March 26-30 2012: Ian Shaw
Our last diary entry left you on the brink of our start to 2012 survey and excavations at Gurob. This entry will fill in the days that have ensued since, as we’ve set to work again on the harem palace and surrounding town and cemeteries. Our first day at the site on Tuesday was as usual taken up by the process of putting up our tent, although some entertainment was also provided by our failed attempt to assemble the new gazebo acquired in Cairo – with a larger team this year, we needed a separate shaded area for lunch.
In our 2011 season we were joined by some colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, and this year we have now been joined by a number of Copenhagen colleagues (Rachael Dann, Ole Herslund, Henrik Brahe and Lena Tambs) in a full collaboration, assisted by generous funding from the Carlsberg Foundation. Ole and Lena are currently assisting Anna Hodgkinson with renewed excavation in the ‘industrial area’ of the site, where two kilns were discovered in the 2010-11 seasons.
In the next few days we’ll be taking on local workmen to assist with the excavation of the kilns and also to work with Ole, Lena and Rachael on the opening up of the first modern excavations in the northern residential area of the site. Henrik will be undertaking photography on three excavation squares but has also come armed with a Japanese ‘fighter kite’ with which we hope to gain aerial photographs of the site as a whole (needless to say, apart from the first day when we fought against high winds in assembling the tent, the weather so far has been utterly still, but we’re confident that kite flying conditions will arrive soon). More on all of that in subsequent diary entries...
Our crack team of pottery analysts will be supplemented tomorrow by Ashraf el-Senussi of the local Kom Aushim museum, who has worked with us here every year since 2005. Meanwhile Jan and Ivor have begun work on the processing and photographing of small finds, already including several new fragments of the classic terracotta ‘lady on bed’ figurines. Finally, having been joined by osteologist Rosa Spencer, we will also begin work tomorrow on a pair of tombs looted last year at the south end of the site, where fragments of human remains and burial equipment have survived among the spoil.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to wrestle with the accounts and the endless emails pursuing me from thousands of miles away, and may also squeeze a little archaeology in too!