1996-97 ANNUAL REPORT
W. Raymond Johnson
In November, W. Raymond Johnson supervised a second short season of documentation work at the Ramesses II small Ptah temple in ancient Memphis, focusing on the decoration of reused blocks of Nebmaatre Amenhotep III. He was able to document another thirty-one blocks and block fragments from the earlier structure of Amenhotep III, expanding the catalog to sixty-two, and will return to Memphis this fall to finish the photography and collation of the drawings for publication in the Egypt Exploration Society's Survey of Memphis series. Ramesses II seems to have dismantled an entire shrine for reuse in his Ptah chapel, and the preserved decoration suggests that the original structure was a portable bark shrine to the god Ptah-Sokar, a chthonic form of the creator-god Ptah. This shrine was part of Amenhotep III's great Ptah temple complex called "Nebmaatre-United-With-Ptah" which Ramesses II completely dismantled for reuse in the construction of his own great Ptah temple nearby.
In addition to documenting Amenhotep III reliefs, Ray identified a granodiorite body that joins the head of an Amenhotep III male deity in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art since the turn of the century. The two pieces are now joined and on display. At the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Ray examined a granodiorite head of the goddess Hathor from the time of Tutankhamun and determined that it joins a torso in the Nicholson Museum, Sydney, Australia; casts of the two pieces will eventually be made and exchanged for joining. Also at the Egyptian Museum Ray tested the cast of a block inscribed with the cartouche of Nefertiti he had observed in the San Diego Museum of Man, excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society at Amarna in the 1920s, with the famous limestone house shrine inscribed with figures of Akhenaten and Nefertiti from the official house of the Chief Servitor of the Aten, Panehsy. He found that the San Diego block forms the lowest course of the house shrine on the right side and completes the lower legs of Akhenaten as well as the lower jamb text mentioning Nefertiti. Eventually a permanent cast of the block will be made and inserted into the restored shrine in Cairo. All of this was a happy complement to the restoration of the goddess Mut's face to her colossal body in the Colonnade Hall in January, the triumphant culmination of years of research and scholarly cooperation. It was truly an excellent year for joins.
This year also saw the publication of several of Ray's studies on the deified Amenhotep III and his art: "The Revolutionary Role of the Sun in the Reliefs and Statuary of Amenhotep III" in News & Notes 151 (Fall 1996), and "Amenhotep III and Amarna: Some New Considerations," in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 82 (1996). In December Ray was invited to join the Board of Advisors for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts "Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamun" show, slated for the turn of the millennium.
This season marked Ray's eighteenth season of work in Luxor for Chicago House. On 1 March 1997 he succeeded Peter F. Dorman as Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey, and in late May he moved back to Chicago and the Oriental Institute. He is very happy to be back.
Revised: July 30, 2007