Updated August 2014
Conservation work that started in the spring of 2013 continued until June 2014. During this time, ARCE trained 14 conservators and technicians. The conservation activities inside the tomb focused on four areas: the Pillared Hall, Corridor, Transverse Hall and the original entrance after it was uncovered by archeological work in the forecourt. The tomb walls and ceiling were in very poor condition exacerbated by an intense fire that occurred sometime during the history of the tomb. This not only blackened the walls but the heat from the fire affected the paint. Only small fragments remain of the original beautiful colors that were once present. Documentation on the wall and ceiling conservation work areas were completed this season. Treatment mapping and condition reports were created on the before, during, and after conservation process. Highlights include the documentation of the condition of the paint on the remaining plaster surface. The conservation work also included consolidation of all powdering and flaking of the pigments. In the re-adhesion of detached plaster and lime mortar patching of missing sections of the wall. The ceiling areas were in danger of shearing off and falling to the floor. Ceiling anchors were placed in strategic places to improve safety within the tomb. The pillars suffered from complete disintegration. The conservators stabilized the structure with epoxy injections and grout. Structural steel reinforcement was designed to perform the original ceiling support function and will be installed next season. Upon completion of the excavation and exposure of the original entrance to the tomb, conservation methods were used to stabilize loose and splintered sections of the façade and to patch a section of missing limestone lintel with new limestone. Erosion protection was placed above the entrance to prevent loose stone and debris falling into the forecourt.
Before and after cleaning in TT110.
Updated: July 2013
The American Research Center in Egypt is pleased to announce the launch of its new Luxor West Bank Archaeological Field School for local MSA/SCA inspectors. This field school forms part of a larger program of work, funded through USAID, that concentrates on the west bank. The school will focus on the excavation of the forecourt of the Eighteenth Dynasty Theban Tomb of Djehuty, TT 110. The excavation, coupled with an ARCE conservation field school to clean the interior, will provide training to MSA/SCA officials, improve our knowledge of the monument, and ultimately open the tomb for regular visitation.
Although run by ARCE under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Bednarski, this field school capitalizes on a desire to build capacity by being completely organized, staffed, and taught by highly trained MSA/SCA archaeologists.
The field school seeks to teach fundamental concepts central to archaeology, basic excavation and survey techniques, solid recording and archive practices, and the interpretation of a variety of materials. The field school will be divided into two duplicate, eight-week sessions. The first session will run from February 17 - April 11, 2013, while the second will run from April 14 - June 7, 2013.
THE TOMB OF DJEHUTY (TT 110)
This work brings us to the Egyptian city of Luxor, a modern Arabic name for a place once known as Thebes to the ancient Greeks and Waset to the Pharaonic Egyptians. The tomb in question is located on Luxor’s West Bank, not far from where the cultivation ends and the desert begins, in the foothills of the Theban Mountain Range. The tomb lies on the border between an area referred to by historians as Sheikh Abd el Qurna, named after a local village and its mythical founder, and the area around a hill known as Khokha, or ‘peach’. The location of the tomb was a fitting place for someone of significant status to have their body deposited for all of eternity. Not only was the mountain range in which the tomb is nestled considered holy, but burial there guaranteed relative proximity to the Valley of the Kings, and, therefore, the monarch one served in life.
Like much of the landscape of the Theban Mountain Range, the area around TT 110 is honey-combed with tombs. The current entrance is, in fact, through a hole in the wall of an adjacent tomb (TT 42). ARCE’s field school will begin the hard work of clearing about four meters of debris atop the tomb’s original entrance. In addition to providing training for Egyptian archaeologists, this project provides exciting archaeological opportunities. It will help make the tomb more accessible, via its intended entrance, it will provide insight into structures once built in front of the tomb, and it will undoubtedly uncover ancient material for study.
TT 110 was commissioned by a man named Djehuti, pronounced Je-hoo-tee, who was the royal cupbearer to two kings of Egypt. While the position of royal butler sounds unimportant today, it was of great significance in ancient Egyptian society. Social importance in ancient Egypt could be reflected by the physical proximity one was afforded to the king. Titles indicating direct contact, such as handling the cups from which the monarch drank, reflected a trusted position in courtly life. Djehuti maintained this title, and its reflected importance, under two remarkable kings, Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III, and his tomb depicts both of these pharaohs. The tomb may, therefore, afford insight into both the deceased’s relationship to these monarchs, as well as their relationship with one another.
Hatshepsut was born a princess, became a queen upon marrying, and was named regent to the heir apparent after her husband’s untimely death. Not satisfied with this position, she ultimately had herself crowned as Pharaoh, a rare feat in ancient Egypt for a woman, and governed with great authority. Tuthmosis III, the son of Hatshepsut’s husband by another, lesser queen, lived for many years in the shadow of his stepmother. His ascension to the throne, Hatshepsut’s disappearance from the historical record, and the campaign he initiated later in his reign to erase her name and image from Egyptian monuments, have resulted in a plethora of conspiracy theories and romantic scenarios. While the reality of the transfer of power, and Tuthmosis III’s relationship to his stepmother is unknown, what are known are his accomplishments during his life. Tuthmosis III’s military victories helped to greatly expand the boundaries of Egypt’s empire, thereby increasing its wealth, and helping to usher in a new era of prosperity.