The first phase of the field work is the creation of access routes in and around House XVII and XVIII. For the first week, while waiting for the government to implement its budget, Department of Antiquities engineer Na’il Tuhamer and I (Bert de Vries) worked with only three stone masons to do initial cleaning and set work strategies. Yesterday, however, a crew of thirty workers from Umm el-Jimal began moving stone from the passages to designated areas. As you can see, they do this mostly by hand—and with amazing speed. They actually do very little lifting, but use gravity and leverage to move the stones and get them onto the wheelbarrows.
Seven AM Easter morning: The main gate of House XVIII needs a little more clearance after the first day, but will be ready for excavation on Monday!