Thursday, April 08, 2010

Amice Calverley, the EES, and the temple of Sety I at Abydos

Egypt Exploration Society

With some gorgeous b&w photos from the 1920s. The Heritage Key article mentioned below dates to early February.

A fascinating article on Amice Calverley, who worked for the Society in the temple of Sety I at Abydos, has just appeared on the Heritage Key website here (see also the comment by Chris Naunton beneath the main piece).

The project to record the decoration in the temple remains one the Society's most significant contributions to Egyptology and its genesis is summarized in the introduction to the first of the published volumes, The Temple of King Sethos I at Abydos. Vol I. The Chapels of Osiris, Isis and Horus (London and Chicago, 1933):

“In the season of 1925-6 the Egypt Exploration Society, after excavating for some years exclusively at El-Amarna, decided to transfer its activities to Abydos, where the uncovering of the Osireion, interrupted by the war, urgently demanded completion. For this task the Committee engaged the services of Mr. Herbert Felton, who to many years' experience as a practical engineer added the further qualification of being a photographer of high standing.”

A selection of photographs taken in 1925 during the final clearance of the Osireion, under the direction of Henri Frankfort. The enigmatic structure had been discovered by Petrie while working for the EEF in 1901-2 but the monument’s situation beneath ground level meant that sliding sand and water seepage had prevented its complete excavation until almost a quarter of a century later, when the problem was finally solved with the aid of a gravity railway pulled by water buffalos, and a steam engine pump.

“The presence of Mr. Felton at Abydos afforded a welcome opportunity for recording the admirable sculptures of the temple of Sethos I, and his negatives provided the nucleus of what was at that time intended to become merely a photographic survey.’’

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