Sunday, September 30, 2012

First week at Silsila

overview Sections C and D in the main quarry

Ten days in on our epigraphic survey journey we could not have asked for more of Gebel el Silsila than has been presented to us so far! Among us, our great inspector and the helpful guardians Silsila is now referred to as the mother of the temples, and she has presented new material in form of not only a huge amount of quarry marks (of course), demotic and Greek inscriptions, but also a few hieroglyphic graffiti and insights into the day-to-day work of “her” visiting workers.

arriving at site, ready to unpack and set up camp tent 1

orientation from the guard house

first tent is being set up

second tent with all work material being transported the old fashion way - by donkey

one happy epigrapher - Adrienn\s first day at Silsila!

So far, we concentrate our work in the main quarry – the largest and central quarry at Silsila East, which has been divided into six sections following a clock-wise orientation. Thus, this main quarry now is labelled with the sub-titles Section A-F, starting and ending with its two corridors. 

epigraphic documentation - everything is to be recorded with camera and drawings on paper and plastic film if on accessible height

Last week’s work completed the epigraphic documentation of the northern corridor – Section A, the northern section – Section B, and work is currently conducted in Sections C and D, which are alternated based on the position of the sun: while photos in the shade can provide highlighting of certain elements, we do prefer when the quarry faces stand in full sun light, illuminating the details more clearly and creating a better contrast towards the diagonal tool marks that form the most common background for the inscriptions. 

epigraphic work requires some ladder climbing...

Work begins at 7 am each day - although we are up already at 4.30, to be picked up at 5.30, continuing all day through until 4-4.30 pm with rest for lunch and then back to a oh so needed nutritious refuel at the hotel we are staying. Unfortunately, we cannot stay on site as there is no access to electricity on the east bank – a problem that we hope to sort with time – so at the moment we travel some time each day from our hotel to the site – not to mention the 25 minutes walk each morning and afternoon to get to the main quarry... 

view from Silsila East

overlooking Silsila West

For John and myself there have been many highlights and we have been able to complete a comprehensive documentation of those quarry faces we had documented already during previous visits. For Adrienn, however, this mission is her first visit to the site, and it has struck her with quite a surprise, and to be able to work with such a great amount of previously unpublished material is a dream for any linguist who specialises in demotic inscriptions! Most scholars who have visited Silsila refer to the East as published by Spiegelberg, true of course, but this great demotic expert in fact did not visit the site in person, but based his translations of the text on the notes provided by Legrain. Legrain, who we believe planned to return to the site, was instead caught up with the cachet at Karnak, leaving the great material for us to work with now! 

Hopefully we will be able to provide updates more regularly from now on, with some personal notes from also John and Adrienn. Until then, we thank you for following us on our survey of Silsila! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gebel el Silsila General overview images

overviewing the main quarry 

Serving as a foundation of information for this season's mission at Gebel el Silsila East, our previous visits to the site have resulted in a rich photographic library: here we would like to share with you a series of overview photos to introduce you to the site with all its natural beauty! 

view from inside one of the main galleries
overlooking Silsila West

the unfinished criosphinx facing Silsila West

the "green quarry", an ancient quay now completely overgrown

one of many central road systems with associated pathways

overlooking the main quarry

partly ancient this quarry was used for the Esna barrage 1906-9

overlooking the cenotaphs on Silsila West

Quarries and cenotaphs on Silsila West

entry via water-side to these cenotaphs

cenotaphs and stelai

The Nile at its narrowest at Gebel el Silsila 

Main quarry at Silsila East

Speos of Horemheb, Silsila West

topic of main interest: quarry marks!

series of quarries at Silsila West

another carefully carved quarry mark depicting a lotus within a lotus

Silsila West, north

overview from Silsila West to East

the typical Greek inscription expressing adoration

quarry marks on Silsila East

one of the corridors leading in and out of the main quarry, Silsila East

Hopefully, by the end of next week, we will return with some updates on this season's epigraphic survey! 

Monday, September 03, 2012

Gebel el Silsila Epigraphic Survey Project 2012

Earlier today we received the wonderful news from Dr. Ismail on behalf of the Permanent Committee and the Supreme Council of Antiquities that our application for conducting an epigraphic survey of Gebel el Silsila has been approved!

This blog will act as a platform for news, images and updates on the project.
For now, we look forward to heading up to Cairo and the SCA office in Zamalek to sign the papers, and to begin our epigraphical surveying in the middle of September!