Reconstructing the top of a Thutmoside square pillar from the Osiris Temple area at Abydos

Jun 7, 2020

Sometimes there are so many fragments associated with a single project that one must select only the most diagnostic pieces for documentation. Such was the case in Abydos (@digabydos) when excavating the Osiris Temple site during the 2013 season. In the matter of mere months, thousands of small painted relief fragments (mostly chips broken off larger blocks) were transported to the dig house to be labeled and stored for future research. ⠀ ⠀

Certain fragments preserved their exquisite original hues, providing some very tempting targets for color documentation. However, it would have been hard to create a useful epigraphic recording of these pieces without making an attempt to identify what they were a part of. Sometimes their orientation and even localization was possible based on the textual remains depicted on the surface. In other cases the identification of certain pieces caused quite a bit of a headache for the epigrapher. Nonetheless, this kind of detective work is what makes documentation particularly exciting. ⠀ ⠀

In the above sample drawing, the small fragment with red and blue stripes and a few green “tooth-like” triangles actually belongs to a large protective bird. It was most possibly carved on top of a square pillar that originally belonged to the Osiris Temple’s Thutmoside phase. The parallel scene (in the small window), copied from the Small Amun Temple at Medinet Habu was used for the reconstruction. The color sketch also gives the perfect indication for how it once appeared on the wall. ⠀ ⠀

Once again, even the seemingly insignificant little fragments can lead to major revelations!⠀

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