Monday, December 5, 2011

Epigraphic Survey News

Ray Johnson writes to tell me that the RECENT NEWS section of the Epigraphic Survey pages on the Oriental Institute website will be updated monthly.  I take the liberty of quoting from the most recent entry:

December 2, 2011

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report that Luxor has been peaceful throughout the last few weeks, and the Chicago House team is busy and well. Our work at Medinet Habu, TT 107, and Luxor Temple has proceeded normally, and continued through the disturbances in Cairo with no interruption. The elections so far - here, in Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere - have been noteworthy for their orderliness, peaceful nature, enthusiasm, and unprecedented turnout. It's an encouraging beginning! And history in the making.

Yesterday artist Sue Osgood returned to Luxor to continue working in TT 107, the tomb of Nefersekheru, steward of Amenhotep III's Malkata palace, where Margaret has been drawing for the last month. Tomorrow conservator Hiroko Kariya arrives to resume conservation work in the Luxor Temple blockyards. On Sunday we are all heading south to see the current excavation work of faculty member Nadine Moeller, husband Gregory, and her team (including Hratch Papazian) at Tell Edfu. Nadine and the crew joined us and a number of our American (ARCE Luxor), foreign, and Egyptian colleagues for a very pleasant Thanksgiving dinner on November 24th. The cranberry sauce was home-made by artist Margaret De Jong, with fresh berries kindly hand-carried by library assistant (and OI VC member) Andrea Dudek who will be heading homeward in a few days after a very productive few weeks with us.

Thus far, outside of the election excitement, it's been a totally normal season. Two weeks ago I participated in a workshop in Cairo sponsored by AUC and the Netherlands/Flemish Institute on archaeological recording techniques, with a special emphasis on new digital recording technologies that we are using in our on site documentation work now. During the next couple of days a group of students from the Netherlands/Flemish Institute will be visiting TT 107 and Medinet Habu to see our recording methodologies in person, guided by Senior epigrapher Brett McClain and Margaret.
Despite the political uncertainties and bumps in the road, the last month and a half have been joyous in many ways. The Egyptian people are tremendously excited and proud of their new freedom to choose their leaders, and this has been a joy to witness. We gave our Egyptian staff the day off on Monday to vote, and each one proudly showed me his ink-stained finger (proof of voting) the day after. There have been other reasons to celebrate as well; I have attended two engagement parties for offspring of our workers (who were babies the last time I looked, and are now getting married?). And ten days ago Medinet Habu conservator Nahed gave birth to a baby boy, Jovan. Life is too full!
And all is well. I will write again soon. Best wishes to you all for an excellent December!

Best from Luxor,
Ray Johnson

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