In Temple A we are uncovering the remains of the paving that led from the gate in the 1st Pylon (background) to the 2nd Pylon. We suspected this path was paved but now we've confirmed it.
Work on the north wall of the Forecourt is finished and Bill has begun the task of mapping it.
We are continuing to take down the structures built against the Mut Temple's 1st Pylon. The week's first surprise was the discovery of the actual plastered face of the pylon, just visible behind the meter stick. It projects several centimeters in front of the taller remains of the pylon, preserved by the structures built against it.
We also uncovered a neat, brick-bordered oval in the center of the western room, seen on the left in a view to the northeast. It is full of pottery that Qufti Abdel Aziz is removing piece by piece while other members of his team continue to work behind him.
Herman te Velde, expert in Egyptian religion and iconography, was able to join us for a few days this season. He, William and Jaap discuss the work while standing on the north wall of Temple A's Forecourt.
One of the monuments removed from the site by the SCA at the end of the previous week was this large limestone statue of Tuthmosis IV (re-used by Ramesses II) that stood against Temple A's 2nd Pylon.
When we cleaned the area in which it had stood, we discovered a large hole where the lower course of stone should be. To our surprise, we discovered that the core of the pylon is mud brick; the stone is only a facing. However, one of the blocks in the upper course was held in place mainly by the pressure of the blocks on either side. Repairing this hole immediately became a priority.
Our restorers got to work filling in the hole with stone and the compound we use in stone repair. New blocks were cut for the missing lower course of the pylon; the first to be put in place is visible in front of the workman above.
When the patch was complete, our stone restorer, Mohammed Gharib put the final touches on the new surface. Below, the finished product. Mohammed's earlier repair to the north wall of Temple A's Forecourt can also be seen. He's a superb craftsman.
Talk about a flash from the past: pharaonic reliefs show stones being dragged on sledges, just as these workmen are doing. This block will be used in the new base for the granite sphinx behind them . The foundations for the base were being dug as the block was dragged in.
The work on those foundations provided the week's final surprise: in the last hour of work yesterday, we came on a large piece of black stone. Our foreman, Farouk Sharid Mohammed, supervises the excavation personally.
Here's the stone as it came out of the ground. It turns out to be the lower legs and feet of yet another Sakhmet statue, with the epithets preserved on one side. We'll clean it and stand it up on Saturday.
The week ended on a high note. Conservation work on the lintel is complete and it looks splendid, particularly the 5 gilded child gods. Lisa, Khaled and the Luxor Museum conservators have done a wonderful job. Congratulations!