2007 Campaign - From 27th October to 17th December
Diary - part XXXII
8th December. After our "mini" weekend, that always seems very short, and more sleepy than usual we have begun the day.
We continue working in the zone B to finish the closing of all the space and thus protect the access to the house and that this does not continue being destroyed.
Allan and Vivian of the CNRS come to visit us as well as Susanne with whom we had an interesting chat on Senenmut and the entire historic structure with Hatshepsut as backdrop.
In the afternoon in the Museum of the Mummification of Luxor it has taken place the conference on the religious texts of the TT 353 of Senenmut given by the Director of the Spaniard Archaeological Mission of the Institute of Studies of the Ancient Egypt, Dr. Francisco Martin Valentin and presided by Dr. Mansour el Boairk, Director of the Service of Antiquities of the Upper Egypt, Dr. Mohamed, Director of the Mummification Museum, Ibrahim Soliman, Director of Karnak.
The Spanish Mission was represented by its directors as well as by all the Egyptian personnel: Handi, Hasan, Madmoud, Omar, Ahmed, Abdel Osman, Madmoud Hassan, Madmoud Hedar, and a group of the own Institute that is staying these days in Luxor, sharing some days with the Mission and carrying out a class trip to know in depth the ancient Thebes. With a full house and great expectation, Dr. Martin has gone reeling off each one of the walls of the chamber A, the unique one that conserves decoration.
Senenmut expressed diverse religious texts that, in many of the cases, were reserved for the kings. He mixed in a masterly way Texts of the Sarcophagi with Texts of the Pyramids, together with texts that he did for himself. In many cases did it in retro-writing for which its translation becomes complex. Without forgetting us of the ceiling, that gives three concrete dates of the Egyptian calendar.
Later he spoke about the existing mystical-religious connection between this hidden chapel and the temple of Hathor existing in the second terrace of the Dyeser Dyeseru, as well as of the location of the three chambers of the monument, two of them penetrate directly inside the sacred precinct of the Temple of Hatshepsut. For this we must consider the TT 353 not as a tomb, as up to now it has been said, but more as a cenotaph where Senenmut would receive worship.
Diary - part XXXI
6th December. Little by little the campaign is entering its final phase and the fact is that everything finishes!!
Before the fatur we have received the visit of 18 Egyptology students together with their teacher Dr. Fatma of The South Valley University of Qena as a first step of future collaboration between said University and our Institution.
According to what they have told us, the selection of the visit has been carried out among the students with better qualifications and that a week ago attended to the class given by Dr. Martin Valentin. Some of the girls told us that for them this supposed a great experience since they do not have any possibility to go out to "the work camp" and to be able to see in situ how an Archaeological Mission is. This type of exchanges seems to be unusual. We consider, that this way that have opened can be very interesting for all: in the first place for the students since they will be the future Egyptologists and also for us that we have the opportunity to have other experiences and also train, as far as possible, others.
After the end of the visit that has turned out to be another class in situ on the monument, the works that the diverse teams of the Senenmut Project have carried out as well as the personage and the usual photo for the history, we say good-bye to all of them with the desire of returning the visit to their University and to continue with this fieldwork the next campaign.
At the end of the morning we have received another group of our Institution that during some days is carrying out a trip exclusively to the ancient Thebes. They came along the ancient road of the workers from the Valley of the Kings and, although the sun already was strong at the time when they have arrived, the illusion of entering Senenmut was reflected in its faces. Francisco Martin has been the responsible for explaining to them in situ what has supposed five years of work of all a team that with a lot of illusion, has placed the Spanish Egyptology to the head of the international one and that right now is an example that is mentioned, of how monuments should have to be preserved, respecting their museum environment.
Diary - part XXX
5th December. After the distribution of daily tasks, we begin the day withdrawing all the rubble that we have accumulated next to the site. Before completely rejecting it we sift it as we need limpid sand with which we will cover the house for its final protection.
After the fatur the colleagues of the Franco-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak, Jean Francois and Anne have come to visit us and have been impressed with the magnitude of the monument of Senenmut.
Another part of the team has begun to varnish the wooden structure that protects from dust the entrance to the monument. It will be given him several hands of varnish for its total protection.
Diary - part XXIX
4th December. The sun climbs in the sky these days slow, and the clouds find it more difficult to clear the beautiful setting of Deir el Bahari.
We begin with the daily meeting and Francisco distributes between us the work.
Joseph is finishing the wall and with this we will leave the area closed and our "house" protected. Hassam and his little donkey have arrived punctually to the site with the water, the earth and the straw. Today we will do "jiba" to begin to cover the wall as soon as Joseph needs it.
First thing in the morning we have received the visit of a group of companions that has come to say hello to us. It is for all of us a moment of pride to be able to show to the members of our Institution the works that we have carried out here during the last years and that they have contributed to finance with their donations. To all of them many thanks as without their aid, this would have not been possible.
Another part of the team is sanding the wooden cover of the entrance to the monument. We will protect it again with several layers of varnish so that the wood suffers as little as possible the effects of the strong sun of the Egyptian summer.
Diary - part XXVIII
3rd December. Today the day wakes up splendid. The mountain of the goddess is silhouetted against the blue turquoise sky.
The morning begins working in the closing wall of the area. Joseph, our master quarryman, goes at a healthy rate. Surely we will finish before what was fixed in advance.
Before the "fatur" our companions of the Institute that have been for several days visiting Egypt with our guide Ahmed arrive. In spite of the fact that they have waked up themselves very early they come pleased, happy and expectant due to the visit. They have brought to us as a present the gold of the gods: some marvellous bottles of Rioja wine that we will drink as if it were perfume.
As they were many we have divided the big group into small ones and while Teresa has explained Deir el Bahari to one of them another one has listened to the explanations of Francisco that has explained to them the works that have been carried out in recent years as well as the ritual meaning of the monument and its relation with the area of Deir el Bahari and in particular with the chapel of Hathor that is found inside the temple of the queen Hatshepsut. At the end of the visit the usual photo as keepsake of this day.
Diary - part XXVII
2nd December. After last night’s celebrations, we return to the daily work.
The workers have been divided into two groups, one has remained in the site and the other one has gone to a nearby valley to bring more stones, as Joseph needs them to build his wall.
First thing in the morning we receive the visit of Dr. Jacqueline Thurston, of Paso Alto, California, who lectures painting and restoration in the University of Qena and these days is visiting Luxor. As she is a sensitive woman, the vision of the chamber with the starry sky and the perfection of the hieroglyphics have filled her of emotion and she has expressed that she has never something so beautiful. She has been delighted by the spirit with which we have respected the entire monument in order not to alter the vision that Senenmut had when he designed it, respecting with the special light the ancient environment.
In these days, there is a lot of talk of Senenmut and of the work that we have carried out in the area. This fills us with pride because we are being set as an example of how to respect a museum area as it is the own chamber.
In the end in the morning we have received the visit of Dr. Mansour el Bouriak that came accompanied by Dr. Atteia Raduam, responsible for the Monuments of the Upper Egypt in the Permanent Committee of the SCAE. A delegation of inspectors and area chiefs came with them.
On the way out of the inspection we have been congratulated by everybody.
Diary – part XXIII
27th November. Today we have devoted our day to visit the Faculty of Archaeology of The South Valley University, in Qena as invited professor. The invitation has been made by Professor Dr. Mansur el Nubi, of the teaching staff of the Faculty, and by the Vice-chancellor of the University, Professor Dr. Abbas Mansur. The teacher Dr. Zana el Rashidi, Head of the Egyptology Department Dr. Khaled Abd el Naim Chief of the Cultural Committee of the Faculty were in the welcome committee.
In the interview maintained with Professor Abbas Mansur, we have been thanked for our presence and it has been proposed to establish contact links between the University of Qena and the Institute of Studies of the Ancient Egypt to progress in the teaching of Egyptology both in Madrid and in Qena.
The lesson Dr. Martin Valentin has given has been received with great expectation on the part of the professors of the department as well as by the Egyptology students of said faculty.
The theme chosen has dealt with the political and historical situation of Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut with special attention to Senenmut, starting from the discoveries carried out and conclusions obtained after the works developed in the Senenmut project during the last five campaigns on the area of the concession to the Institute of Studies of the Ancient Egypt and of the TT353.
It has been a great experience to make contact with the Egyptian academic reality in a university of the importance of that of Qena. It only has to be considered that all the university students of the Upper Egypt depend on it and that at present it has 40,000 students registered in its faculties.
The opportunity that the Institute of Studies of the Ancient Egypt has been offered to do its presentation in front of the academic authorities and of the Egyptology students has been very important. Not only an excellent relation, that will have to be deepened in the future, has been initiated but through the class given as invited professor the esteem of the Egyptian University for the works that our Spaniards carry out in a monument of as much importance as it is the TT353 has become obvious.
The comprehension of the fact that said hypogeum is clearly linked with the temple of Hatshepsut has awoke the natural curiosity and a great interest by the specialists of the University. Because of it, in the next days it is expected to receive in the site an large representation of professors and students to expand "in situ" the information provided in the lesson given by the Dr. Martin Valentin.
It is an excellent piece of news for the Spanish Egyptology to confirm the interest of our Egyptian colleagues and to reach the same levels of representation before the Egyptian academic institutions that other missions of different countries of Europe and United States obtain.
Diary - part XXII
26th November. We continue the works in the slope of the zone B1 of our excavation.
Today we have found numerous bricks with the cartouche of Amenhotep I as well as some more of Ahmes Nefertary.
The bricks of Amenhotep I, which are the most numerous, have an approximate average measure of 28.5 x 13 x 7.30. We have located a fragmented brick with an exceptional cartouche of the queen Ahmes Nefertary. Teresa has begun to give to it coats for its conservation.
In the fatur (breakfast) hour we have gone to visit the Polish Mission that works in Deir el Bahari. Specifically they are copying texts of the third terrace. The object of our visit was to verify in situ in which state was a house located by Michalowski in 1976 and that presents similarities with our "house" according to the documentation to which we have had access.
Unfortunately said construction is again buried due to the various landslides that are produced in the mountain and that have caused the destruction of the Temple of Tuthmosis III that was built one part on solid rock and another on an artificial platform.
Again Yaga and David, members of the Polish Mission, have showed themselves very interested by the nature of our monument we have arranged the return of the visit for the end of this morning, after the closing of both missions, to review inside the TT353 some of our conclusions and to compare them with theirs.
Diary - part XXI
25th November. Here the day of the week in which we are can be known by the different groups of tourists that visit Deir el Bahari.
According to the last official figures it seems that the Valley of the Kings receives each day 14,000 visitors and approximately some 8,000 of those visitors also visit the Dyeser Dyeseru.
The figures speak for themselves. The most critical moment of the day is between 10 and 11 in the morning and it is amazing to contemplate the second terrace ascent ramp full of people. It is urgently needed to do something with the conservation of the monuments as if this continues the future of many tombs will be in serious danger.
We have continued working in the slope of the zone B1 of our excavation. Joseph the quarryman has come this morning to see how the works go and thus to calculate when we will begin to raise the stone wall to contain the slope and thus to protect the "ancient house".
We have received several calls from Spain to tell us that in the Sunday supplement of the newspaper El Mundo it has come out a report where they speak of our Mission and of the works that we are carrying out. This has filled all the team with satisfaction.
Diary - part XX
22nd November. Few visions impact so much as to contemplate each morning the Temple of Deir el Bahari. Its purity of lines, the colour of the rising sun in the stone... Really we feel ourselves privileged persons for being able to work here.
After the distribution of the each one’s works, the working day begins with a light coolness that will become heat as the hours go by.
Victor has continued his photographic work, reviewing all and each one of the photos taken and taking again some of them that present colour temperature doubts.
In the middle of the morning we have received the visit of Dr. Luc Watrin and his team of the French Mission GREPAL.
We have talked with them and had an interesting chat first about our monument and its nature and later of its technical aspects and of the future location of the replica as they are thinking about doing something similar.
Today is Thursday, payday for the labourers. After our cabinet works, surely we will go to Luxor "to burn out" the city.
Diary - part IXX
24th November. After our deserved rest today we begin a new week. We continue the works in the same point where we left them on Thursday.
The terraces adjacent to the "ancient house" continue giving to us several ceramic remains that are properly classified and documented.
Amongst today’s findings, a new adobe brick with the cartridge of Amenhotep I that we will document and place at the end of the campaign together with those of previous campaigns, in the boxes that our Mission has placed in the Service of Antiquities.
Other colleagues have come to visit us today: Judith Prince and Patricia Nissaive of London with whom we have had a pleasant chat about Senenmut.
At seven o'clock in the afternoon, like every Saturday, the conference in the Museum of the Mummification of Luxor has taken place. Today’s subject was supported by Dr. Cristian Thien, Director of the French Archaeological Mission who has spoken about the works that said mission is carrying out in the Temple of Armant.
At the end we had a "Paste-Party" in the house of the Italian Mission. Today we celebrated that there was a splendid full moon. Any excuse is good to meet with the colleagues and friends!
Diary - part XVIII
21st November. Today God Amun visits the Dyeser Dyeseru and even it is chilly. This is terrible for us because the equipments are being covered with dust and we have to be constantly cleaning them.
We continue classifying the ceramics as well as all the important remains that are coming out. A new adobe with the royal cartouche of Amenhotep I has came out and will be placed in the stores of the Service of Antiquities at the end of our campaign in the same place where those of previous campaigns have been placed.
While Teresa classifies and documents the remains, Victor photographs them in file order so that no data is lost.
Victor has also devoted great part of the morning to film different aspects of the campaign and of its members for that final documentary that will be carried out as another graphic documentation of all our work.
In the leisure activities, today it has been Victor’s birthday. We have given a surprise party in his honour with gifts, "cunafa" (he loves this dessert) and cake with candles. The "Happy Birthday" with its candle and desire has not lacked. For sure Victor has desired to reach another year more during the next campaign!
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