Sunday, April 15, 2012

More news from Gurob

The southern looted tombs  (Rosa Spencer and Mark Manuel)

The southern looted tombs
Today it's our turn, Rosa and Mark, to write the diary. For the last two weeks, we have been working on the southern looted tombs, sifting through the spoil left behind by the looters in order to recover human remains and any other associated funerary artefacts that they left behind. In this case, it was plenty of the former, but not so much of the latter. Although within two hours of starting work we had recovered a painted shroud complete with hieroglyphs - not bad for the first day! (More on that later, post SCA report).

There were two main looted tombs, but the remnants of the looting had been spread over a much wider area, and every time we looked in a new area we found more human remains. Despite this, we painstakingly sieved our way through all of the spoil and recovered both intact and fragmented bones, including two complete skulls and several leg bones. However, we always seemed to be finding the left leg bones, which could lead to some interesting reconstructions.

Part of the fun of working with the human remains was trying to explain to the workmen, as well as our Egyptian colleagues, where each bone we found was situated in the body. 

A day in a surveyor's life (Liz Jones)

“Small beer – a very little diary account, full of odd doings and happenings”.

Archaeological surveyors are, by their very nature, the watchers within any expedition. A surveyor with ethnographic interests and access to a camera is a troublesome sort indeed. Snatches of time between recording the location of small finds, providing heights for the excavation trenches and mapping the distribution of tombs in the southern part of the site, afforded moments to observe the GHPP team at work; long, lonely walks to the peripheries of the site, scouting out possible locations for new control points, the perfect space in which to consider the quirks of our little GHPP sub-culture.

The 1st of April was notable not only for being Ole’s birthday and the day on which the site was accosted by the sandstorm, but also for the unofficial arrival of unofficial visitors - people we had not encountered on the site before. Strangers! Before lunch, when the weather was vexing us with sporadic sandstormlings, I spotted at the western edge of our site a pristine white 4 x 4, the condition of which immediately alerted me that these were not archaeologists. A few seconds later figures emerged from the vehicle; my spidey surveying senses tingled. At a good distance away my eyes could make out two GPS antennae: one mounted on a handheld antenna, the other on the roof of the car. There is nothing quite like spotting other surveyors in the field to make one excitable – particularly ones working in Egypt, with super-awesome geomatic kit.

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