Copying a large Thutmoside block reused in the Khonsu Temple doorway at Karnak

Jun 5, 2020

A good example of how the Chicago House method has been adapted to suit unusual conditions is the Epigraphic Survey's documentation program designed to record reused blocks in the Ramesside Khonsu Temple at Karnak. The epigraphic recording of these fragments, taken from dismantled older monuments and built into the floors, walls, and roof of the still standing building, became possible in 2008, with a restoration project supported by the American Research Center in Egypt (@arcenational).⠀ ⠀

The restoration work allowed access to cracks in the temple structure, reveling a great number of blocks with inscribed/decorated surfaces, commonly turned sideways or deliberately erased by the Twentieth Dynasty builders. These narrow interstices between the blocks, sometimes as small as one centimeter, precluded the use of photographs in most cases.⠀ ⠀

Thanks to a few missing floor blocks in the interior chambers, a small percentage of these fragments could be traced directly onto clear acetate, using fine permanent markers. These were typically architrave or lintel blocks, used as thresholds within the later doorways, large enough to support the weight of the massive Ramesside doorjambs. Working in such conditions was far from ideal for the artist. The results, although painstakingly collected from bits and pieces, became a series of cross-checked facsimile drawings, made to the Survey’s standards of accuracy, of a corpus of inscribed material that would otherwise have remained entirely unrecorded.

To be continued...⠀

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