Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Today Ginger and I continued to work on the Amun temple at the north end of the site. Our workmen are cleaning the walls and the mud brick paving so that our surveyor and architect can make more accurate plans and elevations of the building.
The Amun temple was constructed on the low desert which, in the Luxor area, is principally gravel and sand over a stratum of low quality limestone. While building the temple, the ancient Egyptians created a series of man-made terraces. The back of the temple is supported by a series of casemates – rectangular compartments with thick mud brick walls that were filled with rubble. In some places, the walls of the rooms above follow the casemate walls, and the floors of the rooms are paved with mud brick that lies directly on the rubble fill as in the photo below.
One of the things we want to find out this season is whether or not the walls of the temple itself always follow the casemate walls.
Ginger spent part of this morning drawing some of the small fragments of sandstone that one of our workmen has been collecting from the surface of the site.
We have a few pieces of inscription, and some large fragments of the lintels that once decorated the temple doors. At least some of the door lintels, jambs, and sills were made of sandstone, as were the column bases in several of the rooms. Unfortunately, there’s not much left except rather small fragments.
When the Metropolitan Museum’s archaeologists were working in the temple in the 1916-1917 season, they found some stunning faience tiles and other decoration piled together at the southwest end of the building. The Museum acquired some of these tiles when the Egyptian Antiquities Service (as the Supreme Council of Antiquities was called then) divided the finds at the end of the season. These tiles have been reconstructed and are in one of the Egyptian Department galleries – but you can also see them if you go to the MMA website and look at the collection database. They are on page 13 of the Egyptian Art section of the database (http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/), or you can search for 17.10.1.
We aren’t absolutely sure anymore that these tiles were used in the temple. It’s possible that they decorated another building nearby.