Monthly Archives: January 2013

Kom El Hetan, Thutmoses III and Karnak – from the West to the East Bank

A few days of work have happened since the last blog, and plenty has happened since the weekend. The team woke up on Monday to find that it had been raining all night in Luxor, and it continued until the middle of the morning. So much so in fact that a huge pool of water developed next to the flat entrance. The inadequate drainage meant that around 3pm a van turned up and pumped the water away.

Reis Omer by the pool

Reis Omer by the pool

The poor weather, pretty incredible by Luxor standards, prevented any fieldwork that day (everything shut down, and it seemed pointless to survey using ERT and GPR on the West Bank) so a day of office work was planned instead. Continue reading

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Day Two at Kom el Hetan

More area to survey today behind the Colossi of Memnon on the West Bank. We started the day one person down, as Dom’s insides are still rumbling, possibly due to the Egyptian cuisine.  He stayed in to do some office work, and the rest headed out to cross the Nile. We continued the GPR survey behind the Colossi of Memnon, and ran two ERT profiles in front of the same. In addition Sarah’s search for survey stations from previous years continued with the GPS rover. She managed to find most points located between Kom el Hetan and the temple of Merenptah, and completed the morning surveying the bases of the Colossi for comparison with the survey data.

Sarah surveying in the north Colossus

Sarah surveying in the north Colossus

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THaWS Project – Start of the week survey at Kom el Hetan

The start of another busy week in Thebes and the team headed back to the West Bank to commence GPR and ERT survey in the vicinity of Kom El Hetan and the Colossi of Memnon. The bus stopped however for a short visit to the impressive brickworks on the east bank to the south of Luxor. A massive chimney and a series of arched entrances leading to the kilns mark the site on the banks of the Nile.

Chimney at the brickworks

Chimney at the brickworks

Staircase on western curved side of the brickwork kilns

Staircase on western curved side of the brickwork kilns

In addition to the main double row of kiln entrances and the office building, a set of mudbrick stairs run up to the terrace of the kilns. A great little industrial site in some disrepair, and a diversion to the main tasks of the day on the West Bank. Continue reading

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THaWS at Birket Habu – There is a camel on the line at Kom El Bir-at

Day four of this week’s work at Birket Habu and a 6.45 start meeting Reis Alaa, Reis Omer and the workmen. Our trip to work from the East to the West Bank didn’t go smoothly however, with a traffic jam on the bridge which lasted for an hour and a half before the blockage was cleared. We took the wrong carriageway across and joined the congestion.

Traffic! Continue reading

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Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey Starts

So the fieldwork in Thebes on the THaWS project is finally under way, with a cracking team of archaeologists and local workers, together with Reis Allah. Some time was spent last week getting the survey equipment from customs, and testing the instruments on the desert edge at Birket Habu on thursday. Work commenced today with Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) profiles across the southern side, and outside and within Birket Habu.

The British and American contingents of the team include the director Dr Angus Graham, from West Monkseaton in Newcastle.

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Angus at Birket Habu

Angus is leading the team looking at the manipulation of the ancient land and waterscapes of the Theban region. Assisting Angus in his adventure is his delightful assistant Sarah Jones. Sarah spent the first part of the morning sourcing a new hat for use on the project. In addition Virginia (Ginger) Emery from the University of Chicago (USA) and Dominic Barker from the University of Southampton (UK) form part of the team. Dominic is an experience archaeological fieldwork hand, with previous excavation and survey work in Syria, Egypt and Jordan under his belt. Ginger is currently working on a phD at the University of Chicago.

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Sarah Jones sporting a new hat

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Ginger photographing some mud brick

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Dominic Barker

Dom will be running the GPR survey, while Sarah will supervise the GPS work on site. Myself and Angus will be running the ERT  survey, and checking up on the rest of the team. To help we have two workmen, Yasser and Yusuf, supervised by Reis Alaa Farouk, of the Farouk family.

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Reis Alaa Farouk

There isn’t much to report in terms of results so far. Work commenced today on the Birket Habu in the southern area of the site, running an ERT and GPR profile across the southern mound of the harbour, and across the area of the interior. The GPR survey went smoothly, with  a 200 Mhz antenna being used, and a profile of some 2.4km being surveyed with waypoints surveyed in with the GPS.

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GPR survey at Birket Habu

The ERT went more slowly, with a Tigre 64 probe system being used, and probes being placed every 3m along the profile. As the survey started the traffic along the road and canal increased, to the point where carts, pulled by donkeys, carrying sugar cane became an absolute distraction, knocking out probes, and tangling tapes.

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Congested highway along the ERT profile, with probes and cable in the foreground

The reason behind surveyig the profile is to map the presence of the mound associated with the Birket, and any possible basins or channels located along its line. Some features seem to be present in the results, but there are plenty of additional profiles and areas that require investigation in the next few weeks. As things develop I will post up more information and summaries of some of the results. However, Angus and all of the members of the team will be updating the project website blog over the next three weeks, which you can visit at http://eestheban.tumblr.com/, or for more information look at the EES website at http://www.ees.ac.uk.

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Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey Season 3

So, after more than 15 months away from blogging, have finally decided to get back into writing. This happens to coincide with some new projects, most pressingly the latest THaWS season of survey work in Egypt, with Angus Graham and a great team of specialists from the UK and elsewhere.

The survey kicks off next week, and I will be posting as much blog information as possible during the course of the next month or so. Angus will be running the EES blog, and all members of the  team will be contributing to it. I will endeavour to establish links to the blog posts here also. Watch this space for more information, and in the meantime check out the Egypt Exploration Society website at http://www.ees.ac.uk/.

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