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1992-93 Annual Report

Peter F. Dorman

The sixty-ninth season of the Epigraphic Survey opened on October 6, 1992, coinciding precisely with the beginning of the University of Chicago's second century: the inaugural inspection of Luxor Temple and the adjoining fragment blockyards took place at 1:30 a.m., Chicago time, in the first twenty-four hours of the University's next hundred years. With the successful conclusion of work on the Opet reliefs, the chief goal of the 1992-93 season was the completion of epigraphy on all remaining areas of the Colonnade Hall, as well as the commencement of epigraphic work on the small temple of Amun at Medinet Habu.

Figure 1. Frontispiece for the publication of the Opet festival: the northern entrance to the Colonnade Hall at Luxor Temple.

Figure 2. In one of the drawings approved for publication during the season of 1992-93, King Horemhab (usurped from Ay) offers to Amun and Mut-Bastet on the doorjamb of the northern portal. The right side of the scene is concealed by blocks of the later doorway of Philip Arrhidaeus.

The season itself opened rather slowly, due to the yet-incomplete renovation of the residence building (see below). Although the library and offices were fully functioning as soon as we arrived, the staff had to move into local hotels for the first two weeks of work; the kitchen was not fully commissioned and operating until October 20th. The earthquake that rocked Cairo on October 12th had little effect on Upper Egypt, but we felt a light tremor even as far south as Luxor: the three hanging overhead lights in the library were set eerily moving in slow, concentric circles. Fortunately, there was no apparent damage to monuments in the Theban area. The growing tensions caused by sporadic acts of terrorism in Egypt this year were reflected in the gradual decrease of tourists evident in Luxor as the season wore on. The central provinces of Minya and Asyut in middle Egypt were declared officially off limits to Americans, but Aswan and Luxor remained on the approved tourist itinerary. Despite these uncertainties, we were visited by over a thousand guests during the season, and at least sixty-seven library tours were given to tour groups and individuals stopping by. The only real danger to our own property was caused by two police guards stationed outside our gate who, in laying small fires to warm themselves at night, inadvertently set fire to one of the nearby ficus trees, which luckily collapsed onto the corniche rather than onto our sleeping gateman.

Figure 3. Epigrapher Debbie Darnell collates the formal graffito of the High Priest of Amun Paiankh, carved on the facade of the Colonnade Hall.

At Luxor Temple, the primary challenge was documenting the great facade and northeastern corner of the Colonnade Hall, which are among the best preserved architectural features. The facade of the Hall was apparently not decorated until after Tutankhamun's death, when his successor, Ay, added three large-scale registers of offering scenes carved in light raised relief; subsequently, Horemhab usurped Ay's cartouches. The facade was radically altered when Ramesses II added a porticoed court directly in front of the Colonnade Hall. Because the decorative registration of the new court did not match that of the Colonnade facade, Ramesses simply erased the scenes of Ay located below the portico roof and recarved new offering scenes in sunk relief, featuring the three gods of Karnak: Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Epigraphers Richard Jasnow and John and Debbie Darnell, together with artists Tina Di Cerbo and Ray Johnson, worked over this crucial area for several months: the original Ay reliefs on the doorjamb of the northern portal (see fig. 2) and above the portico roof (accessible only by tall ladders), as well as the scenes below the roof, recut by Ramesses II. The most urgent task was to verify the traces of the earlier scenes of Ay and match them to the extant relief above the portico roof (mentioned earlier by Lanny Bell in the Oriental Institute Annual Report 1980-81, pp. 12-13). Ray worked on a 1:50 scale reconstruction of the facade, indicating not only the original decorative program of Ay but also the placement of block fragments that belong to the northern face of the Colonnade.

The facade shows evidence of considerable reuse even after the addition of the court of Ramesses II. Merneptah added a horizontal band of dedicatory inscription below his father's reliefs, but this was subsequently erased. The lower facade was to become a favored location for other kinds of votive inscriptions after the end of the New Kingdom.

Figure 4. Epigraphers John Darnell and Richard Jasnow and artist Tina Di Cerbo examine a graffito of Amun-Kamutef, carved next to a marginal inscription of Merneptah.

One of the more elaborate graffiti, which approximates the scale and quality of a formal relief, is central to discussions of the end of the Ramesside era. Here the High Priest of Amun Pinodjem is shown, grandson of the infamous High Priest Herihor who claimed pharaonic titles in his reliefs at Khonsu Temple at Karnak. Although the graffito has already been discussed by Edward Wente (among others) in his preface to The Temple of Khonsu, Vol. 1, the Epigraphic Survey is making the first definitive record of the figures and text (see fig. 3). Higher up the wall, an inscription made by the High Priest of Amun Sheshonk, son of Osorkon I, has been recorded; he was later to become coregent with his father as Sheshonk II of the Twenty-second Dynasty. A sizable graffito depicting the divine child Khonsu, tucked in between the much larger figures of Amun and Mut, can be dated to the Ptolemaic period, to judge from the name of the dedicator, Khonsu-Ij. Other miscellaneous additions, clustered around the base of the wall, include later graffiti of Amun-Kamutef and Mut (see fig. 4), small kingly faces, and a text naming a person called Miw-sheri, "little cat."

Figure 5. Thick plaster on this block fragment preserves an exact impression of part of an offering scene of Ramesses II, long since destroyed. A "heaven" sign and the phrase, "[Words] spoken [by Amen-Ra], lord [of the thrones of the two lands … ]," can be recognized.

The northern portal, leading into the Colonnade, also exhibits a variety of reuse. The recessed thicknesses of the doorway, originally decorated by Ramesses II, were entirely filled in with slim ashlar blocks, which were then adorned with identical reliefs in the name of Sety II. In examining a loose block fragment containing a cartouche frieze of Sety II, John Darnell happened to notice that the back of the block was covered with a thick layer of plaster that still bore the imprint of the original Ramesses II relief (see fig. 5). The combination of the front and rear decoration will enable the Epigraphic Survey to reconstruct the location of this block within a few centimeters of its original position in the door thickness. Sety II also modified the northern portal by adding smaller door jambs, of which two blocks are still extant; this was in turn replaced by a similar structure erected by the Macedonian ruler Philip Arrhidaeus.

Figure 6. Artist Margaret De Jong pencils deteriorating block fragments behind Luxor Temple.

In the Hall proper, Tina, Ray, and Sue Osgood continued work on the final reinking of the great offering scenes of the columns, and Debbie made a new survey of the cartouches of various kings that adorn the shafts of the columns. These royal names and the great architrave inscriptions will be finally checked in the season to come.

The block fragments that belong to the destroyed upper registers of the Hall continued to be a priority, especially those that are known to be deteriorating. Over fifty enlargements were made of fragments that are in poor condition, and artists Margaret De Jong and Jay Heidel began the task of penciling and inking them, before more details are worn away (see fig. 6). Another fine addition to the Opet reliefs was discovered by Ray in the Turin Museum: a fragment of the procession entering the precinct of Luxor. By courtesy of Professor Roveri-Donadoni, a photograph was sent to Chicago House, and the inked fragment will be included in the Opet publication.

Figure 7. Viewed from above, field director Peter Dorman collates the base of one of the pair statues of Amun and Mut in the Colonnade Hall.

At the small temple of Amun at Medinet Habu, epigraphic work got into higher gear (see fig. 8). Sue, Tina, Margaret, and Jay penciled twenty-three drawings for summer work, and the epigraphers undertook collations on five inked drawings. In fact, the first drawings from the small temple will be ready for director's checks at the beginning of next season.

We enjoyed the presence of no fewer than three photographers this year, spaced several months apart due to scheduling constraints. Sue Lezon stayed at Chicago House during the first three months, Cecile Keefe arrived for five weeks through the month of January, and Tom Van Eynde finished up the season in March. Their combined efforts were prodigious, and rather typical for a busy season at Chicago House: 68 full drawing enlargements were made, as well as another 52 fragment enlargements; 74 drawings were bleached after inking; 40 were blueprinted for collation; and roughly 650 negatives were printed for file purposes. These purely routine chores were supplemented by several special projects. Sue duplicated another 222 deteriorating negatives and produced almost 770 images for the Epigraphic Survey's new series of photographic portfolios (see below). She also made over two hundred prints of block fragments that will appear in the plates of the Opet publication. Cecile undertook new photography in Luxor Temple, taking several detail views of the facade and of 164 additional Colonnade fragments in the blockyards behind the temple. Tom spent several days at Medinet Habu reshooting several of the peripteral pillars of the small temple, photographed all the finished drawings that were carried back to Chicago, and ensured that artists would have plenty of new work on hand for the commencement of next season.

Figure 8. Artist Sue Osgood pencils a brilliantly painted scene in one of the interior chapels at the small temple of Amun at Medinet Habu.

Ellie Smith continued her exceptional volunteer work in the photographic archives, keeping up with the seemingly endless tasks of filing, labeling, and sleeving new Chicago House negatives and newly-identified prints and negatives from the Labib Habachi archives. She compiled various lists on the photographic archives computer to categorize the Medinet Habu and Karnak graffiti negatives, the 5 x 7 glass plate negatives, numerous rolls of 35 mm black and white negatives, and interior views of the small temple at Medinet Habu. Ellie also typed in a separate registry for 1,700 block fragments, which will now provide information on block identification, date, presumed location, and type of scene-a permanent reference for future work on the fragments.

The Epigraphic Survey was extremely fortunate to be able to draw on the talents of Jean and Helen Jacquet for another several weeks during the winter. Jean completed sketching elevations of the northern portal of the Colonnade Hall, which will be used in the second volume on Luxor Temple, and Helen again lent her unerring eye to the ongoing process of identifying sites, objects, and personalities in the photographs of the Habachi archive.

In addition to her epigrapher's duties, Debbie Darnell oversaw the management of the library and was assisted again by Richard and John, particularly in the ordering process. Ellie and volunteer Nan Ray were both instrumental in helping to catalogue the 229 new books that were accessioned, bringing the library registry up to 16,315. Debbie also updated the monograph series listing, which had not been maintained consistently over the years, and with a burst of correspondence tracked down orders that were still outstanding and identified gaps in various series: as a result, nearly all missing items were received. She also conducted a review of our important map collection, which contains many rare pieces. With the help of Ellie and Nan, forty-one fragile maps were encapsulated in protective mylar. Chicago House continues to be a place that welcomes international research; visiting scholars to the library totaled 237 this season.

Paul Bartko again oversaw the administrative functions of the Epigraphic Survey with skill and panache and, with the assistance of Kathy Dorman during the winter months, he ran the household and kitchen as well. The Chicago House Bulletin, written by contributing members of the staff and formatted three times a year by Paul, is now finishing its fourth year and continues to be widely read by our friends all over the world. Kaylin Goldstein expertly managed the Epigraphic Survey office at the Oriental Institute in our absence, responded quickly to our pleas for assistance, mailed out our winter Bulletin, and served as a crucial liaison with the Institute. During my own three-week absence from Luxor in November, Richard very ably filled in as acting director. We were also able to assist several other expeditions in facilitating their work or various repair jobs: Carol Meyer's Bir Umm Fawakhir project and John and Debbie Darnell's Luxor-Farshût Desert Road Survey (see their accounts elsewhere in this Report); the Amenmesse Royal Tomb project of Earl Ertman and Otto Schaden; the Polish-Egyptian Mission to Deir el-Bahri; the Belgian Mission to Elkab; Memphis State University's epigraphic study of the Hypostyle Hall, directed by William Murnane; and the work of the American University of Cairo in the Valley of the Kings, led by Kent Weeks.

Carlotta Maher, our irreplaceable development assistant, valiantly spurred on the Epigraphic Survey's fundraising efforts, as she has for several years past, in particular keeping in personal touch with our numerous Chicago House supporters, helping to organize our one-day open house in February, and promoting two planned exhibitions of prints from our glass plate negative collection, one in Chicago and the other in Cairo. Nan Ray also assisted her in several of these endeavors, both during her stay at the house and later, in the summer, as well.

Several major receptions punctuated the progress of the season. Approximately eighty members of the World Business Council, accompanied by Lanny Bell, received a library tour and courtyard reception, as did a group from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. An especially welcome event was the arrival of the Oriental Institute tour to Egypt, which marked Professor Edward Wente's first visit to Chicago House in almost ten years. Toward the end of the season, Senator Patrick Leahy and several of his staff visited Chicago House for dinner and spent a day in Luxor touring the ancient monuments on both sides of the Nile. One especially memorable party was hosted by the Polish-Egyptian Mission to Deir el-Bahri, held at their dig house in the western Valley of the Kings and climaxed by a magnificent stroll by full moon through the deserted landscape to the foot of the central peak, the Gurn, that dominates the ancient necropolis.

On January 28, the American Ambassador, His Excellency Robert J. Pelletreau, Jr., and Pamela Pelletreau hosted a grand evening reception in honor of Chicago House at their residence in Zamalek, which was the highlight of our Cairo season, attended by many of our donors, business friends, and professional colleagues. Forty-five Cairenes subsequently visited Luxor on February 13 for our annual Friends of Chicago House tour, abbreviated to just one day this year due to the interruptions of the continuing renovation on our facilities. Tours of our field research at Luxor and Medinet Habu were augmented by what has become a traditional black-tie gala dinner and dance at Chicago House, enlivened by old tangos and waltzes played from the original 1930s record collection (entirely 78 rpm) that still resides in the music room.

Figure 9. The foundations of the new staff and guest residence rise on the former site of Healey House.

The last twelve months have seen significant progress in the publication of the reliefs of the Opet procession, which will comprise the subject matter of our first volume from Luxor Temple, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Luxor Temple Volume 1: The Processional Festival of Opet in the Colonnade Hall; it will be the largest (and heaviest) volume ever produced by the Epigraphic Survey, due to the unprecedented number of fold-out plates demanded by the horizontal format of the reliefs. During the summer of 1992, the finished drawings were photographed at the reduced scales necessary for assembling each of the 130 folio plates. Thanks to registrar Ray Tindel, who kindly made space available to us in the basement of the Oriental Institute, artist Sue Osgood was able to undertake the complicated task of assembling the individual plates, some of which contain over three dozen reduced drawing prints. With the addition of the printed caption information, this painstaking task was virtually completed in the spring of 1993, and we expect the volume will go to press this winter. In April 1993, the Epigraphic Survey was extremely fortunate to receive a generous award from the Getty Grant Program of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which will entirely cover the costs of the first two volumes from Luxor Temple and will help in offsetting the expenses of future folios as well.

Figure 10. The walls of the photographic laboratory are stripped of their cracked plaster coating in preparation for refinishing. The medallion over the doorway, representing the face of a camera has been preserved intact.

In December 1992 the Epigraphic Survey published a unique set of photographic portfolios entitled Lost Egypt, an idea that was first broached by photographer Sue Lezon. The glass plate collection from which these portfolio images were made was purchased by Lanny Bell in Luxor in 1987 from a local vendor, with the purpose of augmenting the photographic archives of the Epigraphic Survey (see Lanny's account in the Oriental Institute Annual Report 1986/87, pp. 7-8). With the assistance of funds from the Friends of Chicago House tour of 1988 and the Getty Grant Program, Sue has undertaken the cleaning and conservation of the entire collection, as well as the production of the prints for the portfolio series. Unlike other methods of "restriking" from old negatives, the glass plates have been exposed individually to direct sunlight on printing-out paper. Depending on the density of the negative and the strength of the sun, exposure times varied between five minutes and two hours, resulting in minuscule differences among the prints. Each print has been toned in a gold chloride solution, determining the final color of the image. Great care has been taken to produce prints that would have resembled closely those that a traveler might have purchased while journeying through Egypt in the nineteenth century. The portfolios each hold ten matted prints in a hand-bound traycase, together with a catalogue brochure containing essays on nineteenth century photography written jointly by John Darnell, Sue Lezon, and the present author. The portfolios may be ordered from the Publications Sales Office at the Oriental Institute.

The renovation of the buildings within the Chicago House complex has absorbed an enormous amount of energy and time on the part of many of the Epigraphic Survey's staff members during the past year. The sixteen-month project had to be carefully orchestrated by phases, so that the epigraphic mission of the Survey would not be unduly interrupted. With the approval of contracts in June 1992, the construction officially got underway in mid-July, and two staff members, James Riley and Sue Lezon, consented to brave the very worst of the summer heat in Luxor by acting as the Epigraphic Survey's representatives on site. Without their supervision and constant support, it is doubtful that the critical first phase of the renovation would have been completed on time. Another crucial participant was Engineer Girgis Samuel of Luxor, who facilitated much of the necessary permissions in Luxor with the City Council and who has proved a steadfast friend throughout the entire construction process. They were also assisted by a most capable supervisor from Bechtel Egypt, Engineer Ayman Moussa. The first summer phase was aimed at improvements in the residence building and in basic support systems. In only ten weeks the interior of the residence building was entirely repainted and retiled. Solar heating replaced the ancient water heater outside our kitchen door that often smoked uncontrollably-and occasionally caught fire. The kitchen was equipped with stainless steel butagas and electric ovens, a dishwasher, and large-capacity refrigeration equipment. The back gate, long closed to traffic, was reopened and a transformer and a new generator were installed on the property.

Figure 11. In readiness for planned renovation, the Chicago House library stands empty for the first time in sixty-two years. One of the last visitors this season was a cat, puzzled by the doors left open to facilitate removal of the books.

For the first summer's work, the residence had to be stripped of its contents, and the task of organizing the reoccupation in October was given to Richard and Tina, who did a magnificent job, with assistance from all the staff. Every piece of furniture had to be washed and polished, rugs were beaten, kitchen pots were scraped until they gleamed, and even the white plaster cast from the tomb of Kheruef, which hangs in the dining room, was cleaned by Jay. There were nonetheless several bugs to be worked out: the hot water routing system did not function well at first, several refrigerator shelves suddenly collapsed in the kitchen, certain cooling units proved to be defective, some water leaks were detected, electrical circuits in the library were unaccountably tripped, and we encountered occasional three-day telephone outages. These were gradually corrected, and the greatest luxury we have enjoyed this season is the constant availability of heat, hot water, and electricity.

In the fall, Engineer Ahmed el-Refaei of Bechtel Egypt was assigned as site supervisor for the renovation project, which was focused during the field season on the outbuildings of Chicago House that the staff did not directly need to pursue the epigraphic work. Ahmed has proved to be both an outstanding administrator and a gifted site engineer, and it is primarily his efforts that have brought the construction through to its final stages. During the winter months, Healey House was demolished and the foundations were poured for a larger guest house, which will be used for supplementary staff housing as well (see fig. 10). The storerooms, workrooms, ladder magazines, and laundry area were renovated and repainted, necessitating the wholesale removal of obsolete equipment and personal belongings, some of which had not seen the light of day for forty years. James Riley carefully sorted and organized this enormous pile of material, and our house engineer, Saleh Shehat, sold unusable or unwanted items to local scavengers from the town. The boundary walls were also raised and strengthened to increase security.

The field season officially ended on April 1, 1993, but preparations had to begin in mid-March for the complete evacuation of the library. Once again, the unsurpassable talents of Richard and Tina were enlisted. With a good deal of forethought and the help of some movable carts manufactured in-house, they succeeded in just eight days in moving almost 17,000 books and shelving out of the library and into two staff suites in the residence. The contents of the library were followed gradually by office furniture, desks, computers, and drawing tables, as the artists and epigraphers continued to work up to the last day of the season. The library building, photographic laboratory, and the grounds were turned over to the contractors on the last day of the season. The final phase of work is scheduled to finish on October 1, 1993.

Figure 12. A staff photograph on the occasion of a visit by Ambassador and Mrs. Pelletreau. Seated, first row: John Darnell, Debbie Darnell, Sue Osgood, Kathy Dorman, Paul Bartko; seated, second row: Emily Dorman, Richard Jasnow, Ray Johnson, Jay Heidel, Carlotta Maher, Margaret Dorman; standing, left to right: Pamela Pelletreau, Helen Jacquet, Margaret De Jong, Henri Riad, Jean Jacquet, Tina Di Cerbo, Robert Pelletreau, Peter Dorman.

The staff this season consisted of the author as field director; Richard Jasnow and John and Deborah Darnell, epigraphers; W. Raymond Johnson, Christina Di Cerbo, Susan Osgood, James Heidel, and Margaret De Jong, artists; Susan Lezon, Cecile Keefe, and Thomas Van Eynde, photographers; James Riley, photographic assistant and engineering advisor; Jean and Helen Jacquet, field architects; Kathy Dorman and Paul Bartko, house and office administrators; Jill Carlotta Maher, assistant to the director; Elinor Smith, photographic archives assistant; and Saleh Suleiman Shehat, our irreplaceable chief engineer, whose advice and services to the Epigraphic Survey have been inestimable. We were very fortunate, too, that our invaluable friend and colleague Dr. Henri Riad was in residence for most of the season, to assist us in the areas of public relations and local contacts; he also continued to administer the Labib Habachi Archives on behalf of the Epigraphic Survey. To all of these people, who had to endure inordinate inconvenience in addition to the rigors of the field work, I express my appreciation and gratitude.

We are especially grateful to the members of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization who contributed directly to the success of the season: Dr. Mohammed Bakr, Chairman of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization; Dr. Mutawa Balboush, Supervisor of Antiquities for Upper Egypt; Dr. Mohammed el-Saghir, Director of Antiquities for Southern Upper Egypt; Dr. Mohammed Nasr, Chief Inspector of Karnak and Luxor; Abd el-Hamid Marouf, Inspector of Karnak; Dr. Sayid el-Hegazy, Chief Inspector of Qurna; and Dr. Madeleine el-Mallah, Director of the Luxor Museum.

In addition to those mentioned for specific contributions, I gratefully express thanks to many other colleagues and friends: the United States Ambassador to Egypt, His Excellency Robert J. Pelletreau, Jr., and Mrs. Pamela Pelletreau; Wes Egan, Marjorie Ransom, Frank Ward, and Paul Thorn of the United States Embassy in Cairo; Ashraf and Henny Ghonima; Tom and Ellen Granger; Nadia Mostafa; Mohammed Ozalp; David Maher; Mark Rudkin; Lucia Woods Lindley and Daniel Lindley, Jr.; Jack Josephson; Gerry Vincent; Louis Byron, Jr.; Karl Seyfried and Friederike Kampp of Heidelberg University; Terry Walz, Mark Easton, Ibrahim Sadek, and Amira Khattab of the American Research Center in Egypt; Fathi Salib of American Express in Luxor; and Cynthia Echols, Evada Waller, and Florence Bonnick of the Oriental Institute. Three institutions in particular have rendered fundamental assistance and support that have proved essential to the success of the season: the Amoco Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Trust, and the Xerox Foundation.

As always, we will be very pleased to welcome members of the Oriental Institute and other friends to Chicago House from October 1 to April 1. Please write to us in advance, to let us know the dates of your visit, and call us as soon as you arrive in Luxor, so that we can confirm a time that is mutually convenient. Our address in Egypt: Chicago House, Corniche el-Nil, Luxor, Arab Republic of Egypt. For the second year in a row, our unpredictable friends in the local telephone office in Luxor have decided to make our lives even more interesting by changing our fax number: 381620 (direct dial from the United States: 011-20-95-381620). Our telephone number-at least for the time being-remains the same as last year: 011-20-95-372525.

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