Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Amarna 2013 begins


It has proved possible to resume fieldwork at Amarna. Barry Kemp and a small team traveled to the expedition house on Wednesday, January 30th and began work on site on Saturday, February 2nd, with 20 local workmen, mostly from El-Till and regularly employed by the expedition.

The main work for the next two months is a resumption of the re-excavation and restoration at the Great Aten Temple, concentrating again on the front part. Areas adjacent to those examined in the spring of 2012 have been marked out, on the south and east, and the cleaning of surface deposits begun, already revealing a strange feature uncovered earlier by Pendlebury, a gypsum-lined trough surrounding a rectangular area and belonging to the temple's final phase. Removal of the large Pendlebury dump over the brick pylon has also been resumed. Further east a start has been made on cleaning the surface of the two pedestals of thick gypsum concrete that measure about 10 x 15 metres and stood in front of the stone entrance to the temple and probably acted as foundations for very large columns. They are covered with the impressions of stone blocks that will require much patient planning to record in sufficient detail.

Thanks to the good offices of Nicholas Warner, the first delivery arrived today of limestone blocks from the quarries at Turah, outside Cairo, of much better quality than those we have bought in the past, from local quarries. These will be used for the final layer that will mark the positions of the walls of the Platform Building the foundations of which were uncovered last year.

We have also chosen this year to carry out an inspection and maintenance of the column in the Small Aten Temple that the expedition (then under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society) erected in 1994, on the initiative of architect Michael Mallinson. It has since become a familiar landmark. The column is hollow, and formed of panels fixed to a central iron lattice-work tower. It needs to be inspected from the inside. To this end, scaffolding is being erected around the column. Simon Bradley, who built the column in 1994, has returned to carry out the inspection and any necessary maintenance.

Much of the funding for this season's work comes to the Amarna Trust from the Big Give Christmas Challenge, to which so many of you responded. Many thanks again for your generosity on this and on other occasions.

The further plan for the spring is that another month of excavation will be carried out at the South Tombs Cemetery in April, to be followed by a return of the Arkansas University anthropology field school which will study the human remains.

4 February 2013

Barry Kemp/Anna Stevens

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