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Violaine and Scott Discussing Trench
Early this morning Violaine and Scott discuss the features in his narrow trench running east-west across the west side of the Second Court. Now that we are in deep levels below the New Kingdom temple there are mud brick walls going in several directions, as well as surfaces with large areas of charcoal. Today is the next to last opportunity to decide what we need to further explore, and we are deciding to remove a mud brick wall in order to investigate the surfaces beneath.
Elaine in the Eastern Square
Elaine has her last session in the easternmost of her squares where three of her four storage-type bins are located. These circular structures have been interesting but frustrating, because the excavation of their interiors has not successfully determined their bottoms. But Elaine has not given up and is still examining the surfaces within and without.
Scott and Adil in the Trench
Scott and Adil caught as they might be any time – focusing entirely on the task at hand – Scott drawing the brick walls in his trench and Adil working on a handcopy of the wall inscriptions in the Second Court.
Statuette Fragment
Our clearance on the eastern side of the Second Court, where we will place more bases to hold Sakhmet statues, today produced this fragment of a statuette. The small steatite piece preserves a fragment of a wig (on the left) and a bit of the back pillar that fortunately identifies the famous person represented by the statue. The inscription reads Nfrt-iry mrt n Mwt [`nh.ti], “Nefertari, beloved of Mut, may she [live].” This is the principal wife of Ramesses the II (the Great), for whom the great pharaoh built a beautiful tomb in the Valley of the Queens and a temple at Abu Simbel.
Elaine and Elizabeth Brushing Bricks
Elaine and Elizabeth spent the afternoon brushing bricks from the great enclosure wall Elaine has exposed west of her regular squares. Trying to get ready for Jay’s pictures, they mostly got just filthy.
Scott Drawing
Scott working on his drawing of the brick walls in his east-west trench. He sort of sums up the experience of work here – hard work but in a fantastically wonderful setting.
Elaine's West Trench  Intact Pottery Jar Found
Elaine’s west trench had this great floor with lots of organic material still visible – and the fired brick of the priest Menkheperre (Dynasty 21), if you recall. Today she dug another ten centimeters and came down on more pottery in situ, including this complete jar. A real beauty.
Scott's Long Trench
This is an amazing shot by Jay of Scott’s long east-west trench that runs by the front of the temple platform. We can see a thousand years of temple history in this trench. From top (background) to bottom (foreground): The first exposure are the sandstone pavers right at the center of the temple’s processional way. These are subfloor to the paving stones set in place by the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (ca. 700 B.C.) remodelers of this courtyard, and they may belong to an earlier period. Next you see a light area against the dark silt. This is a sand layer that underlies a mud brick wall, preserved to only two courses. The level here is already beneath the fill of the New Kingdom that built up the ground level in the early New Kingdom. The brick wall is related to pottery of the Second Intermediate Period, ca. 1650 B.C. The next feature you see is a circular one. This is a round surface entirely of organic material, predominantly charred. This whole area shows charcoal as well as large numbers of Second Intermediate Period bread molds, used to make temple offering breads. In the foreground at the end of the cut are two limestone blocks set across the trench, at a level just beneath the stone platform on the right. These represent the stone footing for pillars in a courtyard of the New Kingdom, ca. 1400 B.C. So this is a truly fascinating area that we are most glad we have looked at.

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