Week 1 (3-8 January)
In order to make this season a little longer, we begin a bit earlier than usual. It will be quite a bit different season not only in length but also in logistics and operations, as you will see in forthcoming weeks. It's partly because of these differences that Maarten and I made it longer, and partly because of our planned scope of activities, which we think are quite ambitious.
On 3 January the team's advance party of 4 linked-up in Cairo: myself, Annelies (our new main surveyor), and Nicky and Irene (our two field assistants). The next day I signed the contract at the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) and promised to return to Cairo for a meeting with Dr. Zahi Hawass, for whom the expedition hopes to find the bones of Queen Mutnodjmet. I also found out that the team's old friend Osama Es-Shimy had just been promoted to the position of General Director of Giza and Saqqara, and a new colleague, Ali Asfar, had been promoted to Osama's former place, Director of Saqqara.
'Beit Raven' is situated down hillThe next day the team departed to Saqqara and our new home, a ‘brand new' resthouse built at the foot of the desert escarpment. This is one of the major logistical differences. No longer do we stay in ‘Beit Emery'. Actually we are grateful to the SCA for requiring us to move - despite some tinges of nostalgia - since living at the old facility often seemed like camping in the outback.