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labelThe Dig Diary 2002--Part 2

Wednesday 18 September

Today Ramadan (see photo 16 September) takes over temporarily as inspector from Ahmed as he has some leave to take. We continue and complete the bones from Shaft I.

Of the four separate skulls two are male, one certainly and one possibly female. Tony shows me how the elaborately mummified body we put together last year is female, and thus cannot be Senneferi as we have speculated from time to time. We are both fascinated by the manner of the mummification, in which plaster has been placed over the mummified limbs to fatten up the body and in effect replace the muscles.

Thus we have two males and perhaps three females buried in the Senneferi burial complex. Who are they? There are no names preserved among the burial equipment except Senneferi's. According to Tony two of the men and two of the women (including the fancy mummy) were aged perhaps in the region of fifty years, which would be a reasonable life-span for an important official like Senneferi. So perhaps two of the bodies are those of the tomb-owner and his wife.

I was already beginning to wonder whether two of the bodies could be of Senneferi's parents, Haydjehuty and Zatdjehuty. He often mentions his parents in his texts, and they are shown a couple of times in the tomb. Surely these people seem likely candidates as one would assume that any children of Senneferi would be buried rather later than their parents in another tomb perhaps, while his parents might have not warranted much of a tomb and he might have wanted to bury them near himself? I think of the famous official Senmut who buried his parents in a small tomb near his own. The lack of names of these other persons is still a problem however. As for the fifth body, I have no idea other than to speculate that, as it is a youngish adult, it might be a child who died during its parents' lifetime.

Then Tony starts going through the various bones from shaft H. More about this tomorrow.

The two male skulls from Shaft I

Commercial break: after work we had lunch at the Africa Restaurant near the ferry, run by an old friend of mine Aly Ahmed. It's very good; I promised him I would put a couple of photos of it on the web site.

Thursday 19 September

A view of the West Bank as we cross the Nile. The weather is cooler and much clearer today.

Tony has been looking now at most of the different types of bones from Shaft H, the second and smaller shaft in the courtyard. Click here for a 430k video. There are a lot more bones here, and all the counts are pointing at there being up to perhaps 18 bodies in there. There are no inscriptions which give us any idea of who any of these people might be, although some of the pottery found was identified last year as being 18th dynasty and later than Senneferi. So could these people be descendants of our tomb owner? There are as yet no particularly remarkable examples of pathology among the bodies, although there is some osteoarthritis. The adjacent photo shows a leg bone at the knee joint where the kneecap has been actually rubbing on the bone and scoring it. Tony says that, as nasty as it looks, it was not necessarily very painful.

Up to now I have had no specific jobs to do and have been trying to help Tony with the bones. Today something different happens; I have been told that the Inspectorate has been working in the objects storied in the tomb of Sennefer (TT96), and that they have found a number of fragments of a false door with the name of Senneferi. Today Ramadan opens the tomb for me and I can get in to see what it there and whether it is from TT99.

The fragments in the tomb come largely, I think, from the excavations of Mond in the area in the early years of the 20th century. Mond excavated the large shaft of Senneferi in 1903-4, which is where these fragments probably came from.

Sure enough, when I get in the tomb there are a number of granite fragments laid out, and I am sure that many of them come from Senneferi's false door, which I think was set into wall 2. It is suggested that I move them into TT99 where I can work on them and then store them in the tomb. I move 31 pieces of stone into the tomb, and start to photograph and make notes on them.

 The fragment at the left shows the bottom of a jamb of the door with the end of the name of Senneferi and a seated figure of the tomb owner. That on the right shows a longer text, probably on the panel in the centre, with prayers to Osiris, traces of a figure of whom appear at the bottom right. I think that some of the fragments I have moved now do not come from the door of Senneferi but from another one; Senneferi's door is characterised by the texts having incised borders (as in the left-hand photo above) and these other fragments do not.

All text and images © Nigel Strudwick 2002

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