On the way to the site on Tuesday, we pulled out a laptop and we went through pictures of the stelae and all the reports we have on them. We had been told some things by Farag and Gabr that just didn’t make sense to me. As we looked and looked at the pictures I feel like we really came to understand what we have in these stelae. After a while at the site we pulled out the computer and looked at it with Farag and Gabr and were able to confirm what I was thinking. This is good, we are making real progress.
For the first time ever we got to the site before the inspectors. When they arrived we were able to set things up and get going pretty quickly. As the textile field school proceeded David, Paul, and I went out to figure out how to use our total station. Dr. Brent Benson was with us at the beginning of the season to teach us how to use it, but because of our problems with customs we were not able to get it out of the airport until after he had left. He gave us some training about how to use it when we could, and so we finally gave it a try. It took us a little while to figure out how to get it all set up, but eventually we got pretty good at using it. When we did, it worked very well. We were able to start to plot mud bricks with a fairly precise ability. I am excited about the possibilities of better documenting things with this equipment. We are so very, very grateful to Dr. Benson who donated the equipment.
In the meantime Dr. Tata and Madames Smith and South were running the textile field school for our inspectors. They did very well. They have learned a lot and analyzed quite a few good burials.
We did some more photographing of the stela, along with a bit more measuring and analysis. We will be able to make a good publication of this stela. There is so, so much to study and publish and we just don’t have enough time to keep up with it.
As it came time to start to finish things up, our sweet, wonderful inspectors from the field school presented us all with gifts. They are so very thoughtful and giving. They gave us wonderful little models of the Giza pyramids and gave Joyce Smith and Kristin South some nice little glass flowers that turn colors through fiber optics. They are so thoughtful. We then presented them with their certificates of graduation from our field school. I think they were very pleased with how well they did in the school and with the certificates. We believe we have finally figured out what needs to happen to make these certificates look the way they should. I think that in the end we had created an excellent certificate.
We cleaned up the storage magazine, preparing it for a year of sitting. It took some work, but I think we got it in pretty good shape. Then it was time to pay the workers, the guards, and to tell everyone goodbye. I always hate to say goodbye to Farag and Gabr, but hopefully we see them next year. They are good men. I also hated to say goodbye to our field school inspectors. They are wonderful and we have so enjoyed them. We will hope to see them again too. We have made wonderful friends here that we hope to see again and again.
We got home a bit earlier than usual. This was partially because we found a little bit of a shortcut. With the extra time we were able to get a cell phone set up for use whenever we come. We should have done this long ago. Then we had a wonderful dinner with Vassil Dobrev. He is a good man with a lot of good ideas. We talked about so many things, and it gave us so many things to think about for our excavation. We very much enjoy this good man and are grateful for our association and hope it continues for a long time.