TT99 banner

labelThe Dig Diary 2001--Part 3

Friday 5 October

Day off! Helen and I did very little indeed. Gillian Pyke had arrived late on the Thursday night and thus was also appreciative of a rest, but she did go with the rest of the team for a short foray to the mortuary temple of Sety I, but most of the day was spent resting!

Saturday 6 October

Readers from last year will recall that we had a tent in the courtyard so people, in particularly the pottery team, could work outside in relative comfort. This morning we acquired one for this season--it is the sort of tent that Egyptians put up for receiving visitors on important occasions, most normally a death or a wedding. Thus the first hour or so this morning was spent putting this up. The structure is composed of four corner poles with several pieces of the tent material laid over it:

A speeded-up movie of the process (500k) is available.

The pottery work today was very positive, with Pamela and Gillian working on the Shaft H sherds and also the remaining material from Shaft F. They have managed to do the quantification of the material and are now preparing to examine it in more detail.

The advantage of having the tent is that Pamela and Gillian can spread out the sherds and see them much more clearly than in the tomb--but of course they have to be protected from the sun. Heike also takes advantage of the shade of the tent to work outside where she can see her ostraka better.

Readers from last year may remember the Dog Diary, most recently updated in early 2001. On the way down from the tomb today we meet the mother dog again. Here you see Gillian with her.

Sunday 7 October

Today Heike has been working on an interesting ostrakon, and has made a number of improvements to the readings of this one. It was written by a woman named Sophia to her spiritual father Apa Andreas, and probably dates to the 6th/7th Century AD. It concerns him letting a man called Kalapesios come and bring her barley; it is very straight to the point without the deferential expressions typical of the period. It is typical of the relationships, business and religious, between monks and the lay community. Heike tends to agree with me that the ostraka in TT99 probably do not represent a community in the tomb, but were dumped along with other material in the courtyard.

Helen and I continued with sorting the bones. We are now looking at those from the bottom of Shaft H--the pottery from those lower levels looks of interest and is 18th dynasty, and we do have a large concentration of bone from there, so we need to add it to our list of material for which we make emergency documentation. Hunting among the bones this morning we note a number from a very small skeleton, that of a young child. Given that none of us know how to age a skeleton, we can only guess that it might be about 5 years or so old.

Pottery work today continued with finishing the Shaft F sherds. The material in it is actually rather uninformative and there is very little more which needs to be done to it.

Monday 8 October

Everyone continues with work as yesterday. Under the pottery tent, the feeling is growing that there are some Shaft H sherds missing. Helen and I were looking at the bones from the bottom of the deposit, and we noticed that there is virtually no bone above the 10th level of the shaft. Thus we wanted to see whether the interesting pottery also stopped about that level, and thus we discussed how to try and find a number of the levels which we had not got. Suddenly, as we were hunting around underground, Helen wondered whether it was among pottery which we had put down Shaft E as being of no further interest--in this case because it was thought that there would be no time for it. So down I went, and we found all the missing bags. The picture on the right of getting me out of the shaft looks rather amusing; we wonder whether readers would like to submit a caption to us by email?

Tuesday 9 October

Tuesday (and Saturday) is market day here. It takes place just across the cemetery, and traders camp out there from the night before with their wares. When getting a taxi in the morning it is frequently full of people with all sorts of shopping!

Up at the tomb, everything continues as before. Pamela and Gillian are now busy trying to put the sherds from Shaft H into vessels. In this photograph, you can see in the foreground the neck of a wavy-necked pot, of which we have a minimum of 14 examples. These pots are not well-dated, but are known from the earlier part of the 18th dynasty until Ramesside times. Other materials suggests that our examples are Amenhotep II-Thutmose IV.

Helen and I finished the bones from Shaft H, where we reckon we have at least 12 individuals. Helen and Pamela went off to see the site Director, Mohamed el-Bialey. I made some experimental photos of Heike's ostraka, to see how well some of the less clear examples showed up in digital images.

All text and images © Nigel & Helen Strudwick 2001

© Nigel Strudwick 1997-2018