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.Universidad del Valle de México :: Rectoría Institucional. Episteme No.5. Año 2, Julio-Septiembre 2005
Dirección Institucional de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica


A preliminary presentation to the Permanent Committee of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization

Gabriela Arrache Vértiz


I would like to acknowledge the representatives of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, for their support and assistance in the opportunity that we are provided, by considering us for the restoration of the tomb of Puyemre, in EL-KHOKHA, tomb No. 39, at Thebes.
Special thanks for their diligence and help to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and General Director of the Giza Pyramids, Magdy El Ghandour, General Director of Foreign Missions Affairs and P. Committees, and Mohamed A. El-Bialy, former Upper Egypt Antiquities Director.

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Preliminary :: General description :: Notes :: Acerca de la autora

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This document includes all the documentation related to our project, we are requesting a one month season either in November or December 2004 for its implementation. During this month we will be performing a preliminary analysis to identify and establish technical and budget specific requirements.

On December 2002, Mohamed A. The-Bialey, commented that the Puyemre tomb, had sections of murals and paintings in bad conditions; some of them even in the floor, requiring restoration and consolidation. During the first stage of the project, we will be working in the diagnosis of the physical condition of the tomb, to establish a detailed work plan with the restoration activities to be carried out, as well as the technical requirements.

Our team is integrated by professionals in all the necessary areas to implement the restoration and consolidation project successfully. This will allow the Egyptian government to open the tomb to the public. The project deliverables will includes all the documentation necessary that can be used for future publications or studies.

The Mexican Society of Egyptology since the foundation has performed several formal activities and events focused on the study and promotion of the Egyptian Culture in Mexico. Among these activities, we have organized expositions, conferences, seminars, study visits to Egypt, it is the reason why we are interested in developing and implementing this project, a project that will help us expand our capabilities, knowledge and curricula, and achieve the objectives of the Society.

Mexico and Egypt are countries that share the concern and face the challenge to preserve and study their archeological patrimony, a difficult challenge due to the economical situation of our countries. Yet, both countries have been able to develop strong programs and the experience aimed at the protection of our cultures and patrimony, many times against foreign countries. Our common concerns and coincidences, the friendship that we share with your country, and the experience gathered among the different members of our project team are key elements for the success of the project.

We believe that a project like this can have a significant impact in the local Mexican media,that will allow us to continue with the promotion of the Egyptian Culture, and will improve the existing cultural and institutional links between our countries.

During this project, we can also develop programs that could allow the Egyptian and Mexican experts in the field, to share, through collaboration the knowledge and experience acquired in both countries, as well as the results and findings.

The Mexican Society of Egyptology is more than willing to meet any requirement and regulation that the Egyptian government may have for this type of projects, with the professionalism and responsibility that has always characterized our Society and its members.

We have been working with several people to develop a project that would help us expand our capabilities, achieve our growth objectives and improve the existing relationship among both countries.

We feel confident on our capabilities to implement this project, due to the following:

1. We have the institutional support of the “Universidad del Valle de México” (www.uvmnet.edu) which is one of the leading Universities in our country, it is a private owned institution with one the second largest student community in our country, with 15 Campuses around Mexico.

2. The Mexican Society of Egyptology was founded in 1996, we have been recognized as a serious organization, we have organized and/or participated in several activities with other national and international institutions. In our events we have had the participation of recognized leaders in the field, such as Dr. Zahi Hawass. Among the activities that we have organized, we can mention:

a) Exposition “Egiptomania” – On April 1998, we created an exposition with several pieces of the Egyptian popular art. This exposition has been and continues to be extremely successful in all the cities it has been presented in Mexico, and has received high recognition by the communications media in our country. The exposition is sponsored by our Society with CONACULTA (the National Council for Culture and Arts) and the INAH (Mexican Institute of Anthropology and History).

b) Specialized study visits to Egypt – Since our foundation, we have organized several trips of study to Egypt, as part of these events, the people who has participated has been involved not only in the visits, but they have also attended presentations and seminars to help the acquire knowledge and understanding the Egyptian Culture.

c) Conference programs – we have monthly conferences at the National Museum of Anthropology with the participation of several specialists in different aspects of the Egyptian Culture. The conferences are also very successful.

d) Seminars –

We have scheduled four seminars every year, given to the members of the Society on different topics of the Egyptian Culture.

We have scheduled in the last three years specialized seminars on hieroglyph writing, given by several members of our society and by other international participants like Dr. Jose Ramon Perez-Accino from the University of London.

We have organized in cooperation with the “Universidad Panamericana”; another very important educational institution in Mexico, a one year seminar on “Culture and History of Egypt” and a two year seminar sponsored solely by the Society on the same topic.

e) Dr. Zahi Hawass visits to Mexico –

On august 2000, Dr. Hawass visited Mexico to present a cycle of conferences. The event was very successful exceeded all of our expectations.

On august 2003, Dr. Hawass participated with other recognized Egyptologists and specialists of the Maya Culture in Mexico in an event called “Two worlds of yesterday, together today”. During this even an analysis of parallelisms between both cultures was made.

f) Other International visitors – we have received the also the visit of other recognized Egyptologist and people specialized in different fields, such as: Dr. Michael Berger from the Oriental Institute at The University of Chicago and Dr. Jose Ramon Perez-Accino from Birkbeck College and the University of London.

g) Support to the National Geography Magazine – we have worked with them in the validation of several translations of articles related to the Egyptian history and culture, made for the Spanish publications.

3. Since the Mexican Society of Egyptology foundation we have been developing and promotioning strong relationships with local and international institutions, as well as with the Egyptian Government.

We have established strong communication links with the Egyptian Embassy in Mexico. The Ambassador PhD. Mamdouh Shawky (as well as other previous ambassadors), maintains a close relationship with us and has participated in several events organized by us.

4. Most of the team members that will participate with us in this project have worked and developed their knowledge and skills at the INAH “Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia” (National Instituted of Anthropology and History), many of them have over 40 years experience in Anthropology.

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General description

Project Objectives

The main objectives of our projects include:

a) The restoration, consolidation and conditioning of the TT39.
b) The review of the texts found in TT39 incorporating the new discoveries made since the initial translation made in 1923.
c) A new interpretation of the murals and false doors, and the iconography included on them.

Project Scope

The scope of this project includes:

a) Restoration and Consolidation:

i. During the first season, we intend to perform an initial diagnosis of the mural paintings conditions, and will deliver an report to the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) with detailed information on the techniques that will be used to restore each individual piece, as well as the time or number of seasons that we request to execute the required work. During the initial diagnosis and research, we will perform a thorough investigation (including chemical analysis) to determine the current conditions of the structure and paintings, and develop the appropriate recommendations for the restoration and consolidation activities to be performed afterwards.

ii. During the following seasons, and with approval from the SCA we will execute the restoration and consolidation of the mural paintings including the cleaning of the bacteria that may be causing degradation.

iii. At the end of the project, we will deliver a technical memory, including photographs, with the comparison of the TT39 before and after restoration.

iv. During the first season, we will execute with the help of specialists in Archeological Architecture, a structural analysis of all the buildings of the TT39. We will present a report to the SCA with all the problems and conditions that result as part of this analysis, as well as the recommended actions to solve them.

v. During the following seasons, and with approval from the SCA we will execute the proper actions on the architectonic structures to preserve the building and minimize any further problems or degradation.

b) Conditioning:

i. During the first season, we will identify all the requirements for the conditioning of the TT39, we will deliver a report to the SCA for approval. This report will include elements such as:

a. Ilumination requirements.
b. Security access requirements.
c. Acrilics for the protection of murals and/or other elements, with the appropriate conditions to preserve them.
d. Facilities to allow access to the public.

ii. We will create and install a replica of the original false door of the north chapel at TT39 to allow the general public to look at it in its original location.

c) Text Translations:

i. With the help of specialists in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, we will work in the translation of all the texts found in TT39.

ii. We will provide the SCA with the translations made and a comparison with those made in 1923, highlighting the main differences and discoveries (if any).

d) Iconography analysis of the murals and false doors of the portic.

i. With the help of specialists in Egyptology, we will work in the interpretation of all the murals and false doors found in TT39.

ii. We will provide the SCA with the interpretations made.

e) Most of the team members that will participate with us in this project have worked and developed their knowledge and skills at the INAH “Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia” (National Instituted of Antrophology and History), many of them have over 40 years experience in Antrophology.

TT39 Location

The tomb in question is located near the queen's Hatshepsut funeral temple. This facilitates the possibility to provide access for the public in general, generating additional income for the Egyptian government.

This tomb has some unique artistic elements that may make it very interesting for the public and intellectuals and scientists studying the time of Hatshepsut and Tutmes III.

Having the TT39 as a new attraction in the area, will facilitate also the closing of other tomb for restoration or maintenance for short periods of time with minimal impact on the tourism.

TT39 Description

The TT39 is comprised of one portic that used to be covered, with two entrances, one is the original and a second one for the reuse built afterward. Inside the tomb we can find an antechamber and three chapels, the north chapel that used to have a false door of red granite that is currently displayed at the El Cairo Museum, the Central Chapel which is believed to be a funerary temple and the South Chapel that has representations of the valley festival.

Tomb 39

PUIMRÉ [1] Second prophet of Amün. Temp. Hatshepsut and Tuthmes III. Khôkha.
Parents: Puia and Neferi'a. Wives: Taneferet and Senseneb.

Reasons for the Selection of the TT39:
The reasons why we consider of interest to work in the restoration and consolidation of the TT39 based on a preliminary analysis performed by the our team includes:

The importance of PUYEMRA, second prophet of Amon during the kingdom of queen Hatshepsut and Tuthmes III. We believe that a thorough analysis on this tomb may provide additional and valuable information on a very interesting and important period in the history of Egypt.
All the family members of the prophet in the tomb held nobles and religious titles which are of great interest for the analysis.
The fact the iconography found at TT39 establishes the possibility that it might be a funerary temple and not only a tomb.
The fact that the location where the TT39 is located facilitates the work and opens the possibility to provide access to the public in general.
Some other unique characteristics located at TT39 such as:

    - It is the last time that a one category of the Muu dancer is pictured in a tomb.
    - There are pictures of industrial activities production of jewelry.
    - There is figure of a cat with the name Nedjem. In the ancient Egyptians' name for all cats, wild or domestic, was miu, meaning literally "he who mews”. Individual cats were not named.
    - Besides being the second prophet of Amon, responsible for the gold work shops He was also an architect, who participated in the construction of the funerary temple of queen Hatshepsut in Deir-El-Bahari.
    - It is the only place where you can find a description of the production process for the papyri.

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[1] Some authors used to write PUIMRÉ, or PUI-EM-RE, instead of PUYEMRE

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Acerca de la autora

Gabriela M. Arrache Vértiz
Licenciada en Economía por la UNAM. Se ha desempeñado como docente de diferentes asignaturas en universidades como la UNAM y el ITESM. Es Socia Fundadora de la Sociedad Mexicana de Egiptología desde 1996 y actual Secretaria General. Cuenta con estudios de Egiptología en la Universidad de Cardiff, en el País de Gales, Gran Bretaña y en la Universidad de Londres. Es miembro de la Escuela de Escribas en Gran Bretaña, participa en diversas asociaciones, ha colaborado en exposiciones y ofrecido varias conferencias sobre Egipto. Entre sus publicaciones destacan El Templo de Ramsés III.