After 5 years of uninterrupted archaeological, restoration and iconographic interpretation work, the Mexican delegation in charge of conservation at the Theban Tomb 39, in Egypt, will begin the 6th field season in September 2010. The goal is to open the site to public in 2013.
Exploration at the Theban Tomb 39 continues to the exterior of it, since work at the interior is concluded, informed Dr. Angelina Macias Goytia, researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History
The specialist mentioned that archaeological work to be conducted in September will focus on the retirement of 6 tons of debris accumulated from nearby hill runoffs. This material obstructs the line of sight of the 3,500 years old monument.
Archaeological labor adds up to work conducted by restorers from INAH National Coordination of Cultural Heritage Conservation, which focuses on the attention to mural painting, reliefs and cracks at funerary chambers.
At her participation at the Permanent Conferences of Archaeology organized by INAH, the head of the Mexican archaeological project at Egypt mentioned that this would be the first Egyptian tomb salvaged and consolidated by Mexicans to be open to public.
The place is exceptionally beautiful due to the amount of hieroglyphs found on the walls, which can be deciphered, as well as the good conservation state of the murals.
The so-called TT39 is a tomb/funerary temple that corresponds to the 18th dynasty, dedicated to the eternal rest of Pui Em Ra, second priest of Amon during the kingdom of queen at-Shep-Sut. The sarcophaguses of the priest and some of his relatives must have been deposited here, but the tomb has been looted several times.
The funerary precinct has a hallway and 3 chambers, each of them with different form, size and iconography, depending on the use given to them.
The northern chamber has mural paintings that represent the procession to bury Pui Em Ra, which are fully restored; the second was dedicated to his family and has a niche to place offerings, and the third one was a temple that has at the entrance 2 stelae with biographical hieroglyphs.
As rubble is meticulously retired to detect the presence of archaeological material, the northern wall of the tomb will be checked to confirm how long is it, because we found cuts that could be the entrance to other interior spaces; there is a rectangular element that could be a room, but we need to verify it, explained archaeologist Macias.
Archaeological work performed at Theban Tomb 39 is basically rehabilitation and maintenance of the funerary complex and research has been conducted to verify its extension and locate archaeological material.
Between debris and explored wells were recovered ceramic fragments, lithic tools, dry herb and flower bouquets that might have been part of offerings, and mummified human rests which chronological and cultural affiliation has not been determined.
Macias declared that the tomb still requires structural conservation work because there are fractures on the rocks of the hill to which the mausoleum is fixed. Mexican architects from University of Valle de Mexico, specialized on ancient monument restoration, will conduct this work.
The authorization of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Antiques to work in an ancient tomb is an acknowledgement to the high level of Mexican archaeology and restoration, as well as to the INAH schools of Restoration, Conservation and Museography (ENCRyM) and National of Anthropology and History (ENAH), she concluded.