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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Group shot at Akhmim.
Statue of Meritamun.

Our first stop today is Akhmim near Sohag and Abydos. In the center of town are the remains of a late 18th Dynasty temple center to Min of Ipu (to whom Akhmim was sacred) at level about three meters below the present ground surface. We visit the area that also houses Ptolemaic and Roman temple remains – and elements of a monument to the Aten as well. You see most of the group looking at the large statue of Meritamun, daughter of Ramesses II, who temple gateway is preserved by low courses in the same location.  But not Maggie, who is busy snapping photos of the late 18th Dynasty royal statue left in pieces on the site. A seated Ramesses II is also recarved from a late 18th king, but the Meritamun may be original.

Maggie taking pictures.

Colossal statue inscribed to Ramesses II. Across the road in another partially excavated pit is the lower half of a colossal seated calcite or indurated limestone statue inscribed for Ramesses II. Nearby it are the inscriptions in equally large size for a queen, and there must have been a companion statue to the king’s. This statue has a princess standing next to each of the king’s legs, and the throne is decorated with Nile god figures tying together the plants of Upper and Lower Egypt. It was a magnificent piece, and a face to it lies up the hill covered in canvas. The altered face and the style and proportions of the princess statues make it probable, however, that this originally was not Ramesses II but an earlier king.
Examining the statue.  View of  carved princess next to leg of statue.

Group shot. As Maggie and I were both roaming over the statue, most of the group was looking on (and probably wondering when we were going to leave). And finally we did. Heading to Meir.

At a rest stop.

It was very hot, and we stopped briefly to transfer gasoline into the tanks. There is a distribution problem with gas here at present, and we had to bring out own tanks atop the vans to assure our having sufficient petrol for the whole trip. This is a time out on the way.


Climbing to the tombs at Meir.

We arrived at Meir more than an hour late due to the gasoline issue. The inspectors had been awaiting us so rather than eat lunch we took off up the hill to see the Middle Kingdom and Old Kingdom tombs at this beautiful site. We could not take photos inside so we cannot show you the beautiful relief and painting, but these tombs were published by Blackman many decades ago, and Naguib Kanawati is republishing them so they are available. [Blackman, Aylward M. The Rock Tombs of Meir. London and Boston, Mass. 1914-53.
Kanawati, Naguib. The Cemetery of Meir. Oxford: Aris & Phillips, 2012.]

View of the tombs at Meir.
Maggie and Gaultier. But Jay was able to snap a few shots from the doorways. First you see Maggie and Gaultier with the Old Kingdom tombs in the background as well as a view of these same.
Monika, Darcy, Sheri, and Hannah. Then you find Sean inside a Middle Kingdom tomb smiling back at Jay, then Darcy, Sheri, Monika, and Hannah in the same tomb (I believe), and finally Maggie, Katherine, and Marina looking very serious indeed.
Maggie, Katherine, and Marina.  

View of the Nile at Minya. The last shot of the day is a view of Minya’s Nile from our hotel room. Thanks Jay!


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