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View of Ramesses III Temple
A view of the Ramesses III temple (ca. 1200 B.C.) looking west from the first court of the Mut Temple. In the back of this New Kingdom shrine Chuck Van Siclen has begun clearance work. He is planning some excavation to search for an earlier New Kingdom temple on the same site. He plans to clear floors in the structure from the rear to the front to look for indications of changed plans.
At the Thutmose III Gateway
At the Thutmose III gateway Mahmoud Abady directs his workers as they come down on scattered pottery. At the moment the material from this area dates to the Late Period, ca. 700-400 B.C.
Working Behind the Sacred Lake
Behind the Sacred Lake, the Qufti Eyman leads his team as they uncover and clean mud brick walls in Elaine’s square. This location already contains a number of long walls, and the amount of pottery is quite large as well. Clearly we are in a residential environment.
At the West Gate
At the west gate to the first court of the temple Yasmin El Shazly has arrived to take over where she left off last season. The westward extension of the trench, away from the temple and toward the Sacred Lake, will help us understand how the gateway itself was used in antiquity. Here Violaine points out mud brick tumble in the soil profile and notes that we can remove it with the other dirt fill, because it is not a wall, but the collapse of one.
In the Ramessess III Temple
Chuck Van Siclen leans against the wall in the Ramesses III temple, as he make notes about the architecture in the back room.
Second Court of the Temple
In the second court of the temple Scott Rufolo is digging a square to search for any clues to the early foundations of Mut’s shrine. Beneath the paving level of the ca. 700 B.C. court and temple we find large quantities of broken and fragmentary stone -- granite and sandstone primarily – and we hope to understand why as we continue the work. Here a sandstone fragment lies by the trench showing the delicate carving of an ear and nothing else. Is this a practice piece or a bit of an “ear stela”, a votive monument that represents the ear of the god so that he can hear prayers? Or is it something else?
Brushing a Fragment
Elizabeth brushes a sandstone fragment to make sure there are no stray hieroglyphs or sculptural decoration. The work at the gateway of Thutmose III is going quite well.
End of the Day
Scott Rufolo places the measuring rods in his trench within the second court of the temple for an “end of the day” photo. So far we have both large and small stones in this large square, but they don’t appear to be part of any architectural feature, including a pavement. We believe we have pieces deliberately dumped here – but we don’t know when. It might have been one hundred years ago when Margaret Benson and Janet Gourlay excavated in this area. They referred to at least one of the stone fragments we found in the trench in their 1899 book The Temple of Mut at Asher. However, it is also possible these fragments were deliberately placed as fill above the Twenty-fifth Dynasty foundations (ca. 700 B.C.) to give strength to the stone pavement layer placed above it – a pavement which disappeared long ago.
Behind the Sacred Lake Before
Behind the Sacred lake Elaine Sullivan has large mud brick walls running east-west (in the background), north-south on the right and northeast-southwest on the left. The nature of these structures is yet to be determined.
Behind the Sacred Lake After
Later in the day Elaine concluded that the far, or west side, of her trench had mud brick tumble and not actually walls, and so she removed it and continued digging. The walls are now even stronger, and we look forward to seeing her pottery tomorrow when it’s washed.
Removing a Bronze Fragment
Next to her south wall Elaine looks at a fragment of bronze with Violaine. They remove the fragment and place it in a film canister so that it can be protected and transported for study.

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