Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn 2014 update from Amarna (received by email)

The latest from Barry Kemp and Anna Stevens:


Amarna, Autumn 2014

We are happy to report that the expedition has resumed its work at Amarna, at the start of what is planned to be a particularly busy and varied schedule which we hope will run almost continuously into June of next year.

Last week, an excavating team (independently funded) led by Dr Anna Hodgkinson arrived to open the expedition house and magazines and to begin a month-long investigation of a particular location within the housing area, not far to the south of the house of Ranefer and the area of small houses which were excavated in 2004 and 2005. The location lies within ground excavated in 1922 by the Egypt Exploration Fund (as it was then named), specifically part of a series of workrooms numbered M50.14. They reported finding a 'glaze kiln' but gave very few details. Dr Hodgkinson, who has a particular interest in the glass and glazing industry of the New Kingdom, has located the site again and is opening it for a close investigation.

At the same time, and based in the Cairo office, two projects are under way. One is the continued scanning of the expedition archive so that multiple copies can be kept of almost all of its records. The other is the composing of a major report on the South Tombs Cemetery excavations, which ran between 2006 and 2013. In mid-November, the group undertaking this will move to Amarna and so be able to access the material from the cemetery in store at the site magazines. This includes the human remains themselves, together with small finds, pottery, textile and other kinds of wrapping material.

At the end of December, a group of conservators, led by Julie Dawson and Lucy Skinner, will run a workshop which will concentrate on the remaining decorated coffin pieces from the cemetery. Several of the pieces were, at the time of excavation, packaged in conservation materials which left the surfaces invisible. The slow work of exposing and consolidating the surfaces should eventually reveal the details of decoration. The coffin group as a whole makes a most important contribution to understanding how the people of Amarna reacted to the changed ideas of the times when faced with the need to bury their dead.

Towards the end of the coffins workshop, a further team will assemble to resume cleaning and repairs at the Great Aten Temple, following which the plan is to start an investigation of the cemeteries of the Amarna period which we know lie in the northern part of Amarna. The investigation will be carried out in conjunction with the University of Southern Illinois (of which Dr Gretchen Dabbs will be the principal representative, working alongside Dr Anna Stevens).

In this connection it is good to be able to report that the work will be supported by a major grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities of the USA.

During September of this year, the work of hair experts Jolanda Bos and Lonneke Beukenholdt on the hairstyles of the people buried in the South Tombs Cemetery attracted media attention, see, for example:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/111606/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/New-discovery-Hair-extensions-are-as-old-as-ancien.aspx

Their report, in Dutch, is published in the Archeologie Magazin (http://archeologieonline.nl/), 25 April-26 October 2014, pp. 12-15.

The preparation of the next issue of Horizon is well advanced, and will include detail on the Great Aten Temple work of the spring season.

As always, we owe a great debt of gratitude to our supporters. Our channels of giving remain open through the year:

https://www.justgiving.com/northcemetery OR

https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/greatatentemple
OR

http://www.theamarnaresearchfoundation.org/membership.html

OR by cheque made out to the Amarna Trust and sent to Dr Kate Spence, Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ

Barry Kemp/Anna Stevens 22 October 2014

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