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Trench Behind the Sacred Lake
Elaine’s trench behind the Sacred Lake continues to be busy. Today she reached the bottom of her north-south wall and began to investigate the storage pits on both sides of it. The pits are against the wall on two sides, at its lowest level, and may have been deliberately set into it. Now there are new bricks visible on the north of the trench (your right) in the profile, and at a level equal to the lowest level of the north-south wall. A few more bricks are running, like these, east-west on the other side of the north-south wall. Confused yet? We’ll keep at it to understand the architecture soon enough.
18th Dynasty Pottery Find
Remember when we said we were looking for New Kingdom residential areas. Well, the pottery we’ve been getting in Elaine’s trench has appeared to be New Kingdom for several days now, but we’ve been waiting for a piece that is truly diagnostic of a limited time period – rather than just “New Kingdom” which can be anything from 1550 to 1100 B.C. In the first layer below the north-south wall this sherd appeared, and it is a definite mid-18th Dynasty ceramic. The type pottery for the mid-18th Dynasty had a beige ground and was painted with red and black stripes. In the reigns of Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV there was sometimes also a blue stripe – as here. The date is rather confined, therefore, most probably to the period between 1427-1391 B.C., and that’s exactly the time we are trying to study. So perhaps now we can widen our search in other squares to look for similar levels.
Examining a Statue Fragment
A small indurated limestone statue fragment came up in the second court a few days ago. It is badly destroyed on its front, and preserves only the shoulders, a bit of a necklace, and a neck, along with the bottom of a wig of a type popular in the 25th and 26th Dynasties. Today Scott cleaned the statue and discovered some inscription on the back that still remains intact. It is not a great deal to work with but obviously refers to the person who dedicated the statue, most probably around 700 B.C. From left to right, trying to make a hand copy and a first stab at the text are Fatma Ismail, Betsy Bryan, and Scott Rufolo. Scott is pointing at a sign we are trying to puzzle out. When the statue is cleaner, we’ll put a picture on the web for all to see.
Copying an Inscription
Betsy Bryan’s notebook where she, Fatma, and Scott are attempting to make a hand copy of the statue inscription.
Gateway of Thutmose III
The eastern extension from the Gateway of Thutmose III where yesterday Violaine and Elizabeth came down on some mud bricks, a few in a single line and others obviously collapsed. On the west and east sides of the single line of brick is visible a blackish line indicating organic remains. Perhaps there had been a basket here at one time which has now disintegrated. Whatever the source, its imprint is entirely clear.
Measuring the Bricks
Elizabeth is drawing the narrow brick wall that has emerged in the Gateway of Thutmose III trench. Here we see her taking measurement of the bricks, using a string line as a point of reference from which to begin her measurements.
18th Dynasty Pottery Fragment
Today was the day for the mid-18th Dynasty (and something else you’ll see in a minute)! Having hoped for it behind the Sacred Lake and gotten it today, we were rewarded a second time in the second court of the temple, where Scott Rufolo has been digging beneath the 25th Dynasty temple floor level to look for 18th Dynasty foundations – or indications. Here he holds a fine piece of mid-18th Dynasty pottery – a quality found in temple or good tomb offerings. We still need to look at the rest of his pottery carefully, so we certainly don’t know we’re in a good New Kingdom setting, but it’s at least hopeful.
Rain in Egypt!
Look at that sky! Sandra Fischetti said to me a few minutes before this picture taken: “It looks like it’s going to rain”. I, the veteran of 26 seasons in Egypt said, “Naaa, it’s not going to rain.” Well, guess which one of us was right, the one who goes to Egypt or the one who lives in London?
Sakhmet in the Rain
Poor Sakhmet! Here she is in the rain, with a puddle in her lap. This is a bit frightening for all of us who know Sakhmet and her power. She may very well take this one out on us. We’ll be sure to take offerings to the site Saturday.
Calling it a Day
A few minutes into the rain it became apparent that in this brrrr cold wetness we could not continue to work. Many of the men are barefoot, and none of us has weatherproofed clothing. So, Reis Farouk blew the whistle. Cheers go up!!! Everybody gets to start the day off two hours early.
Walking in the Rain
Betsy Bryan wet and freezing, like everyone else here today, walks toward the gate of the temple. All we can do is laugh. Tomorrow we’ll have our day off and make a trip to Dendera and Abydos. It had better not rain!
Driving in the Rain
Riding home to the Emilio Hotel in the rain. Sure is strange.

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