Thursday, February 25, 2010
Half of Libya transferred itself to the Nile Valley this afternoon in the form of a violent sandstorm that dove us off the site about ten minutes before quitting time (2:00pm). I noticed dust blowing from the west at about 1:15 and a couple of dust devils
came through – then, very suddenly, we couldn’t see anything and decided it was best to run for cover (even the casemate walls didn’t protect us from the storm).
It’s still blowing (8:30 pm), so we may be in for an all-nighter.
At the Amun Temple, we started by sweeping the walls and pavements so Charlie could draw them (see Charlie’s February 24 blog). In the past week, we’ve been excavating down to the desert in a few places where there was no preserved paving. We want to see how the bricks of the casemates (the substructure on which the temple is built) are resting on the desert surface (called the jebel here).
This week, Joel is working with some of our colleagues at Hierakonpolis, a site south of here that is connected with Egypt’s earliest history – the time before the pharaohs (see http://www.archaeology.org/interactive/hierakonpolis/). When he gets back on Saturday, we’ll measure the levels of the desert, the walls, and the pavements through the center of the temple and across the back wall so I can draw cross sections of the building – something that wasn’t done 100 years ago.
In preparation for leaving the site next week, we’ve started filling in some of the more vulnerable areas with sand. We’ve exposed a lot of brick edges since we started working almost three weeks ago, and we don’t want them to break, or completely disappear over the next year.
– Catharine Roehrig