Thursday, March 14, 2013

Full Day, Full Steam Ahead



At 1 am the intrepid Drs. Benson and Evans finally arrived. They spent hours and hours on broken planes and in cold a cold airport with no place to sit or sleep. But they arrived in good spirits. If anyone can make something like that fun it is those two. I was glad to see them. We sat for a minute in the lobby and made some plans and then got them checked in. They were not able to get the total station in, after all the hours of work we put into getting ready to get it through customs, because there was no one at customs to take their money. They really wanted to get to the site today, so they made a plan to get it later.
So, I slept a little, got up with them, slept a little more, and then got ready for the day. I had to get more money exchanged and more small bills so that I could pay the workers. We got up earlier, got some breakfast, and then left by 7 am. It was much faster today, and in two hours we were at the site. We got a good start, and found a lot of good burials very quickly. Of course my little group of workers are still rabbits, and they multiplied again today. I had to tell some that I could not pay them, and it made me sad. I did hire one extra worker because he is one that I remember from last year as a very good worker. I hate turning any of them away. They are good men and have become my friends. 

In any case, we hit a good rhythm today. We found some interesting burials. Most of them today were children. This always hurts my heart. One very interesting one was a small, small infant, perhaps even a premature death, but certainly no older than two months. It was buried with another child that was probably less than a year old. The two could not be siblings, but were buried together. There must have been some interesting story behind that, but what it is we will never know. I just know there must have been real heartache.

Another burial was quite intriguing. We found a man who had no head and no feet. This confirms the myth held by a small group of ancient Egytpians that an African race had no heads. I guess it turns out that you don’t need them.
Our inspector, Ayman, is a real pleasure to work with. He is good, calm, kind, and competent. I like him a lot. The men we work with are like cousins and brothers to me. These villagers are good, good men. There is one guard who is always with us who goes so out of his way to help us. He is from the local village and rides his own motorcycle. Hanafy, our wonderful and funny driver whom we love, calls him the “farmer police.” But his name is Gomah, which is one way of saying “Friday.” So he has become “my man Friday,” and so I call him. I fully plan on bringing him with me if I have to get stuck on an island somewhere. He is very helpful, plus he has a gun.
  Gabr
Paul (Evans) and Brent (Benson) were able to go to the antiquities police in Fayoum city and get their security clearances and then made their way to the site. It was good to see them. 
We finished by 3 and loaded up. I did my little money hemorrhaging thing again and paid all those workers so much money. It is crazy. But when it was all done we loaded up and headed home. The trip went fairly well. I have such good companions that we have great conversations about any number of things. We are figuring out more and more interesting things we can do with the data we have from our excavation.



When we got home we had a little while to get ready for our dinner with Zahi Hawass. I was supposed to find a girl who had checked in here and help her get a ride to dinner with us all. I tried and tried but could not find her. I was about to give up when I received an email from Zahi that he sent some time ago telling us where to meet her. We found her and made our way over to dinner. Zahi was an incredibly gracious host and we had a wonderful meal with him. He spontaneously arranged for us to be able to visit some places I have always wanted to go but which are never open to the public. This was great.
Paul and Brent are still unable to get the total station from the airport. I hope we can get that all figured out and working soon. It will be a great addition to our excavation abilities.
I work with such a great team. They really are good, and I am grateful for them.

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