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French archaeologist Maurice Pillet found and restored this Sakhmet statue in Temple A in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the restoration failed and the statue has been lying broken for decades (top). This season we decided at least to move it onto a platform to get its parts out of the dirt. Even half a Sakhmet is too heavy to be moved without help, so we brought in the siba (tripod and winch) to get the statue pieces up onto the platform.
Here it is after the move was completed. The base is lying on its side (left) and what’s left of the torso is on the right. We hope to restore the statue in a future season.
Jaap van Dijk left the dig on Monday, but before going he and I had a chance to examine the newly revealed left side of the statue. Unlike the right side, the text on the left is completely preserved. It is the standard formula of the king being beloved of a form of Sakhmet, (in this case “Sakhmet-Bastet, Mistress of her Fields”), but has never been noted or published before this.
Mary and I have spent most of this week working on the Sakhmet statues. We have been making careful measurements of each statue and noting relevant details of decoration, style, etc. The work, while very time-consuming (there are over 250 statues), is essential for us to be able to publish them properly.
The air was crystal clear at 6:30 on Thursday morning, giving us a fine view of this village across the river in the Theban hills. It is mornings like this that remind us how lucky we are to be able to work here even for a short season. Work finishes up on Monday, so this will probably be the last post this year.