Friday February 3, 2012
We are back in Luxor! This third season, scheduled for February 2011, had to be postponed because of last year’s historic events in Egypt – Diana Craig Patch and Catharine H. Roehrig (MMA) had plane tickets for January 29, Peter Lacovara (Carlos Museum) was working at Abydos and the expedition in that area were evacuated. We are all very glad to be back!
This year we joined up in Cairo on Sunday, January 29. We spent several days in Cairo taking care of business. First we stopped in at the American Research Center in Egypt to say hello to old friends and pick up Madame Amira, who accompanied us to the offices of the Supreme Council of Antiquities where we collected the papers that give us the permission to work in Egypt. Later we ran some errands and, on Wednesday, we came down to Luxor. Once again, thanks to the generosity of our friend Ray Johnson we are staying at Chicago House, home of the Epigraphic Survey in Luxor.
Friday is the Moslem holy day and will be our day off each week. Tomorrow is the Moulid al-Nibbi, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. This is a holiday in Egypt, but because our season is only one month, our workmen and our antiquities inspector have generously agreed to work with us.
The “Narrow House” in the south village at Malqata. Photograph courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This season we continue one of our long term goals, a detailed plan of the palace-city of Amenhotep III known locally as Malqata, which is how we refer to our site. Our surveyor, Joel Paulson (who arrives today), has been able to make an overall map of the site using plans made 101 years ago by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum. However, we have not been able tie in a huge plan of an area called the “south village.” So, tomorrow, Catharine and Joel will try to locate the position of the “narrow house” – a long narrow building that is between two of the Birket Habu mounds. To do this, they will use old photographs, like the one above, that show the house in relation to the desert cliffs and the Coptic monastery in the upper center-left of the photograph.
More on this tomorrow.
– Catharine Roehrig, Peter Lacovara, and Diana Craig Patch
p.s. Happy Birthday, Diana!