Excavation Diary

Going up the mountain

Author: admin/08 November 2014/Categories: Diario di scavo

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Today, before starting our work inside the tomb, we visited another archaeological mission. We like to do this, when the time allows it, to see what our neighbours are doing and to mutually exchange information.

This year our first visit brought us to the Polish Mission, digging at Deir el-Bahari, directed by Professor Andrzej Niwinski. The Polish team is looking for the tomb of Amenhotep I, the ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty who was deified and worshipped by the inhabitants of Deir el Medina, where the artists lived who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens.

The excavation work is carried out on the rock face of the spectacular natural amphitheatre overlooking the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, as shown below:

The location where the Polish team is digging

We met the director early in the morning, at the foot of the rock cliffs near the temple of the Queen. Before embarking on the strenuous and spectacular ascent, Professor Niwinski told us what led him to undertake such a complex excavation in search of a royal tomb.

Niwinski with members of the Canarian-Tuscan Mission before starting the climb

At the end of the interesting lecture, we walked towards the site, a path that led us up ladders and along steep precipices, sometimes requiring real climbing.

The path towards the cliff

The excavation of the Polish Mission is characterized by a very particular sound: the workers remove debris that was deposited on the site, throwing them in a long slide that comes down the cliff like a snake, arriving at the foot of the mountain behind the temple of Hatshepsut. From there a truck transports the debris to a dump.

Nicky tackles a rock wall

Having reached the site, a view opened up that was worth every risk and effort: at our feet the Temples of Hatshepsut and Montuhotep. The Director of the Mission explained us the methodology of the excavation, which was very intruiging. He then showed us several graffiti and a number of tunnels dug by thieves at different times, in search of tombs to plunder. We could see from close-up the workers in action and the difficult task they face daily.

Workers who are cleaning the area

Here we are standing on the presumed location of the tomb of Amenhotep I:

The possible location of the tomb of the King

We are grateful to the Director of this exciting project for the kindness he showed towards the members of the Canarian-Tuscan Archaeological Mission. Our wish is that his excavation campaign will meet with great success and that the royal tomb will be found soon!

Mila Alvarez Sosa with Professor Niwinski, Project Director


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