AS I SEE IT. - The Good News.

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AS I SEE IT. - The Good News.

Post by A-Four »

AS I SEE IT - The Good News.

I sometime get accused on here for being a doom and gloom merchant, which I suppose is understandable with what has happened over the past two years, but our friends in the archaeology work, some what rather quietly have been getting on with things, especially in the Luxor area, but first let me get rid of just one doom and gloom issue.

You may not be aware of it, but each Temple in Egypt has its own currator, as a rule, you may not notice this person, admittedly usually a man, who would normally be wearing a plain galabaya, along with their staff, these are the people who really care about their work. I always remember the old, now retired curator of Luxor Temple, who lived not far from the Ramasseum on the WB. I always remember meeting him once at his home, where with such pride and glee, he showed me a copy of what was then a recent international guide book, with a photo of him in front of his glorious temple on the main cover of this guide book, such pride was not only for him but for the rest of every temple staff in Egypt. That was then, and its still the same today, so when I first read on here about the fire at Karnack Temple, few could have been more shocked than myself. However when I arrived in Luxor, at the earliest opportunity I visited Karnack, there I learn't the true story.

I came across a young Egyptian archaeologist I have known a few years now, one of a new school of thought I greatly admire, who believes in himself that Egypt's past is his and Egypt's future and glory. There is a new breed, who are trained to a very high standard, who not only enjoy doing the job, but who can actually teach. I first saw this some years ago at Dendera, where I came across the people who were doing the ceiling restoration of that most fabulous temple. Any how where were we, yes the fire at Karnack Temple, if you walk to the extreme East Gate you may notice two new buildings that over look the temple, behind the perimeter wall. Aparantly the occupants of the new green building on the left, thought it would be a good idea to have a back garden fire one evening, with obvious dis-regard for it world important neighbour. A spark came over the wall, ignited a few bushes, but caused no real damage.

There is still a great deal of work going on within Karnack Temple away from the main tourist points that the ill informed have no idea, yet for those on here who have a keen interest, it seems that all digs and restoration work at Karnack is coming under the control of Egyptians, unlike the usual foreigners. The ultimate work is just outside the Karnack pricinct, and to the north, you may remember I reported a couple of years ago on a young Egyptian archaeologist, who had previouslly cut himself above from the rest in Abydos, now he has really excelled himself. Before, a few years ago, he un-earthed the fabulous Greeko-Roman baths, now he has opened up this area, to show that there were shops and homes within this very same area, a real eye opener, and again under Egyptian authority. ( I noticed in my previous write up on this area, one other person also appreciaterd this work. This whole area is well guarded on most days, however I know, like you, the persons name who is responsible for this most excellent work, and by mention of his name will gain you full access,.........enjoy.)

After many years, I visited Armont Temple, so well hidden, where most taxi drivers from Luxor will not go, for two reasons 1) the vehicle drivers here are crazy. 2) as a non-Egyptian you could get stoned by the local kids., but then again once you have been stoned in Abydos, and that delightful area known as the Susan Mubarack housing complex, on the WB, where I and a very dear friend on here got stoned more than once, then its a piece of cake. Remember this whole area was the home of what was to become the power of the glorious 18th Dynasty. It is here that so much has to be reveiled, the french worked here God knows, so many years ago, but now you can see the straight lines of excavations, as though work stopped just yesterday. I believe there is so much to be discovered here, though it seems that all archaeologists in Luxor are only interested in 18th-20th Dynasty death. Previouslly I have wrote about Tod Temple (South of Luxor EB), where the French senior archaeologist, wanted to point out 'to the average Joe normal tourist' the development of the very early Christian Church, where here at Armont the past archaeologists have un-earthed such wonderful statuary, that are definitely the pre-cursors of the !8th Dynasty. Visit,.......... but not for the faint hearted.

I was on the WB when they brought up the huge statue of A-Three, of course in sections, but the head features a most un-usual expression, unlike what you would expect to see during the early part of the New Kingdom. I called in at the nearby Marsam Hotel , that old hive has always been a junior archaeologists dream come true, yes you worked hard from six in the morning to around 4-30 p.m., get back to the Marsem or if you were un-lucky the old Habou Hotel, but after a good shower and a most excellent meal, you would sit around in a large group of people from different parts of the world, and therefore different local dig-sites, have a few drinks and the conversations and discussons were wild and fantastic. I am sure all those students from those days must now look back on that time as a fantastic part of their life. During my first week back in Luxor, I called in at the Marsem Hotel one evening, the place was full, but no one talking, it seemed every one had a lap-top in front of them, even the Doctors,..........very sad, that they are at a time and a place that so many would give five years of their life, to work, then, to talk and get invited to other dig sites, let alone learn even more from the locals. For example, did you know that before the days of the High Dam, the high water level from the Nile actually reached the gate of the Marsum garden. These days it seems Facebook is far more important, than real life,.................. but that is the future.

I do find it a shame, that the current international archaeologists do not give rewards to their workers, which is probably the reason why so many small, but important items are not found on these such present day digs. In past years I have been shown some remarkable items found in various temples by such workers, most could not be really dated as they were every day items, which when used by temple officials, which in most cases were antiques then, if you get my meaning. I think the most remarkable item I ever saw was a twisted rams horn, which then formed a strange sort of head, with one eye. Much of this item was covered in thick gold leaf, but for sure the gold would have been removed, melted and sold, the rest, the real art of ancient Egypt, simply lost for ever.

I called in at Habou Temple, although in the past I have been rather sceptical about the ground water level barrier, it seems this is doing its job, especially at the eastern end of the temple, where much water penetration had occured. I don't think any one can ever tire of this place, a simple walk around the outer Temple vacinity (not outer temple wall) reveals much new work that has 'secretly' been carried out, especially the southern end, where is situated the ruins of a very old Christian settlement, which I have written on here before. My only new concurn about the future of this temple is that, I noticed that some one in this area must have purchased a pigeon 'farm'. I counted no less than 50 of these things high on the outer north wall of the temple,. We all know what damage these things can do.

Called in at the King's Valley to discover the main entrance was closed, therefore all tourist must run the gaunklet of the bizarres twice, I must admit, I was disappointed that many of the tombs were closed, however it gave me the opportunity to re-visit, after some twenty so years, the tomb of Ram XI, which of course was never used for his burial. I found it quite interesting going over 'old' ground and looking at the high art work, that showed through the hieroglyphics letters a sense that the golden New Kingdom was trully at an end. Its figures seemed to depict, a faith that had gone too far. This tomb reminded me of Horumheb's deep tomb, where trully this man belonged to the beginning of the !9th Dynasty. The depiction in his tomb of the 'weighing of the heart' which really a true pharaoh had no need to pass through, to gain re-birth again, in the after-life, Although Horumheb reigned for approx 28 years, it is so easy to see at the very moment when the message came through, that the pharoah had died. We can easily see where all the artisans downed tools at the exact moment of death, where in Ram XI we see how carefully this empoverished pharaoh, obviouslly loved by his tomb builders, felt the need to be buried away from what had now become a non-safe, non-respected area, that needed to be so for a Pharoah.

I called in at both Dendera and Essna, the ceilings now restored to their former glory, that have not been seen, as we see today for perhaps for than 1000 years. I stood at a point which is the last ceiling section of six in the southern part of the at Essna, then imagined to myself that I was the old last real High Preist of Amoun Ra at Karnack, on a visit to see the new Greek version of my tradional old faith, even then, as I stood there, I fealt as though that old man stood in the exact spot where I stood, looked up, as he lean't on a wooden staff, and said "What the F*** is that", Look for yourself, and perhaps you might agree. What you may also not know, that both full ceilings have been lovingly restored by an a Egyptian ONLY team,.................stunning work.

Asswan has always been a dream place for me, there is always something new to discover. I am pleased to say that the Isis Temple, situated on high ground away from the Nile, where this whole area , set similar to Essna Temle deep below ground, has now been taken away from the French archis, who have done so little in the past 25 years, is now being fully excavatored by Egyptian archi, with much more vigor in one year, than the French have shown this place in its full concession period.

Elephant Isle (with its Nilesmetre) is a real discovery place, and although a bit sterile. with its official walk areas, which I understand is really to protect this delicate area, the joint French - American product here took many years to produce this trully remarkable excavated site, that is world class. The Nubian village, like most of the other 'Nubian' villages in this immeadiate area are as real as Mickey Mouse. For the first time in all my visits over many years, I did not see one true Nubian person. If you ever come across some one in Luxor, who says he's Nubian, simply say - on whose side, your mother's or father's. You can always tell a Nubian person, very tall, slim and walks slow, purposeful and very elegant, - and thats just the men.

As I see it,.......... Luxor, as we all know it, will become that 'disneyland' of the future for a one, two or three day tourist site, but for those who have a keen interest, the new Egyptian archaeologists are really working hard to bring farward a new aspect of ancient Egyptian life in Luxor, and its not just, the usual preparation for the afterlife, which we already know enough. Its about day to day life of the average ancient Egyptian person, that as we have already seen, just below the surface,............... if we bother to look.


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