Tuesday, February 16, 2010
For the past week, a crew of workmen have been removing a century of accumulated debris from the Amun Temple so that we can study its construction. In 1917, Ambrose Lansing, who was overseeing the excavations, found white plaster still clinging to the walls in several of the rooms. Even now, after almost a century, some of this plaster is preserved. In some places, the layer of mud plaster over the bricks is as much as an inch and a half thick. You can see in the photograph below that the floor was also plastered.
This was done not only to brighten the inside of the temple, but also to protect the bricks from wear and tear.
In his account of the 1917 excavations, Lansing describes uncovering colored plaster as well. He found evidence that the main sanctuary of Amun had been painted yellow, and that the ceilings in two of the rooms had been painted blue with yellow stars. Over the past few days, we have found small fragments of these painted ceilings. As you can see in the photo below, the stars had five arms (as opposed to points).
Unfortunately, none of the pieces is well enough preserved for us to know exactly what the dimensions of the stars were, but they probably measured approximately 3-4 inches across. But fortunately, we can all imagine what the colored ceilings looked like, with hundreds of stars on a blue background.
– Catharine Roehrig
PS – On Thursday, February 17, we found a nearly complete star.