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The mission of the Brooklyn Museum is to act as a bridge between the rich artistic heritage of world cultures, as embodied in its collections, and the unique experience of each visitor. Dedicated to the primacy of the visitor experience, committed to excellence in every aspect of its collections and programs, and drawing on both new and traditional tools of communication, interpretation, and presentation, the Museum aims to serve its diverse public as a dynamic, innovative, and welcoming center for learning through the visual arts.

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About the Mut Expedition

Since 1976, the Brooklyn Museum has been carrying out archaeological work at the Temple Precinct of the Goddess Mut at South Karnak, an important religious site for almost two thousand years. Dig Diary invites you to follow the recent work of the expedition in weekly photo journals covering every aspect of our team's activity.

About the Mut Precinct


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Richard Fazzini

Mary McKercher

Lisa Bruno

Previous Posts

I'll Be There Soon

A Week of Puzzles

A Productive Week

After the Eid

Getting Started

The Mut Expedition: An Introduction

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The Work Goes On

Because of technical problems and time constraints we were not able to post a blog last week, so this blog covers the 2 weeks from Jan. 26 to Feb. 8. The most exciting event of the period was the discovery of a gilded and painted lintel; it is described in a separate posting.
We finished up the south side of Temple A's Forecourt late last week. The various limestone and mud brick walls are now clearly defined, from the wall running east off the Lepsius Gate (right) to the foundations of the Forecourt's colonnade.

In the left photo, Elsie Peck (lower center) supervises workmen as they begin work in the area of the entrance to Temple A, while work on the Forecourt's north wall continues in the background. The photo on the right, taken at the end of this week, looks west along the remains of the paving of the gateway in the temple's 1st Pylon; not much remains.
We have now cleared the entire length of the enclosure wall, the north wall of the Forecourt, and have uncovered the bases and footings of the colonnade on this side of the court. The apparent 2nd wall between the enclosure wall and the wall of the Forecourt (mentioned last time) turns out to be a mud-brick re-facing that was coated in plaster.

In the past 2 weeks we have been able to start dismantling the Roman Period structures built against the Mut Temple's 1st Pylon (top). In the lower photo, Qufti Mahmoud Abbadi, an extraordinarily skilled archaeologist, brushes off the top of a brick wall to make the brick patterns clear.

Mahmoud, Bill Peck and I discuss the newly-revealed bricks while two workmen look on. It turns out this wall wasn't a single construction as we originally thought. The row of bricks under Mahmoud's hand is a later phase, probably added to support a vaulted roof.Once we're agreed, Bill begins to add the new details to his map of the area. The backdrop of temple, village and mountains is spectacular.
Dr. W. Benson Harer was able to join us again this season for a few weeks, and we promptly set him to work drawing pottery we have excavated. This is exacting work requiring a good eye, a steady hand, and much patience, all of which Dr. Ben has in abundance. Pottery drawing isn't glamorous but it is an important part of archaeological work. Thanks, Ben.

In the photo on the left you can see the restored east wall of the East Porch. Once that work was finished, we could go ahead and remove the fallen column that has lain across the area for hundreds of years so that we can excavate below it. The column drums are large and awkward to handle, but the area was cleared in a day.
Where the fallen column once lay we found a few remains of paving (center foreground), but most of the paving in this area was robbed out long ago.With the work on the south side of Temple A completed, we could turn to work in the area of Chapel D, west of the Precinct entrance. We are excavating the west side of the building both to discover how it relates to the enclosure wall behind it and to the Taharqa Gate immediately to its west and to provide enough space to carry out conservation work on the wall.
Here Qufti Ayman, another skilled archaeologist, is clearing the large re-used limestone block that forms the upper preserved course of Chapel D's northwest corner. The rear of the chapel seems to have been built mainly of limestone while the rest of the building is sandstone.

The north side of the big limestone block contains what appears to be part of an offering scene, but the accretions on the surface make it difficult to see details (left). Lisa Bruno, Brooklyn Museum conservator, couldn't have arrived at a better time. As you can see, the space she has to work in is very tight, but Lisa is patient and determined.

We also started a new conservation project: the restoration of what is left of a small chapel just inside the Precinct gateway and of the granite ram to its west, which here is being moved to a more convenient work location. The photo on the right may look chaotic, but the chapel's rear wall is almost finished and restorers are consolidating the blocks of the dismantled east wall.

The SCA has selected a sculptures from a number of sites in Luxor and elsewhere to be exhibited in the new Museum of Civilization in Cairo. Among the objects chosen are several uncovered and/or restored by the Brooklyn Museum Mut Expedition. This week, officials arrived to remove the selected objects, which include this magnificent and rare granite head from a large recumbent sculpture of a ram that dates to Dynasty 25. The ram is Amun, and the figure standing below his chin is King Taharqa of Dynasty 25. We are pleased that it will eventually be on display where everyone can enjoy it.

As most of the sculptures selected for the museum, such as this figure of a baboon, are too heavy to move by hand or siba, the big crane from Karnak was brought in to lift them onto the transports.

Since the crane was already on site, the SCA was kind enough to allow us to use it to move some large blocks in the area of Chapel D that we would otherwise not have been able to shift. Most important was a large ceiling block, which is now clearly visible for the first time in years.

Richard Fazzini

Director, Mut Expedition


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