*Last night I heard that the decision has been taken that the 2011 season of the Polish-Egyptian mission in Deir El-Bahari will be continuing (it had been functioning with a skeleton staff throughout the recent events but it was unclear whether it would continue or cut sort the season). Our (Polish) Foreign Office has not yet downgraded its travel warning, but diplomatic sources suggest its a matter of days. The British one has however downgraded theirs. So after talking with Cairo last night, I will close the half-packed suitcase gaping all this time in the hall attracting dust and cats and fly out Sunday at dawn for a shortened stay. So blogging really will be light from the end of this week.
The shorter stay means I will not be able to get done all of what I had planned. Last night however I saw the preliminary results of ground penetrating radar survey of where I am supposed to be digging in the Lower Court (a small version here), and they are amazing but at the same time worrying. It seems that against all expectations (as turned out to be the case last year) the earlier work there had not removed all of the stratigraphy. So what should have been a 'take-off-the-old-backfill-down-to-rock' exercise to prepare foundations for the display of reconstructed statuary looks like it could be far more interesting - and complex. It seems though with tourist figures down, there may be no better time to excavate the bit we were planning. Let's see what conditions are like on the ground however and how far the paperwork got through the SCA before all the troubles.
Meanwhile I have been enjoying Peter Kircham's blog, he's down there as a tourist, having a whale of a time just observing life as it goes on in the Luxor region. Worth a read.
Photo: The Lower Court of the Hatshepsut temple (middle foreground on the left) from not-even-half way up the cliffs behind, the degree to which that valley was modified to fit this thing in is not often appreciated, modern excavators' spoil heaps don't help either. [the thing in the foreground right is the Mentuhotep temple] (Photo PMB 2009).