Features: Mut Precinct, Dig Diary 2006

2006 Dig Diary: Week 3

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Lisa Bruno and Hiroko Kariya

Lisa Bruno, Objects Conservator at the Brooklyn Museum, and her colleague Hiroko Kariya (on right) both arrived on January 15. They are discussing stone conservation in the Mut Temple's 2nd Court, where Hiroko is working with the Johns Hopkins University team on the conservation of blocks from the early 18th Dynasty Mut Temple, which were re-used in the foundations of a later phase of the building. You can see some of these blocks behind Hiroko.

William and Elsie Peck

William and Elsie Peck from Detroit also arrived on January 15th. Bill (left) and Richard discuss plans for the season while Elsie watches the work underway.

Brushing dirt from Sakhmet statue

Lisa gets right to work on a Sakhmet statue in Temple A that is to be restored this season. She is brushing off the dirt from the torso of the only standing Sakhmet statue in the Precinct; the feet of the statue are visible in the background. Unfortunately, this statue was never finished. Lisa will use a special epoxy to reattach the two pieces.

Moving statues for restoration

This year we will be restoring the last of the Sakhmets in the Mut Temple's 1st Court. Using our trusty siba we are moving the statues (or pieces of statue) so that new bases can be built. We will also build a mud brick wall behind the statues, following the line of the mud brick 2nd Pylon (to the right), to prevent dirt from drifting down over the statue bases.

Excavation in progress

We are making good progress in the excavations begun in Temple A's Forecourt. The patchwork of light and dark rectangles on the left is the mud brick foundation of the temple's 19th Dynasty 1st Pylon. Just to the right of the bricks you can make out the line of limestone blocks that faced the foundations and presumably the pylon itself. In the upper right corner of the picture, the siba supports the restored Sakhmet statue while the epoxy sets.

Elsie supervising workmen

We are making a small sounding in the Temple A square to discover what lay under the present foundation. We are hoping to find the remains of the 18th Dynasty enclosure wall for this temple. Elsie supervises the workmen and makes careful notes of their progress.

Strapping in a Sakhmet statue for transportation

While Elsie is watching the work in Temple A, Bill is overseeing the move of one of the more fragile Sakhmets that is to be repaired and placed on a new base this year. The statue has to be carefully strapped before it can be lifted.

Bill Siegmann visits excavation site

Much to our delight, Bill Siegmann, curator of African and Oceanic art at the Brooklyn Museum (standing on right), came to visit this week with some friends. Richard gave them a tour of the site and the work we are doing; we hope they enjoyed themselves.

Richard and Bill in Htpostyle Hall

After the visit to Mut, Richard took Bill and his friends on a tour of the Amun Temple at Karnak. Here they are in Karnak's Hypostyle Hall, whose columns dwarf visitors. We wish the columns at Mut were as well preserved!

Decorated tour boat

On the drive to the temple one day we noticed this colorfully decorated tour boat, very different from the usual bland white ships. Someone had both imagination and a sense of humor.

Rebalancing the Sakhmet

Before we removed the support from the now-repaired Sakhmet, Bill Peck and Lisa checked to see that she was sitting evenly. She wasn't, so Lisa drives wedges under one side to be sure the statue balances properly.

Restored Sakhmet

And here she is, back together after hundreds if not thousands of years.

Mound ready for excavation

The mound in front of Mut's 1st Pylon is looking much better than it did when we started. The overburden of debris has been removed, and we are on what we hope is an ancient surface. In the background the remains of mud brick buildings that were built against the Pylon face are again visible. Next week we will lay out our squares and begin systematically excavating this area.