Excavation Diary

Deep into the tomb

Author: admin/10 November 2014/Categories: Diario di scavo

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Today was an extraordinary day: we went into a shaft of tomb Kampp -327-, whose owner has not yet been assigned. Our aim was to collect all possible data about its architectural features.

First, we took all the necessary steps to ensure our safety: wearing protective helmets, face masks and lights.

Raffaella helps Irene to wear the helmet before descending into the shaft

Our Rais Hassan was the first to go down to check the stability of the various sections of which the ladder was composed. After having reassured us of his safety, Hassan invited us to come down... and down we went!

The Rais is checking the stabilty of the ladder

The organization to descend into the shaft is military-like, because all possible security measures need to be taken. Not all team members can access these tight spaces, only those who are not claustrophobic or suffering from asthma. The first thing to do is to remove the metal grate placed over the shaft last season, both to protect the shaft from intruders, and our team members from falling in.

The metal grate placed last season is removed and the ladder is placed

The feelings that assail us as we descend are manifold. The air is heavy and there is a strong smell of bat excrement and mummified human remains. These mummies were looted for the precious amulets found between their bandages, which were meant to protect the body of the deceased. In the looters' attempt at stealing these objects, the mummies were literally torn apart.

Our work was pre-planned, to minimize the time spent in these cramped conditions and lack of oxygen, which can cause sickness and dizziness to the team members. We did not want to remain in the deep for more than 20 or 30 minutes.

Working inside the shaft

An electric cable ensured the lighting of the various rooms of which the shaft is composed. Some of us took notes about the features of the various spaces; others used the laser meter to take measurements and our artist composed a draft.

Drawing of the shaft made by Raffaella Carrera

After about 20 minutes, when we were still collecting data of the area, the electricity was cut and we were immersed in darkness. So we had to climb the shaft with the help of the small torches we had brought with us. We will need to go back down there to continue our study... To be continued!

Mila Alvarez Soza after inspection of the shaft


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