Archaeology in pestilence

In the northern part of Luxor, the 3000 year old temple of Mentu has shed its mystery. With the joint efforts of Chinese and Egyptian archaeologists, the scene and unearthed relics of the temple gradually appeared in front of the world. < / P > < p > “it’s the first time I’ve been in archaeology.” Recalling the archaeological work in the tense moment of the epidemic, Jia Xiaobing, the Chinese executive leader of the project and an associate researcher of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said. < / P > < p > Mentu is the God of war in ancient Egyptian religion, whose image is the Eagle Head and human body. The temple of Mentu was built between 1391 and 1355 BC. It is a part of the most famous Karnak temple in Luxor. The latter is an architectural system integrating temple, pavilion, pylon and obelisk. In 1979, Karnak temple area was listed as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO, and is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in Egypt. With the increasingly close cultural exchanges between China and Egypt, the two countries have cooperated in the field of Archaeology in recent years. In October 2018, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Ministry of cultural relics of Egypt signed an agreement on the joint archaeological project of the temple of Mentu in Luxor, Egypt, and the Sino Egyptian joint archaeological team was officially established. After one year’s investigation and recording of the site status and preliminary cleaning of the site environment, the archaeological team officially started the archaeological excavation work in mengtu temple area at the end of 2019. According to Jia Xiaobing, the exploration area laid by the project team is about 2000 square meters. The whole area of mengtu temple is open and gentle. There are 22 proven architectural relics, almost all of which are religious and ceremonial buildings made of sandstone. Due to the lack of maintenance and management for a long time, most of the relics are poorly preserved. < / P > < p > the outbreak of the new crown epidemic at the beginning of the year made the world press the “pause button”, and also brought great pressure to the Chinese and Egyptian archaeologists in the project. “Since the outbreak in Egypt became severe in March, we have reduced the number of workers and only retained excavation workers in key areas.” Jia Xiaobing said. < / P > < p > Gao Wei, an archaeologist, told us that in order to do a good job in archaeology under the epidemic situation, they regularly distributed masks and kept working distance. When the excavation work was near the end of the stage, they persisted for another two weeks, taking photos, recording and other activities before finishing the on-site work. < / P > < p > this stage of excavation work ended at the end of March this year, and the archaeological team has made many important discoveries. Near the southwest corner of mengtu temple, archaeologists found a mud brick paved ground, which is made of mud bricks of the same size by bonding, and the laying method is very regular. If you look closely, each clay brick has an oval seal, in which there is the ascendant name of Amenhotep III, the founder of the temple of Mentu. This discovery plays a key role in understanding the early architectural distribution in the temple area of mengtu. In addition, the research, restoration and protection of inscriptions are also important work of archaeology. The archaeological team protected the eroded stone fragments with inscriptions, and preserved information for further study by numbering, registering and taking photos.