Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dewatering project at Karnak and Luxor Temples

Dr Edwin Brock's lecture at the Mummification Museum in Luxor on the 5th November 2006 has been summarized at the above address by Jane Akshar, on her Luxor News Blog:
"The project was inaugurated in January last year by Dr Zahi Hawass and specialist form the US and Sweden. It is expected to finish at the end of this month.
The reason it was needed was that Karnak and Luxor temples, (in fact all temples in Egypt) were at risk from the rising water table.
This has been caused by irrigation especially of water hungry crops like sugar cane. This means the foundations of the temples are constantly in contact with water. The capillary action within the stone draws the water up and natural evaporation causes slats to be deposited on the surface or just underneath he surface of the stone. This then crystallises below the surface of the stone and forces the stone o separate. The surface is pushed out and this causes the loss of decoration. Additionally the constant moisture itself makes the stone to revert to its original state of sand. Eventually the block itself disintegrates. This affects limestone at well as sandstone.
A consortium of Egyptian, US and Swedish companies and people is addressing the problem. The Supreme Council of Antiquities is the client, it is financed by US and Sweden; SWECO project manage with the work actually being done by EGYCO."
The summary is accompanied by photographs. See the above page for the full story.

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