Page 13

CIM37

LAB WATCH Small statue head, probably representing the god Imhotep. 13 SPRING 2015 N° 37 Karnak Yields more Treasures Two hundred years after excavations began, Karnak, near Luxor, has not revealed all its secrets. The recent search of a repository pit, or favissa, discovered last December near the temple of Ptah, yielded 38 statues, statuettes, and precious artifacts. These objects were brought to light by archaeologists from the French-Egyptian Center for the Study of Karnak Temples (CFEETK),1 as part of an interdisciplinary program2 aimed at studying the evolution of the temple and its surrounding area over the millennia. “The size and optimal state of conservation of the collection make this find exceptional,” explains Christophe Thiers, co-director of the CFEETK. Made of limestone, copper alloy, greywacke,3 and Egyptian faience,4 the artifacts are thought to have belonged to the temple of Ptah, built under Thutmose III (ca. 1450 BC), even though ceramic and hieroglyphic inscriptions show they are more recent (8th-7th century BC). Dedicated to the god Ptah, patron of artisans, they may have been damaged or removed over time and stored outside Statuette and figurine of the god Osiris, found outside the temple of Ptah. the building. No less outstanding is the recording technique used for the first time by researchers in a favissa containing statues. By compiling hundreds of photographs taken during the dig, the team obtained a 3D reconstruction of the excavation process, which they then linked, on the millimeter scale, with topographical reference points. This enabled them to assemble videos and “keep a record of the layout of the objects before they were removed from the site,” says Guillaume Charloux, archaeologist at the CFEETK. “This chance discovery sheds new light on worship practices at a given period in the history of the temple of Ptah,” says Thiers. “Meanwhile, we will pursue our objective to find out more about its influence, use, and successive layouts since its origins.” ii 1. Centre franco-égyptien d’étude des temples de Karnak (CNRS / Ministry for Egyptian Antiquities). 2. IA-ANR-11-LABX-0032-01 (CNRS / Université Montpellier-III / Université de Perpignan Via Domitia / INRAP / Ministère de la culture et de la communication). 3. Dark sandstone with a clay matrix. 4. Sintered material generally colored blue or green. christophe.thiers@univ-montp3.fr guillaume.charloux@cnrs.fr Archaeology. The Egyptian site of Karnak has produced some of the most spectacular finds in the history of archaelogy. And its riches seem infinite. BY VALERIE HERCZEG 40 cm © PHOTOS: J. MAUCOR/CNRS-CFEETK


CIM37
To see the actual publication please follow the link above