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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.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Finishing up - conservation projects

Restoration is a major part of our work at the Mut Precinct, as it is at any archaeological site. In 2007 we accomplished most of the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the season. Here are the results.


The east wall of the Mut Temple's East Porch was our first major project this year; you can see its condition at the start of the season. The foundations were in terrible shape and the single block of the intercolumnar wall had split vertically and slipped. You can see the split in the lower photo.
The inner (top) and outer faces of the porch at the end of the season. The foundations are firm, voids where stone had rotted away have been filled, and the intercolumnar wall is once again a single block.


















Our second project was to repair the small chapel and the granite ram just inside the Precinct entrance. On the left is what they looked like in December; on the right, the chapel restored.


Once the chapel was finished we could put the ram on its new base. It isn't very big, but granite is heavy and awkward to move, even with a siba.

With the ram in place we could finally re-attach its left foreleg and Mohammed could begin to fill in the missing areas.

The ram at the end of this week - a great improvement.













Looking east (left) and west yesterday along the row of rams, sphinxes and small chapels that line the enclosure wall east of the Precinct entrance. We don't know where the granite ram stood in antiquity but since it was found in this area, restoring it here made sense. It fits in well with its bigger cousins.

In Chapel D this week we built the new section of column out to the proper circumference and applied the finishing coat. As well as reattaching the inscribed upper segments we were able to restore a portion of the lower decoration.










The entrance and first room of Chapel D showing the results of our work in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Chapel D will continue to be a focus of next season's conservation efforts. The walls of the inner rooms of the chapel are very badly decayed. This year we were able to shore them up temporarily, but they have to be dismantled and rebuilt.


















Our major project next year will be to excavate the Taharqa Gate and to restore it as much as possible. We got a start late this season with the removal of an old baulk (left), but as you can see in the lower photo we've got a lot of work ahead of us.Lisa and her conservation team with the revived ram. Thursday was Lisa's last day at the site and we will miss her. Despite sandstorms, occasional shortages of materials, and the challenges of on-site conservation she was able to maintain her sense of humor and her thorough professionalism. Thanks Lisa!

Mary McKercher

Photographer

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