Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mummification Museum Lecture - News from Kom el Heltan

Luxor News blog (Jane Akshar)

Thanks to Jane for yet again making her notes available from the Mummification Museum lecture in Luxor:

Mummfication Museum lecture - News from Kom el Heltan - Dr Hourig 28/2/9

The area under excavation is the colossus of Memnon and the temple of Amenhotep III and they have been working for 6 years with lots of backing.

A very interesting slide was shown with the original temple superimposed on the existing site. There were three pylons with colossal statues in front of them, an avenue of sphinxes leading to a peristyle court, the sanctuaries. The width of the pylons is known but not the length. The site is 3 m above the original temple floor but after excavating 8 cm they hit water. The site desperately needs the dewatering project. There is a fantastic stele showing Amun, Mut and Khonsu. The temple was part of the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. In 1998 it was designated on of 100 most endangered monuments.

The colossi came from Gebel el Amar and show 2 ladies his wife Queen Tiye on the south and his mother Mutemwiya on the north. They monitor it yearly to check for tilting. As well as looking after the monuments they also collect old documents. She showed a painting by Verner 1873 which showed the statues with water at their feet, people around then with fires going. Combine that with the damage of the salts, the vibrations from the parking lot and the road it is amazing they have survived. They want the road to be moved (the slides show quite clearly the road goes through the southern side). The statue also suffers from the changes in temperature as much as 40 degrees between day and night which make it peel like an onion. They had over 1000 fragments that needed consolidation. An Armenian seismology report shows an earlier earthquake than the Roman one. Liquefaction gives evidence of earthquake.

The 1st court was 100m deep, the second pylon had 2 colossal similar to the Memnon statues. They have had to work on preservation and documentation. The north colossus of the 2nd pylon was fallen and eroded. In 2002 the found the right leg with a statue of Queen Tiye. In 2004 they lifted the 450 tons and moved it 11 ½ metres north to a dry area. They needed pumps day and night.

They found the south colossus fallen east south east, a hand was broken in 3 parts.

See the above page for the rest of Jane's notes.

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