Diana, Janice and I arrived in Egypt last Saturday night and spent two days in Cairo. On Sunday, we got our contract signed at the offices of the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA), and then we went back to the offices of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) to finish some other formalities. On Monday, we visited the Egyptian Museum, where they have started allowing visitors to take photographs again. We looked for some of our favorite pieces, some of which were excavated by the Metropolitan Museum during the last century. A good example is the group of models found in the tomb of Meketre. These were excavated here in the Theban necropolis by the MMA in 1920. Half of the models were given to the Metropolitan Museum in the division of finds (for a model now in New York, see 20.3.4 (metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/577298), which is currently on display in the special exhibition Ancient Egypt Transformed, The Middle Kingdom, metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/ancient-egypt-transformed), and half of them are now in Cairo.
On Tuesday, we flew to Luxor and were met at the airport by Peter, our excavation manager, Hassaan, and our driver, Mohammed. We had to present our papers to the General Director of Luxor Antiquities, Dr. Mustafa Waziry, and then we drove across the bridge to Qurna and the New Memnon Hotel, where we were given a warm Egyptian welcome.
On Wednesday, we were introduced to our inspector for this season, about whom we will talk more in a later blog, and we drove out to have a look at the site, which has fared well over the past 10 months.
Today was Eastern Orthodox Christmas, so we spent part of the day visiting sites on the west bank. We particularly liked the three tombs that have been opened in the cemetery called Qurnet Murai. Two of the owners had a relationship with Amenhotep III: Amenhotep, called Huy (TT 40) was the King’s Son (Viceroy) of Kush in the king’s reign. One of the facsimiles at the Metropolitan Museum represents an entire wall of this tomb (30.4.21, metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/548571). The second man, Amenemonet (TT 277) lived generations later, but served as a priest in the king’s temple sometime at the end of the 19th Dynasty (for this tomb, see osirisnet.net/tombes/nobles/ameneminet277/e_ameneminet277_01). The tombs are charming and well worth the climb up the hill. That evening, Tony Crosby, our mud brick specialist, flew in to join the team.
January 7, 2016