Dreams of Amarna – researching the ideas
As it happens my family has always had an interest both in archaeology, and in the history of art, so I started to look through our books to see whether I could find any reference material. I found a few things, but in truth, not enough to support the work I was trying to develop. That is scarcely surprising, really. The “Amarna Period” covers maybe thirty years. Ancient Egyptian civilisation lasted for several thousands of years! So I did the obvious thing – I contacted the Egypt Exploration Society, for whom Mary Chubb worked at the time of the dig, and asked whether they could help.
They could, and they did.
I spent a delightful (if wearing) afternoon in the library of the Society, and was even able to read and refer to the publications of the expedition, and then some months later received an email to tell me that the Society had been digitising its’ photographic archive and if I was interested, they would be happy to let me look through the archive for more source material.
Was I interested? Well, of course I was!
This time it was an entire morning, but then, the archive not only included the photographs of the finds and records of the excavation. There were pictures of the excavators at work, shots of the surrounding area, the felucca loaded with supplies… “Wonderful things!”, as Howard Carter said…
I know, I know – I haven’t set a stitch yet, but there’s so much to think about!
I also found an article about excavation organisation and methods, written by JDS Pendlebury (Director of the Expedition) at about this time, and a much later paper, written by another archaeologist about the Hittite amulet that was part of the “Crock of Gold” hoard that they found during the season. I won’t provide a link to those, as they are behind a paywall. The fact that I did pay for and download both articles shows just how attached to this project I have become!
I haven’t yet bought the biography of JDS Pendlebury. At the back of the book Mary describes his fate – parachuted into Crete (where he had been site Director at Knossos under Sir Arthur Evans), he coordinated the resistance to the German invasion, was wounded and captured, and then dragged from his sickbed to be executed. It saddens me every time I read it. Not just because of him, but because of the thousands of others, young and not so young, who were also cut off at the height of their powers, with so much yet to contribute to the world.