis. Here you see him in the tomb, and Helen and Julie unpacking one of the shroud fragments for photography.

Sunday 21 October

Another day much as before. Helen and I have been worrying about the whereabouts of our team member Evan York, who should have arrived in the middle of the night. It eventually transpires that Egypt Air cancelled his flight from Cairo, and he had to spend the night at the airport...

Julie has now done most of the textiles which April is studying. Here you see Julie working on a wall, checking her condition survey of the tomb. This is a set of images of the paintings on which she has marked the various problematic areas of plaster, and where the plaster has also been treated. This survey will form part of the publication of the tomb, and is (I think) the first time a private tomb has been so treated.

Suddenly a yell goes up from the courtyard: 'Pelicans!'. Helen has spotted a huge flight of these birds travelling south, and they make a wonderful sight.

Otherwise, we keep on photographing. Gillian finishes the pottery, and at the end of the day says farewell to Abdul-Rahman. It's always sad when you have to say goodbye to TT99!

All text and images © Nigel & Helen Strudwick 2001

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2014