THE UNDERWATER SITE OF QAITBAY - METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
Drawing and moulding
|In this first stage of the study, we are gathering an
image of the site that develops step by step as the exploration extends
to the furthest corners. There are still numerous blocks hidden under
the sand and under other blocks. We estimate they form some 30% of the
quantity already registered. Thus, our observable data becomes more and
Alongside this work, specialists have begun to concentrate on certain remarkable blocks selected from the inventory. To provide a more in depth study, this time it has been necessary to increase the information describing each of these elements. In order to do this, the divers have turned to new activities: creating moulds of the inscriptions and decoration, and technical drawing of the details of blocks on all their surfaces.
The moulds present a precise image of texts that are difficult to read under water. In fact, it is impossible to imagine that they could be reproduced as a 1:1 scale drawing, as is the traditional practice on a land dig. Deciphering and reading these texts can tell us of the original provenance and sometimes the date of these blocks. The same goes for certain decoration. The study of the stylistics by specialists in ancient art allows for an identification that can lead, in the best of all cases, to a date.
|And while the study of inscriptions can also point to
the eventual reassembly of a monument, as was the case with the obelisk
of Seti I now exhibited in the open-air museum at Kom el Dikka (see “Exhibiting
the Lifted Elements”), any form of reconstruction will, in all cases,
require a technical drawing of the constituent parts of the assembly.
The inscription itself, more than just being a simple text, can also be
loaded with clues as to the date it was inscribed, just as an unmarked
block can be revealing through the study of its geometry and surfaces.
We will see further on how these detailed observations allow us to
explore through time and to locate the shadowy areas of this terra incognita.
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