Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Abydos 2009 season of Kelsey Museum

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Thanks to Kate Phizackerley for posting the above link to her News from the Valley of the Kings blog. Conservators and excavators on the Abydos Middle Cemetery Project will be working at Abydos in 2009. There is a space-holder on the menu on above site for a blog and other features. Here's an extract of the introduction to the 2009 season. See the above page for full details, with illustrations.

During 2009, the AMC Project archaeologists will explore an area roughly east of the Idi/Nekhty tomb complex. Previous seasons have revealed votive chapels, a votive stela, and shaft graves in this area.

This year they'll also investigate the final large, elite tomb complex in the late Old Kingdom part of the cemetery. Like the tombs of Idi/Nekhty, Weni, and Iuu, this tomb is a mastaba style tomb. A mastaba is a flat-roofed, rectangular tomb with outward-sloping sides. (Mastaba is the Arabic word for bench, and these tombs are so named because they resemble the benches outside shops in the markets.)

At Abydos, these tombs are constructed of mud-brick. Inside the mastaba, a deep shaft is dug into the ground, with the burial chamber at the bottom. Mastaba tombs also contain a chapel, where offerings to the spirit of the deceased could be left by his decendants, and a Serdab room. The Serdab room was completely enclosed and contained a statue representing the spirit of the deceased. Typically, the room had a small slit or opening in the wall which allowed the soul of the deceased to move about freely.

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