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1/14/13: News from the temple

The first few columns in the temple are emerging from the sand!

Reisner’s notebook drawing showed that there were 26 stone columns preserved, and an old photo suggests they were about 1.5 meters in height. The top of the column is about 70 cm (2 feet) meters below the present surface, suggesting we will have to dig down through more than 2 meters (7 feet) of sand to get to the floor of the temple.

We made another potentially exciting discovery yesterday—a jumble of fallen stones against a stone wall that divides one of the rooms of the temple from the other. What’s important about this is that it suggests that Reisner didn’t actually dig this part of the building. Everywhere he dug was filled back in with sand and silt washed in from the nearby gully (wadi). So this means that although Reisner sketched the building, he may not have excavated it fully, and there may be finds awaiting our further excavation.

The locals have a real interest in what we are doing, and every single one of them who stops by says that there is a door somewhere down there that leads into rooms within the mountain. It’s possible, I suppose. Reisner didn’t note such a doorway, but we now know he didn’t dig at least one part of the structure. I don’t entirely trust the local collective memory either, though—some people said they were sure the doorway down there would connect with the pyramids, or even with more distant sites. More to come!