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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Restoring the Soul of Ancient Egypt

LUXOR, Egypt – An Egyptologist’s mission cannot be limited to cataloguing discoveries, it requires going further, Spanish expert Teresa Bedman assures Efe. “If you don’t try to restore the Egyptian monuments’ souls, it’s worthless.”

As co-director of the Spanish project in Luxor codenamed “Vizier Amenhotep Huy,” which on Monday closes the 2014 campaign, Bedman admits that sometimes “it’s a miracle to be able to find the perfect balance between Egyptology and valuing the monument so that, in the future, the public may see the work involved in rescuing humanity’s History.”

“An Egyptologist cannot be limited to making new discoveries, but must also return each object to its suitable place,” Bedman says, likening the importance of excavation work to that of epigraphy and restoration.

Mexican investigator Maria Dolores Corona, known in this mission as Paloma, emerges under two powerful spotlights, wearing her special glasses while working on a sarcophagus found by the mission two weeks ago.

“We are performing cleaning and consolidation techniques with air compressors and very thin brushes,” Paloma tells Efe.

This year’s mission started in October, although the Amenhotep Huy Project itself began in 2009, preceded by two years of studies in Spain.

After two seasons looking for an access to the vizier’s tomb, which dates back to 1,360 BC, in 2011 excavations started to focus on the minor temple, which left the mission with 30,000 cubic meters of rubble, the project’s other co-director, Francisco Martin Valentin, tells Efe.

The tomb of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s (Amenhotep IV) most trusted advisor will help trace the history of Thebes (currently known as Luxor) throughout the centuries: from 1,360 B.C. to 400 A.D.

The site will be of great assistance in the identification of burial customs, texts, inscriptions and mummification techniques.

With 31 members working on the Spanish-Egyptian team, the 2014 campaign, financed by the Gaselec Foundation, concludes excavations at Amenhotep Huy’s burial site.

The finds and objects of archaeological interest have been stored in scattered and secure warehouses.

Now, the tomb’s entrances will be re-sealed, some of them with limestone and cement, while the rest will be protected by iron gates.

Martin, who will continue to lead this project from Spain, says that no one will be able to enter the protected area, since it has been closed off and properly sealed, waiting for the mission’s return next year.

Once the team members return to their desks, the arduous task of documenting the findings will begin anew, in addition to the writing of reports, press articles, attending conferences and obtaining funds for next year’s expedition.

All for the sake of preserving the soul of Ancient Egypt.

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