Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey 2012 Season
With a few days of reconnaissance under our belts from our shortened January 2011 season, we hope to get off to a flying start in Spring 2012. We plan to begin by doing a geophysical survey across the entrance of Amenhotep III’s vast excavated basin, Birket Habu, which lies in front of his palace at Malkata on the West Bank. Using the Electrical Resistance Tomography that we have already used at Karnak with great results (EA36, 25-8), we hope that we will identify the canal that connected the basin to the river should it have existed. Ultimately, but not just in this next season, the aim is to establish the size and depth of the basin so that we can establish if it was navigable all year round or only seasonally. This will help us understand the ritual and festival events taking place on his lake as well as practical aspects as a harbour for deliveries etc. During our season we will also do some initial work at the smaller basin that lies opposite Birket Habu on the East Bank.
Our other main focus will be to investigate the area in front of the Colossi of Amenhotep III to locate any canals that may have been used to deliver these huge monoliths and provide a connection to the Luxor and Karnak temples for festivals. Furthermore, we also aim to investigate the area of the floodplain in front of the Mortuary Temple of Thutmose III to investigate the notion of a canal and basin as part of his cult complex. This work will hopefully enable us to start to build up a picture of the extent of the large scale manipulation of the floodplain to create land- and waterscapes that both reflected the religious landscape of the West Bank and also had practical goals of delivering stone for temple construction and colossal statues for those temples of Millions of Years. We will use a hand auger in selected locations along our ERT profiles to retrieve sediments and artefacts and thus check this work and help date the ancient harbours, canals and landscapes. It will take time to establish all this but we hope to get off to a great start in 2012. We may in time even in time be able to suggest where the people of Deir el-Medina went to the riverbank/marketplace (mryt) to exchange their goods.
The project is immensely grateful for the generous support of the members and we hope to repay your support with some great results next season!
To follow the team's progress in the field, see their blog.
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Now we need your help to continue our valuable work in Egypt. The EES hopes to raise £30,000 as part of its Excavation Fund Appeal to help secure future fieldwork during the coming year and to help our Field Directors to plan for the future.
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