Tracing Upside Down Relief Fragments Originated From the Earlier Khonsu Temple in the Karnak Precinct Using Clear Acetate

Mar 15, 2021

The Survey has been working on and off on the documentation of the Temple of Khonsu since the 1930s. It was known from the beginning that this project could only be completed by studying the reused material built into the still-standing structures.

Our preliminary observations clearly indicated that most of the dismantled earlier Khonsu Temple's blocks were reused in the floors and foundations of the Ramesside construction. Considering the difficulties with photographing the material and the time that could be spent with each fragment, a salvage documentation methodology had to be developed.

Often, the decorated faces were situated in the narrow gaps between in situ blocks necessitating the use of tin foil rubbings to retrieve possible decorative information (see our earlier posts). In a few lucky areas where there was a missing floor block, direct tracings onto a sheet of high-quality diacetate became possible.

Some reused surfaces appeared to be upside down (as seen in this photograph), with most of the original decoration badly damaged by the countless chisel marks. This was due to the ancient builders' efforts to provide a better "hold" to the plaster used to bind the floor blocks together.

Even in areas where direct eye-contact was possible with the relief, there had to be some alterations made to the regular Chicago Method. Damaged areas were rendered only with a minimalistic outline. Some collation process stages were also abandoned to save time while still allowing a cross-checks system to be implemented.

Nonetheless, once a field drawing was completed, the original tracings could be copied onto another piece of diacetate in the studio in preparation for the scanning and inking stages to follow.

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