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archaeology, egyptology, museums

The Opened Temple of Mut

Have been here in al-Uqsur for the past two months, now in January 2014, and it has as always been peaceful… but maybe even more so than during the past three years… At the end of November there were hardly any foreign visitors… excepting a few hardliners… who do not do their travelling in groups… A walk along the corniche to or from the ferryboat is remarkably more free from hordes of pestering men, trying to entice with an offer of ‘Fellucca!’ or ‘Motor-boat!’, or just being plain naughty or coming with more salacious offers… the number of caleshes seems to have decreased significantly, …’because many of the horses have died from hunger,’ so a driver said … Even though the government apparently has tried to alleviate the situation with financial aid, this does not seem to have helped…

A visit to The Valley of the Kings in November could find a visitor taking rest between tombs looking around and not having a single person in sight… no small boys trying out their English and attempting to sell various mementoes… noone trying to sell water and soft drinks… no guides giving their lenghty litanies in loud voices in front of the tomb-entrances… no people dressed as if the beach was just a few metres away… no background chatter of people talking in many different languages about virtually every subject under the rather unrelenting sun… On the walk back over the jebel towards the Hatshepsut temple, it is possible to have a view of almost the entire area… There was only one tourist bus on the parking lot, and chances were that it was Egyptians making the visit… It was great to be able to see the tombs in absolute peace…

Since then the situation has changed somewhat, with Nile cruises apparently slowly recommencing and with buses arriving from Hurghada, again… parking in front of The Memnon Statues, an attraction that can be admired free of cost… in order to give their passengers the obligatory opportunities for a snapshot… Even the amount of individual travellers seems to have risen somewhat, though it would not be surprising if the level of visitors drop to what they were in November, because of the recent unrest in various other parts of the country… people, after all normally planning their trips some time in advance… But it is nice that the hot-air balloons have also become more frequent in the early morning skies, though not in the same numbers, and seemingly not every day…

On the internet it was recently possible to read that two Noble Tombs and The Temple of Mut would be opened officially for all to visit… On a day not so long ago during the period with the referendum for the constitution, there were helicopters overhead obliterating the sounds of the birds, and the voices drifting up from the street… and on  a day just before the referendum a whole cortege of armed men in pick-up trucks accompied the various dignitaries in charge of the official openings to the variuos sites… and then on to the next location… Both the Egyptian and foreign press seemed to have made a big noise about this… even announcing it days in advance…

Decided yesterday it was time to make a sanctioned visit to The Temple of Mut Precinct, had after all seen part of it a year after the revolution… seeing some of the many beautiful Sekhmet statues… was unfortunately only able to stay for a small half hour at the time… and it had now been open for some time… Noticed whilst waiting for a service-taxi to bring me to the ferryboat, that it seemed as if the archaeologists from the Amenhotep III Memorial Temple project had arrived, there were also more locals hanging around there than usual, perhaps hoping for a job… Have noticed during this stay that in spite of the situation archaeological work was progressing at various times in at least two noble tombs, and at the Memorial Temple for Tutmes III… At the Ramesseum there was only little activity…

Went to the ticket office at Karnak, because nowhere (on the internet or in print) had there been any mention of where tickets could be purchased… upon inquiry, the response was rather raucious laughter and the information that they had also asked what to do, and that they had been informed that the tickets had not been printed yet… The first time announcements were made that it would be opened was back in 2012… So next time, inshallah… Will try for the noble tombs next… perhaps that might give a similar report…

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Have been there since and entry was included in the ticket to Karnak… The two tombs were included in two other noble tickets… Menna and Nakht, and Roy and Shuroy… and presumably mostly interesting for specialists…

Arial View of Mut Precinct

The Photograph is from the Brooklyn Museum website

If anyone wants to see more pictures, or read dig dairies and excavation reports it is possible to click on the picture and find the relevant links…

Here (click) is a link also to Brooklyn Museum’s website, where it is possible to read about the history of the Mut Precinct and how it grew… very interesting…

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About archaeologicallinks

Glazed Composition Pectoral c.1250 BC New Kingdom/Reign of Ramesses II Glazed composition pectoral: in the form of a pylon, or temple gateway. It depicts the god Anubis as a jackal, with a winged ‘wedjat’, or sacred eye, in the upper left-hand corner. The colour blue connotes resurrection, as often remarked, and the colour yellow alludes to the sun, itself a powerful symbol of resurrection. (Source: The British Museum)

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