François Leclère (PSL Research University Paris / EPHE Sciences religieuses, EA 4519 – Égypte ancienne : archéologie, langue religion)
How Eveha Participates
The new research program of the French Mission of Tanis Excavations, set up in 2014, was resumed in Spring and Automn 2016. Eveha international’s collaboration focused on topographic and photogrammetric operations.
Sebastien Poudroux provided the topographic recording of both ceramic and magnetometric prospecting on the tell surface. These latter were led on the southern and easthern parts of the Central plain, as an extension of the operations carried out during the two previous campaigns.
A series of topographic measurements at the tell’s periphery has made it possible to update the current contours, which have evolved considerably since the mid-1980s. It shows in particular the fairly strong progression of crops at the north-eastern edge of the tell. The positioning of several monumental remains of Amun and Mut temples has also been completed. The azimuth of the axis of the temple of Amun was very precisely determined. In the fall of 2016, a short but dense kite shooting session was conducted, mainly in the area of the sacred domains of Amun and Mut, as well as in parts of the Central plain. Combined with a topographic coverage, it allowed the realization of quality ortho-photographs and a first partial digital elevation model. These operations made it possible to lay the bases of new plans, and to carry out synthetic plans of the whole tell and temenos of Amun and Mout.
Epigraphic studies were continued in the same time in the shops and in the royal tombs. The documentation of inscribed blocks from tombs of high private figures of the 21st dynasty, reused in the tomb of Chechanq III, was completed. The study of blocks from two monuments of Chechanq V, reused in the walls of the Sacred Lake of Amun, was also advanced. Various other monuments have been occasionally documented. This year, the palaeography of the inscriptions of the royal tombs of the XXII dynasty has progressed in the tomb of Osorkon II.
Several clean-up and enhancement operations were also carried out in various areas of the site. The internal pavements of the tomb of Psousennès have for the first time been completely cleared, which has allowed several architectural observations. A first photogrammetric reading test was carried out. An initial diagnosis of the degradation processes of the decorated walls, caused in particular by the recurrent crystallization of the salts contained in the masonry blocks, made it possible to lay the foundations for future interventions relating to the conservation of the monuments. As the alternation between wet and dry phases is a particularly important factor in the migration and crystallization of salts, the protective dykes put in place around the tombs in 2015 have been reinforced and regularized. Pending the implementation of heavier conservation projects, they considerably reduce the risk of flooding in and in contact with tombs in the event of torrential rains, which are not rare in this region. The roof surfaces were carefully cleared and photographed by kite, while the block-by-block plan documentation was topographically wedged. A first digital model has been produced.
North of the square in front of the monumental gate of Chechanq III, a granite colossus head, previously resting on the facade in unsuitable conditions, was installed on a new concrete base, near the trunk and legs of the colossus. In the central part of the temple, a 22 m long concrete bench was built. It will support about twenty large fragments of colossal quartzite statuary.
NB: On the basis of the program and the results obtained, the MFFT was awarded at the end of 2015 by the Jean and Marie-Françoise Leclant Prize (Jean Leclant Foundation) and in 2016 – 2017 by the “Label of Archeology” of the French Académie des inscriptions and belles-lettres.