Today was a great day. We got to the excavation and set up right away. Dr. Tata began on the field school right away. Our inspectors in the field school are so bright and caught onto examining textiles right away. Dr. Tata and Kristin South are good teachers and they are very good students.
One of the first things they did was examine a small mummy. This mummy was beautifully wrapped in a tunic and with other nice wrappings. There was some evidence that they tried much of the full mummification process. The toes and toenails and brain and tongue were amazingly preserved. We found a wonderful necklace and two bracelets on each arm. The jewelry makes us think it was a girl, but we cannot tell. Assuming it was, this little girl was about 18 months old when she passed away. She was buried with great care as someone who obviously loved her very much did all they could to take care of this little girl in burial. Very sad. But they succeeded, it was a beautiful burial. She had been buried with several other mummies, so we are interested in examining them.
We also practiced washing textiles. They want us to clean some of the textiles we have in the permanent storage facilities. However, they are so nice we did not want to wash them without having practiced. Today we chose some textiles we were going to rebury and practiced washing and soaking them, experimenting with how much water to use, how many times to rinse, how much pressure can be applied while washing with a brush, how brittle they were after drying, whether or not we could unfold and flatten them easier while they were wet, etc. We practiced on both linen and wool. Kristin South headed up this effort, assisted a little by Kerry Muhlestein but a lot by Gabr, who has a delicate touch and a real feel for ancient textiles. We feel we had great success in doing this. We were quite astonished at the result, and believe we can do some excellent work with any of our textiles. This was a very fruitful activity. We will see how they fare after a full day of drying, and will do some more practicing tomorrow.
Dr. Evans did a lot of osteological work today. Dr. Whitchurch and Dr. Muhlestein worked on a number of things. We cleaned up and inventoried some of the facilities. We photographed some amazing Roman Glass and the various pieces of metal found on the baby mummy.
We cleaned off the Snefru Stela and started measuring and photographing it as we prepare it for publication. We pieced together a few things we were unsure of before. We were not able to finish, but we made some good progress.
Tomorrow is our last day of going to the cemetery. It is hard to believe we are winding down like that already. Time goes by so slowly when I think about my family, but so fast in regards to the work here.