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Amarna Fund 2017

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The Field Station and Office

Like all explorers, archaeologists need a base camp from which to work. Without a field station, there would be no excavation. Yet even once a season’s excavation dust has settled, the work continues. Every object found and every note taken needs to be catalogued and archived, so that the wider world can learn about what we discover. Your gift ensures that the world knows what we do.

The yearly cost of maintaining the Field Station and Office is £15,000.

 

Fieldwork: Great Aten Temple

The religious focal point for the capital city of Akhetaten was its Great Aten Temple. This important, expansive monument now lies beside a rapidly growing modern village. The village’s expansion leaves the temple vulnerable, particularly because it remains buried for its own protection. Its invisibility makes it both vulnerable to urban expansion, and difficult for visitors to understand. Every year, we undertake a campaign to expose, record and redefine the Temple, turning it from a hidden ruin into a visible monument with defined boundaries that will help to protect it.

The yearly cost for protecting the Great Aten Temple is £5,000.

Conservation: coffins

In 2006, we revolutionised our understanding of Amarna when we found where the regular people of the ancient city were buried: a place we call the South Tombs Cemetery. This discovery sheds unprecedented light on life in Akhenaten’s city. One of the most important finds was a group of painted wooden coffins. These are unique: they are the only surviving decorated coffins from Amarna. They offer us an unparalleled opportunity to explore beliefs about death and the afterlife during Akhenaten’s tumultuous reign. But the coffins are extremely fragile. Badly deteriorated, they require extensive conservation so that they can be studied and preserved for future generations. Our ultimate aim is one day to put them on public display.

The cost of conserving the painted coffins this year is £4,000.

Archives: digitising the pottery records

The past 40 years of excavations have left us with an enormous record of our work – drawings, photographs and notes of everything we’ve ever found. We have been digitising and rehousing this material for many years, to ensure its long-term survival and to make it available electronically. Pottery is the most common, and often important, material that you find when digging in Egypt. It is therefore fitting that this year, our focus is on archiving and scanning our pottery material.

The cost for doing so this year is £1,000.

Publication: South Tombs Cemetery

After eight seasons of digging in the South Tombs Cemetery, where the regular people of Amarna were buried, we have one of the largest bodies of well-excavated human remains and funerary items available for study from pharaonic Egypt. We will publish this material in three volumes, written by an international team of bioarchaeologists, excavators, material-culture specialists, environmental archaeologists and conservators. These volumes will provide a truly groundbreaking approach to archaeological reporting. The work’s wide-ranging thematic scope, multidisciplinary narrative, substantial interpretive content and use of both traditional and digital forms of presentation is unprecedented in publications on ancient Egypt. The publication promises to change the way we look at human remains from ancient Egypt.

This year, we hope to raise £5,000 to support its completion.

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