Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Finds

Today we got to the excavation in good time. We met the inspectors that we were training in the field school. There are five women in the schools we will run this year.

Yesterday, as we finished, we were finding several burials. Because we knew where they were at the beginning of the day things got going too quickly right away. Soon they were working on four burials, and we really can’t keep adequate records of that many at a time. I had to slow it down and pull some workers away from some. A few were not happy when they had to stop using a trowel and start hauling sand away in the baskets. But that is what we had to do so that we could get things done correctly.

We found several nice burials. Then we went to the pyramid so that Lincoln and the inspectors could see that. One of the inspectors is a bit handicapped and can’t walk that well. It took forever. I asked Farag  where some objects were found. It was a good day there at the pyramid.

Meanwhile, Paul was taking Giovanni to the antiquities police in Fayoum City to get his final approvals. We had a driver all lined up for them (Hussein) who knows the way. However, at the very last minute Hussein got a call that his sister had died, so he left and found someone else to take them. This guy did not know where to go, so it took them a long time to get there. On the way he went past the place where the  Giza mafia barnacle people are (the guys who try to force you into the pyramid complex to make you ride their camels), and they picked up another barnacle rider. This time they had all the windows up and he couldn’t get a good hold on them, so he only got a short ride. Welcome back to Egypt, Giovanni. Everything worked out and they made it to Fayoum City and got their clearances. Finally, everyone is here and we are all ready to work. 

When I got back from the pyramid I learned that they had discovered something unusual, in fact something they have never found before. They were at the bottom of shafts, and were head-west. They had made mud bricks (all the same size except one dimension has some variance, which indicates that they were making them in forms and the mud was cleared away by hand from the top of the form) which had lined the bottom of the shaft and then had been formed into a triangle shaped vault over the body to give them a bit of a peaked burial chamber. It was nicely done, and we have never seen anything like it before. That is the second unique element this season. It is nice that after 30 years of digging we can still find something new.


Lincoln would like to see the inscription he is working on one more time. So we have arranged that tomorrow he will get to go to Kom Aushim again and work on it a bit more. He is so good at figuring this stuff out, and so excited for it.

As we were finishing up the vaulted burials I asked Paul to start teaching our field school participants about osteology. I think they enjoyed learning something new. I thought we might finish our square today, but the vaulted burials were just slow enough that we didn’t. Hopefully we finish it tomorrow. 

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