The Brooklyn team leaves at the end of the month for another 2½-month season of work at the temple precinct of the goddess Mut in south Karnak. We’re all looking forward to the work, to seeing old friends that we only see in Egypt.
Starting in January we’ll be posting a weekly dig diary, as we have the past few years. If you want to follow the Brooklyn team’s work, check the website on Fridays starting in January. If you aren’t familiar with the precinct and the Brooklyn Museum’s work there, check out the Mut Expedition part of the museum’s website.
In the meantime, here’s a brief overview of the work we are planning for 2008 – just to whet your appetites.
For the past couple of years we’ve been excavating a group of structures built against the Mut Temple’s first pylon in the Roman Period, when the temple was no longer in use. We’ve almost reached the bottoms of the walls, as you can see in this view to the south. In 2008 we hope to finish removing these late structures and the thick layer of earth on which they sit in order to find out what was in this area when the temple was still functioning.
We’re also going to do a little more work in the courtyard of Temple A northeast of the Mut Temple itself. In 2007 we uncovered the stone north wall of the court and the Precinct’s mud brick enclosure wall behind it, both visible in this photo. We don’t yet know what’s in the space between these two walls.
King Taharqa of the Kushite 25th Dynasty enlarged the Mut Precinct to include Temple A, and built a new gateway and processional way leading to that temple. You are looking at the gate from the southwest; Temple A is in the upper right. This year we plan to complete the gate’s excavation and begin restoring it. This work will take us a few more seasons to complete.
The expedition will also continue restoration of the small Ptolemaic Period chapel just inside the Taharqa Gate. What is left of the chapel’s sandstone walls is badly deteriorated. We did emergency conservation of the west (left) and east (right) walls at the end of the last season. This year we hope to dismantle the walls, build new foundations to isolate the walls from ground water and restore the reliefs as much as is possible.
Richard Fazzini joined the museum as Assistant Curator of Egyptian Art in 1969 and served as the Chairman of Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art from 1983 until his retirement in June 2006. He is now Curator Emeritus of Egyptian Art, but continues to direct the Brooklyn Museum’s archaeological expedition to the Precinct of the Goddess Mut at South Karnak, a project he initiated in 1976. Richard was responsible for numerous gallery installations and special exhibitions during his 37 years at the museum. An Egyptologist specialized in art history and religious iconography, he has also developed an abiding interest in the West’s ongoing fascination with ancient Egypt, called Egyptomania. Well-published, he has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad, and served as President of the American Research Center in Egypt, America’s foremost professional organization for Egyptologists.