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The Dig Diary 2000-Final part

Saturday 21 October

Today is going to be our last day on which we actually work on the tomb material. I am already starting packing away the objects, as that is the most important thing to sort out in the tomb. Helen continues drawing her objects, and gets them finished in the course of the morning. Today is Gillian's last day, and she also finishes off her drawings. We are fortunate to get a visit from Dr Briant Bohleke of Chicago House, who last year made a preliminary transcriptions of the jar labels on the Senneferi vessels. As more sherds have been joined this year, he has a lot more material on which to work, and can improve on lots of last year's ideas. One particularly important find was a date of year 38 year 38 glyphs on a pilgrim flask. There can be no doubt that this relates to Thutmose III, and shows that the burial cannot have taken place before that date, somewhere about 1450 BC.

Today I also did the last of our comparative tombs, TT226; the name of the owner is not known, but it could be Heqareshu. This tomb was already destroyed when it was copied by Davies, but I wanted to get an idea of the state of the monument for an article I am writing about it. The tomb is interesting in that it is clear that parts of it were already collapsing when it was built, as certain areas (in the close-up photo) were built from brick walls rather than the solid rock.

In the evening we had dinner with Ray Johnson, the Director of Chicago House, and then saw Gillian off onto her train to Cairo. She's done a lot of work and, like everyone else, we'll miss her.

Sunday 22 October

Today is packing up and closing down day, as all work has been completed. This means that we have the luxury of enough time to avoid the usual panic, which is good considering neither Helen nor myself are feeling that good. Fortunately, Amanda is still with us to give essential assistance, and of course we can rely on Abdul-Rahman to help when needed.

There is a lot of pottery still to be put down the shaft. Here you see me climbing down holding the reassembled stand you saw in a previous diary. I am glad to say that none of the reassembled pots was broken!

In the meantime, the tent was taken down and moved part of the way down the hill so we could get it with a taxi. The remaining job was to pack away our stuff; we use a convenient chamber cut into the back room. This is quite small, so Helen usually is asked to go and put stuff in it!

And so to closing the tomb at about 11:15. The chief guard comes along and makes sure, together with Abdul-Rahman, that everything is properly closed and sealed up.

Then it's off down the hill for the last time, but not without one last view of the dogs to complete the Dog diary.

Our last act was to go down to the inspectorate and make our farewells there. Here you see me together with Abdul-Rahman in Mohamed el-Bialey's office. Lots of foreign missions are arriving, so many that there is an inspector shortage!

In the afternoon we had a rest before the inevitable packing. Ray Johnson had invited us for the evening to Chicago House--this was incredibly kind of him, and it made a wonderful end to the season for us all. We bade farewell to Amanda when we headed off for the airport and the plane to Cairo. She is going to Cairo by train--she's also the first person other than myself and Helen to have been with us for the whole of a season, and it's been great fun to have her along (she did a lot of work too!!).

Monday 23 October

We needed a rest, what with being a bit ill and the end of the season, but first there were certain things to do in Cairo. We had to say cheerio to friends at the Cairo Museum who had helped us so much at the beginning of the season. Then I had to see again Ahmed Mostafa, whom I sponsored on a visit to Britain last year. He took us for lunch on a boat moored on the Nile. After that we went back and slept.

Tuesday 24 October

It's off to Cairo airport at 7:00 to get the plane to London. You really know when the season's over when you see Cairo falling away below you. We did all we could have done this season, and now we're heading back to the grey miserable skies of Britain.

Thanks to you all for reading!

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