South Asasif Conservation Project


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     The two Kushite tombs of Karabasken (TT 391) and Karakahamun (TT 223) and the Early Saite tomb of Irtieru (TT 390), were re-discovered by the South Asasif Conservation Project, directed by Dr. Elena Pischikova in 2006.  The Project works under the auspices of the Ministry of State for Antiquities.  The Egyptian-American team, which is becoming more and more international every year, has been working on the clearing, conservation and reconstruction of these tombs for eleven years, including the 2016 season, which begins this spring.

Earlier Exploration of the Necropolis
     There are records of the tombs being visited and partially recorded in the 19th century and later in the 70s of the 20th century. Notes and drawings of early visitors were the principal verification of the state of preservation of the tombs already in the 19th century, documenting their ruinous condition, the weakness of the bedrock, and continuing decay.  In the mid-1970s, Diethelm Eigner visited the tomb of Karakhmun, recorded its condition and took a few photographs  in the Second Pillared Hall in the areas that were still partially accessible. He concluded that the tomb was being so intensely quarried that it would soon completely disappear. The tomb was used as living quarters, stables, workshops, as well as a quarry. Numerous floods accelerated the destruction of the tomb, which completely collapsed in the mid-1990s. A modern village built in the middle of the necropolis concealed the remains of the tomb. 

     By 2006, numerous floods had covered the court of the tomb of Karabasken with 5 m of debris and  the vestibule and pillared hall with 2.5 m. A trench dug in the court verified at least six inundations. The accessible part of the tomb was occupied by villagers and used as a stable. The decoration of the upper part of the walls and doorframes was badly damaged and in some areas, erased and replaced with modern graffiti.