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On site at Abydos, Egypt

18 June 2008 by Sam

Here’s an update on prgress with the excavation at Abydos from antiquities curator Carolyn Routledge.


woman in traditional Egyptian clothing at a table with two small fluffy birds

At our lunch Umm-Ibrahim showed us two of her young pigeons. In Egypt pigeons are kept for eating like we keep chickens.

“We are now half-way through our excavation project at the tomb of the Pharaoh Senwosret III here at Abydos in Middle Egypt. Jen Wegner and I have been working very hard on our drawing and recording of the small objects. The work at the tomb is winding down as Josef Wegner turns to drawing and planning the portions of the tomb that have been cleared. It has been quite a task with around 60 Egyptian workmen breaking up and moving large quantities of stone in extreme temperatures.  During this time we have been experiencing a heatwave with daytime highs consistently in the mid 40 degrees Celsius. At night it has not been getting below 30 degrees Celsius.  

Under these conditions we need to take some breaks. Our first day off we were invited to have a meal with one of the workmen and his family. Josef, Jen, their son Alexander (who turns 5 this month!) and I went to eat lunch made by Umm-Ibrahim. Because of the heat, we sat in the courtyard of their home cooled by fans. Alexander ran around chasing the chickens and searching for lizards. Umm-Ibrahim served us a typical Egyptian meal of chicken, molokhia, and a mix of rice and pasta. Molokhia is a particular favourite here. It is a gelatinous soup made of the leaves of the molokhia plant flavoured with garlic and spices.

The next weekend we took an extra day off and travelled to Luxor. It is about 2½ hour train ride from here. While there are many ancient Egyptian monuments to see in and near Luxor, the main attraction to us was staying in a nice hotel in order to get a rest from the heat through air-conditioning and swimming in the pool. We arrived back at Abydos refreshed and ready to take on the next few weeks of work.”

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