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1/8/13: A temple!

We’ve been looking for remains of the ancient city that Reisner had found, and we found one of his temples. It appears today as a roughly rectangular cut in the stone. There’s a tree growing in the middle of it.

But in Reisner’s sketch (provided courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), the temple had two rooms, one of which contained 26 columns, and which was entered by a stairway. Reisner didn’t find much in the temple—just some potsherds, which he discarded (some may still be there in the piles of dirt from his excavation!), but based on its form and its location between the pyramids and the Nile, he interpreted it as a mortuary temple that served the cult of the king buried in the largest (and latest) pyramid in the cemetery.

And the old photograph from the Museum of Fine Arts’ records shows that the columns are nearly as high as a person!

So we’ll start our excavations tomorrow (finally), in part by re-excavating this temple to the level of the column-tops so that we can map it, verify its orientation (important for understanding whether ritual was oriented to the sun or to the Nile), and know for certain how big it was.