February 20, 2009
On Valentine’s Day there was an impressive 42 people working in the Giza Lab! This included three of the Advanced Field School classes – Illustration, Ceramics and Human Osteology, plus the ‘regulars’. I’ve put photos up in the lab with the names of all of the students in the five Field School groups to help everyone get to know everyone else at this early stage.
My trusty assistant Claire Malleson of Liverpool University has arrived and its great to have her back. Day after day, she sits at her microscope plugged into her iPod and steadily works her way through the many samples of ancient botanical remains we have from our main site Heit el Gurob, as well as the nearby Khentkawes. She’s a tremendous help to me since I often have to run around dealing with a myriad of lab issues and it’s great to leave the botany department in her capable hands.
Laurie Flentye has also started back at the lab this week. An American living in Cairo off and on for the last 5 years, Laurie’s specialty is the decoration, materials, and architectural elements used in 4th Dynasty Giza tombs. In the Lab, she analyses the pigments and painted plaster from the site. She’s done a great job with her comparative study between the decoration found in tombs and and that from contemporary 4th Dynasty settlement.
Hired a carpenter to finally finish covering the walls of Jessica’s Human Osteology room with floor to ceiling shelves, a long story… The upshot of it is that after several years, Jessica now has her own room with enough space for her team, her students, and her burials. In previous years, the whole crowd had to share the space with a mountain of stored pottery and the huge wooden burial crates. Now the room is pottery free, the wooden crates have been replaced with stackable plastic boxes which perfectly fit into the new shelves. The carpenter is also building a large table but in the meantime, I’ve liberated the project ping pong table, not sure anyone’s noticed yet…
Everyone is preparing for the celebrations of AERA’s 20th Anniversary of excavations at Giza, which will take place on 14-15th March. There will be site tours on the 14th and a Study Day of public lectures at the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo on the 15th – ending with a big party with colleagues, donors and friends. Several of the specialists will be giving presentations and all are preparing posters describing their research, so there is much to do in the upcoming month!
Till next week,