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Hosted by assigned participant players, the Acoustic Live Friday afternoon booth showcases slogged through a constant downpour.
I followed them part way, staying inside, next to Jim, the harp player, and Sarah, the fiddler, soaking in their swooping melody lines that helped the song fly. This was my first close-up taste of this phenomenon; an organically formed band whose disparate pieces meshed as if grown together out of the same soil. The story, however, begins with husband and wife Mark Miller and Beth Jamie Kaufman, who form the main stem from which the banda€™s other tendrils sprouted. After graduation, Mark went back to Boston, where his degree did not prove to be a job magnet. In spite of an obvious talent in the digital realm, Mark decided to move to San Francisco to become a chiropractor.
At that point, as he said, a€?deep in the purgatory of the transition from the mature and peaceful art of analog tape editing to the nuclear fallout caused by the insertion of the first generation of PCs into the recording studio, I got a random phone call asking if I could write music for a video game.
Mark spent the next 10 years building the largest independent studio for video game music and produced soundtracks for more than 100 titles.
Early in this period, Mark and Beth played together in a a€?dismal blues band.a€? She said, a€?It was us and a bunch of musician guys that all worked with Mark in the video game scene out in San Francisco.
A job offer from Harmonix brought Mark and Beth back to the East Coast and Mark worked for them leading a€?up to but not including the development and launch of Guitar Hero.a€? Needing out of the game business, he went back for his MBA at Northeastern University. Beth, being very resourceful, managed to find out what the instrument was (a bouzouki a€” leave it to David Lindley), and got Mark one for his next birthday. In conversation with three of the other band members during our dinner together, I got to see firsthand why these intelligent, articulate, funny people have so much fun making music together and enjoy each othera€™s company off stage as well. Tom Socol is a good guitarist who had played in a lot of bands but hadna€™t played out for a long time. A good friend of theirs, Steve, a professional bassist, a much more serious musician, joined the group for gigs.
One of the places that the band began to play on a steady basis was the Hastings Farmera€™s Market.
Another piece fell into place when, similar to what happened with Tom and Ellen, Lou Gesera€™s wife mentioned to Mark that Lou, needing an outlet, played drums. John Neidhart, the bassist, had started off in folk and blues and had gone through a long rock a€™na€™ roll period. When Tom couldna€™t attend all of the 2010 NERFA Conference, John suggested that Rik fill in at the remaining showcases and jams. John Neidhart, theA  bassist, had started off in folk and blues and had gone through a longA  rock a€™na€™ roll period.
One thing that has been very consistent about Albert Raymond Mortona€™s documents is that he invariably listed his mothera€™s name as Ida Louise Easley. We searched for twenty-five years to find any record of this woman, other than those listed by Raymond, and were infuriatingly unsuccessfula€¦ until June 2012.
Ida Louise Easley was born in Oct 1856 (according to the 1900 census for Winslow, Navajo, AZ) in Macoupin County, Illinois. She was thirteen years old in the 1870 Federal census for Chetopa, Neosho Co., KS and still living with her parents and siblings at that time. We find her (at age 18) still residing with her siblings in the 1875 Kansas state census, in Neosho Co.
In the 1880 Federal census for Lincoln, Neosho, Kansas, we find Aaron and Ida Bonham with a new set of twin boys, just a few months old, Clarence and Lawrence, born in early 1880. At about the same time, Aaron Bonhama€™s parents had settled in Franklin Co., Kansas, about 80 miles to the north.
After this time, we can find no document to indicate that Aaron Bonham was still alive, but neither can we prove that he had died. Aaron and Ida could have divorced, she then quickly married Ira Morton in the fall of 1885 (after the census) and they could have had a son, Raymond, the following year--Sept 1886. Aaron could have been away for an extended period and Ida could have met Ira Morton and had a child out of wedlock before Aarona€™s return. Now, keeping that dilemma in mind, leta€™s proceed with the other documents that we have been able to find for Ida L. Note that at the time of this marriage, she was still going by the name of a€?Bonhama€? -- not Morton.
The 1890 Federal census would have been very helpful to us here, but unfortunately, it was destroyed. We would never have thought to search for this record under the names of a€?Holmesa€? without first finding the record of her marriage--above. In the very same year, and census, for the same county, we find that by the time the census taker had moved on to the home of Martha Bonham (the widowed mother of Aaron Bonham--and mother-in-law of Ida L.
Now, this census was just a very short time after the previous exhibit (above) but here, Ray is listed as being 10 years old, and with the surname of a€?Bonham.a€? It is the same young boy. Even though Raya€™s mother had moved west, to Arizona, Ray continued to live with Martha Bonham. The question must arise, that if Ray was born a€?out of wed-locka€? while Marthaa€™s daughter-in-law was still married to her son, Aaron, one might think that of all of the children, Ray may have been the least likely of the children for Martha Bonham to take into her home to raise. Whether Ray was actually going by the Bonham name, as indicated above, or whether the census taker once again made an assumption of that, is not known.
In the 1905 KS State census we again find this family still living in Stafford Co., KS with Frank Bonham now showing as the head of the household, and Martha was still alive at age 78, but Ray is no longer living with them. It is interesting that Ida stated that her parent were born in KY, because in prior census records she had always correctly stated they were born in Tennessee.
In the 1920 Federal census for Bakersfield, Kern Co., CA we find the family still in this community.
Note that Margaret Bonham Kelly had named her oldest son, William Raymond Kelly, with his middle name being a remembrance of her younger brother, Albert Raymond Morton.
We have heard that Ida Louise Easley Bonham (Morton) Holmes Hamilton passed away in Bakersfield, CA in the 1930s but we do not have a specific date for her death at this time.
Note that at the time of this marriage, she was still going by the name of a€?Bonhama€? -- not Morton.A  This adds credence to the supposition that she may not have actually married Ira H. The annual Friday afternoon Emerging Artists Showcase, always eagerly anticipated, ran into rough weather. The author, having gotten drenched twice while dealing with canopy leaks, disgustedly waited it out inside his car, trying to dry off. Tom, the guitarist, and John, the bassist, remained behind me, helping to drive the song on its merry way. Many months later, I would sit down to dinner with the group and learn how they formed and grew together.
She also got involved in musical theater which led to studying and teaching theater, and later, a career in creative education. One exchange captures the disconnect between where he was and what the world was offering: a€?I got one call back from a high school teaching position in religion that did not require a mastera€™s. Although he says it was a a€?horrible job,a€? it gave him access to the very first personal computer-based digital audio editing system. When he got there, he got hired by Digidesign, the developer of Protools, to support their sales team. Mark needed something steadier with benefits, so he worked in house first at Sega of America and then at Crystal Dynamics. At a concert at The House of Blues, Mark and Beth saw David Lindley playing a€?lap slide reggae on somethinga€¦ it had eight strings.a€? It sounded amazing and they were both mesmerized. When Mark got home from work and saw it, he thought, a€?God thata€™s wonderful!a€¦ Now I have to learn how to play this thing.a€? He picked up a copy of Rise Up Singing. One frequent visitor to the market was Jim Meigs, editor for Popular Mechanics and a blues harpist. He was playing in a cover band and, as a change of pace, was looking for a country band to play with. That went well, and when the banda€™s second CD New Amsterdam was almost done (the first was an EP called In Spite of the Devil), and something was missing, John suggested that Rik come and add some lap steel.
Beth sums up the banda€™s spirit in her own terms: a€?Filling our home with music and singing alongside my husband has been a beautiful gift, enriching our relationship tenfold. The annual Friday afternoon Emerging Artists Showcase, always eagerly anticipated, ran into rough weather.A  Torrential downpours almost completely washed the audience off the hill. Although he says it was a a€?horrible job,a€?A  it gave him access to the very first personal computer-based digital audio editing system. Mark had gotten burned out on music during his time in the digital game business and didna€™t go near it for a long time.
Easley Bonham--the twins who died when just a few months old, and the four living children, three of which (# 1, 2 & 4) all claim that Aaron Bonham was their father, but #3 (Raymond) always claimed that his father was Ira Morton. Aaron and Ida could have divorced, she then quickly married Ira Morton in the fall of 1885 (after the census) and they could have had a son, Raymond, the following year--Sept 1886.A  We know Ira died in 1888, and Ida could have been reconciled to Aaron and remarried him with Bernice born to them in 1888. Aaron may have died in about 1884.A  Ida could have married Ira Morton in the fall of 1885 (after the census) and then had both Raymond (1886) and Bernice (1888) prior to Iraa€™s death on 12 Dec.
Spuyten Duyvil, our first Acoustic Live showcase act of the day, had been one of those acts in Fridaya€™s Emerging Artists Showcase. As the last strains of the blues harp finished the song, Mark swung back into the canopy to change his instrument for the next song. As soon as he saw Digidesigna€™s 24-track recording studio sitting empty all night, he quit his pre-med classes and ended up running their tech support department through the launch of Protools. He became chairman of the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group and helped in the development of standards for a whole lot of digital stuff that, described in a€?Markspeak,a€? is not easily translatable in this publication. For a while it was just the four of them, on the porch, playing traditional songs and Marka€™s originals.
Mark had gotten to know Lou, and knew that he wouldna€™t join unless he could a€?cut it.a€? Loua€™s ability to soften the sound to fit the banda€™s concept added the perfect touch.
Doing overdubs, without previous accompaniment on that instrument, Mark recalled, a€?he tore up this material.a€? Mark recalled saying, with a Cheshire cat grin, a€?This CD just got a whole lot better!a€? Along with Jima€™s Chicago blues harp, it helped to define what the band is about. Later that evening, the Friday night a€?Most Wanted Song Swapa€? was canceled due to wind-driven sheets of rain. As Beth explains it: a€?It wasna€™t until years laterA that we began to circle back to music again. One of the first priorities of the work was a complete examination of all previous exploration and excavation in the precinct, particularly that of Margaret Benson carried out in 1895-7. A band known for its boisterous spirit, theya€™d played before the remaining dozen or so diehards standing in the rain.
Nevertheless, it was a joy making music with my soon-to-be husband.a€? While still living in California, Mark and Beth got married, with the ceremony taking place back in Brooklyn. However, the industry needed no translation and he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Audio Guild. I learned how to play it and Beth and I did a lot of singing together.a€? Additionally, Mark found that playing the old traditional music in the book unlocked something in him and he started to write his own music. After Steve left for California, Mark wanted to find another bassist, happened to be perusing the site and saw Johna€™s information and extended an invitation.
I was fearful that the clouds signaled a trend, but Spuyten Duyvil had some magic up its sleeve. Wea€™ve uploaded a video of the song to YouTube, that shows the band playing for Alternate Root TV. He studied ethno-musicology and comparative religions but spent most of his time in the electronic music studio recording songs with his band, music for films and music for modern dance. He recalled that, a€?I had written hundreds of pieces of incidental music and two or three lame attempts at pop music while I was in college. These guys are really good!a€? Then, a€?Hey, they could really use harp on that song!a€? Then, a€?Wow! A thirty year old semi-invalid of a distinguished English family, she had the rare good luck to ask for the concession to a site that seemed unimportant and a site that no one else wanted.
Six of the seven players took shelter in the front end of the 20-foot space created by our two adjoining canopies. Some part of playing all that old-timey stuff flipped a switch and caused me to start writing stuff that had some meaning.a€? Beth was surprised because she was the one who had gotten into folk music at a young age and never expected Mark to get into the folky stuff. Although both couples were great friends, Tom was apprehensive at first because hea€™d been through some really bad musical matchups and knew there was a potential for a vast difference in their musical tastes and styles.
They could really use harp on ALL their songs!a€? Mark remembered that a€?this guy would show up with his tweed case of harmonicas.a€? Jim would strike up conversations with Mark and casually drop hints about his musical involvement. Although both couples were great friends, Tom was apprehensive at first because hea€™d been through some really bad musical matchupsA  and knew there was a potential for a vast difference in their musical tastes and styles. It was assumed that even an woman amateur with no experience could do little harm at the nearly destroyed Temple of Mut, in a remote location south of the Amun precinct at Karnak.


She saw a a€?sexy, tortured musician guy who was anything BUT boyfriend material,a€? but was drawn to him nevertheless. As Beth described it, a€?The more inspired he became to play and write, the more inspired I became to sing again.a€? Mark drew upon the history of the area for the banda€™s name and for inspiration in his writing. However, when he heard gospel-tinged songs and saw no beer being consumed during rehearsal, he became afraid that the band was comprised of Bible-thumping fundamentalists. She worked there for only three seasons from 1895 to 1897 and she published The Temple of Mut in Asher in 1899 2 with Janet Gourlay, who joined her in the second season. Several bars into the song, a€?Halfway Free,a€? it became apparent that the skies were benign, under the spell of a benevolent spirit. It wasna€™t until the band lugged a big batch of a€?crafta€? microbrewed beer (a band staple) to a campsite at Falcon Ridge that he relaxed and told them of his misperception.
It wasna€™t until the band lugged a big batch ofA  a€?crafta€? microbrewed beer (a band staple) to a campsite at Falcon Ridge that he relaxed and told them of his misperception.
In the introduction to that publication of her work she emphasized that it was the first time any woman had been given permission by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities to excavate; she was well aware that it was something of an accomplishment.
Beth remembers, a€?That one time was crazy but so fun!!a€? That would be the last time theya€™d play together for many years. He also introduced them to the next member, Rik Mercaldi, who he thought would be a good fit with the band.
The bandleader, Mark, and the lead singer, Beth, cautiously walked out into the sunshine, joining their drummer, Lou, who tastefully played a marching band snare with brushes.
That would be me [the pet].a€? He was joyfully surprised to discover that he enjoyed what Mark was playing. Mark played a small tenor guitar in a crisply strummed attack and sang and led the group through a sharp uptempo rhythm with tightly executed starts and stops.
We were frankly warned that we should make no discoveries; indeed if any had been anticipated, it was unlikely that the clearance would have been entrusted to inexperienced direction. Beth did what she always does, belting out each stanza with the ferocity and abandon of a gospel rave-up. 3 A Margaret Benson was born June 16, 1865, one of the six children of Edward White Benson. He was first an assistant master at Rugby, then the first headmaster of the newly founded Wellington College.He rose in the service of the church as Chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln, Bishop of Truro and, finally, Archbishop of Canterbury. Benson was a learned man with a wide knowledge of history and a serious concern for the education of the young.
He was also something of a poet and one of his hymns is still included in the American Episcopal Hymnal.
Arthur Christopher, the eldest, was first a master at Eton and then at Magdalen College, Cambridge. A noted author and poet with an enormous literary output, he published over fifty books, most of an inspirational nature, but he was also the author of monographs on D. He helped to edit the correspondence of Queen Victoria for publication, contributed poetry to The Yellow Book, and wrote the words to the anthem "Land of Hope and Glory". Most important to the study of the excavator of the Mut Temple, he was the author of The Life and Letters of Maggie Benson, 4 a sympathetic biography which helps to shed some light on her short archaeological career. He also wrote several reminiscences of his family in which he included his sister and described his involvement in her excavations.
He helped to supervise part of the work and he prepared the plan of the temple which was used in her eventual publication.
His younger brother, Robert Hugh Benson, took Holy Orders in the Church of England, later converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a priest in that rite.
He also achieved some fame as a novelist and poet and rose to the position of Papal Chamberlain.
Her publication of the excavation is cited in every reference to theTemple of Mut in the Egyptological literature, but she is known to history as a name in a footnote and little else.A Margaret Benson was born at Wellington College during her father's tenure as headmaster. Each career advancement for him meant a move for the family so her childhood was spent in a series of official residences until she went to Oxford in 1883. She was eighteen when she was enrolled at Lady Margaret Hall, a women's college founded only four years before.
One of her tutors commented to his sister that he was sorry Margaret had not been able to read for "Greats" in the normal way.
5 When she took a first in the Women's Honours School of Philosophy, he said, "No one will realize how brilliantly she has done." 6 Since her work was not compared to that of her male contemporaries, it would have escaped noticed.
In her studies she concentrated on political economy and moral sciences but she was also active in many aspects of the college. She participated in dramatics, debating and sports but her outstanding talent was for drawing and painting in watercolor. Her skill was so superior he thought she should be appointed drawing mistress if she remained at Lady Margaret Hall for any length of time. She began a work titled "The Venture of Rational Faith" which occupied her thoughts for many years. From the titles alone they suggest a young woman who was deeply concerned with problems of society and the spirit and this preoccupation with the spiritual was to be one of her concerns throughout the rest of her life. In some of her letters from Egypt it is clear that she was attempting to understand something of the spiritual life of the ancient Egyptians, not a surprising interest for the daughter of a churchman like Edward White Benson. A In 1885, at the age of twenty, Margaret was taken ill with scarlet fever while at Zermatt in Switzerland. By the time she was twenty-five she had developed the symptoms of rheumatism and the beginnings of arthritis. She made her first voyage to Egypt in 1894 because the warm climate was considered to be beneficial for those who suffered from her ailments.
Wintering in Egypt was highly recommended at the time for a wide range of illnesses ranging from simple asthma to "mental strain." Lord Carnarvon, Howard Carter's sponsor in the search for the tomb of Tutankhamun, was one of the many who went to Egypt for reasons of health. After Cairo and Giza she went on by stages as far as Aswan and the island temples of Philae. She commented on the "wonderful calm" of the Great Sphinx, the physical beauty of the Nubians, the color of the stone at Philae, the descent of the cataract by boat, which she said was "not at all dangerous". By the end of January she was established in Luxor with a program of visits to the monuments set out.
I don't feel as if I should have really had an idea of Egypt at all if I hadn't stayed here -- the Bas-reliefs of kings in chariots are only now beginning to look individual instead of made on a pattern, and the immensity of the whole thing is beginning to dawn -- and the colours, oh my goodness! The ancient language and script she found fascinating but she was not as interested in reading classical Arabic. Her interest was maintained by the variety of animal and bird life for at home in England she had been surrounded by domestic animals and had always been keen on keeping pets. By the time her first stay ended in March, 1894, she had already resolved to return in the fall.
When Margaret returned to Egypt in November she had already conceived the idea of excavating a site and thus applied to the Egyptian authorities.
Edouard Naville, the Swiss Egyptologist who was working at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Dier el Bahri for the Egypt Exploration Fund, wrote to Henri de Morgan, Director of the Department of Antiquities, on her behalf. From her letters of the time, it is clear that this was one of the most exciting moments of Margaret Benson's life because she was allowed to embark on what she considered a great adventure. A Margaret's physical condition at the beginning of the excavation was of great concern to the family. A Margaret Benson had no particular training to qualify or prepare her for the job but what she lacked in experience she more than made up for with her "enthusiastic personality" and her intellectual curiosity.
In the preface to The Temple of Mut in Asher she said that she had no intention of publishing the work because she had been warned that there was little to find.
In the introduction to The Temple of Mut in Asher acknowledgments were made and gratitude was offered to a number of people who aided in the work in various ways. The professional Egyptologists and archaeologists included Naville, Petrie, de Morgan, Brugsch, Borchardt, Daressy, Hogarth and especially Percy Newberry who translated the inscriptions on all of the statues found. Lea), 10 a Colonel Esdaile, 11 and Margaret's brother, Fred, helped in the supervision of the work in one or more seasons. A It is usually assumed that Margaret Benson and Janet Gourlay worked only as amateurs, with little direction and totally inexperienced help. It is clear from the publication that Naville helped to set up the excavation and helped to plan the work. Hogarth 12 gave advice in the direction of the digging and Newberry was singled out for his advice, suggestions and correction as well as "unwearied kindness." Margaret's brother, Fred, helped his inexperienced sister by supervising some of the work as well as making a measured plan of the temple which is reproduced in the publication. Benson) was qualified to help because he had intended to pursue archaeology as a career, studied Classical Languages and archaeology at Cambridge, and was awarded a scholarship at King's College on the basis of his work. He organized a small excavation at Chester to search for Roman legionary tomb stones built into the town wall and the results of his efforts were noticed favorably by Theodore Mommsen, the great nineteenth century classicist, and by Mr. Benson went on to excavate at Megalopolis in Greece for the British School at Athens and published the result of his work in the Journal of Hellenic Studies. His first love was Greece and its antiquities and it is probable that concern for his sister's health was a more important reason for him joining the excavation than an interest in the antiquities of Egypt.
13A It is interesting to speculate as to why a Victorian woman was drawn to the Temple of Mut. The precinct of the goddess who was the consort of Amun, titled "Lady of Heaven", and "Mistress of all the Gods", is a compelling site and was certainly in need of further exploration in Margaret's time. Its isolation and the arrangement with the Temple of Mut enclosed on three sides by its own sacred lake made it seem even more romantic. 14 When she began the excavation three days was considered enough time to "do" the monuments of Luxor and Margaret said that few people could be expected to spend even a half hour at in the Precinct of Mut. A On her first visit to Egypt in 1894 she had gone to see the temple because she had heard about the granite statues with cats' heads (the lion-headed images of Sakhmet).
The donkey-boys knew how to find the temple but it was not considered a "usual excursion" and after her early visits to the site she said that "The temple itself was much destroyed, and the broken walls so far buried, that one could not trace the plan of more than the outer court and a few small chambers". 15 The Precinct of the Goddess Mut is an extensive field of ruins about twenty-two acres in size, of which Margaret had chosen to excavate only the central structure. Connected to the southernmost pylons of the larger Amun Temple of Karnak by an avenue of sphinxes, the Mut precinct contains three major temples and a number of smaller structures in various stages of dilapidation. She noted some of these details in her initial description of the site, but in three short seasons she was only able to work inside the Mut Temple proper and she cleared little of its exterior. Serious study of the temple complex was started at least as early as the expedition of Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century when artists and engineers attached to the military corps measured the ruins and made drawings of some of the statues. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the great age of the treasure hunters in Egypt, Giovanni Belzoni carried away many of the lion-headed statues and pieces of sculpture to European museums. Champollion, the decipherer of hieroglyphs, and Karl Lepsius, the pioneer German Egyptologist, both visited the precinct, copied inscriptions and made maps of the remains.16 August Mariette had excavated there and believed that he had exhausted the site.
Most of the travelers and scholars who had visited the precinct or carried out work there left some notes or sketches of what they saw and these were useful as references for the new excavation. Since some of the early sources on the site are quoted in her publication, Margaret was obviously aware of their existence. 17A On her return to Egypt at the end of November, 1894, she stopped at Mena House hotel at Giza and for a short time at Helwan, south of Cairo. Helwan was known for its sulphur springs and from about 1880 it had become a popular health resort, particularly suited for the treatment of the sorts of maladies from which Margaret suffered.
People at every turn asked if she remembered them and her donkey-boy almost wept to see her.
A "On January 1st, 1895, we began the excavation" -- with a crew composed of four men, sixteen boys (to carry away the earth), an overseer, a night guardian and a water carrier. The largest the work gang would be in the three seasons of excavation was sixteen or seventeen men and eighty boys, still a sizable number. Before the work started Naville came to "interview our overseer and show us how to determine the course of the work". A A good part of Margaret's time was occupied with learning how to supervise the workmen and the basket boys. Since her spoken Arabic was almost nonexistent, she had to use a donkey-boy as a translator.
It would have been helpful if she had had the opportunity to work on an excavation conducted by a professional and profit from the experience but she was eager to learn and had generally good advice at her disposal so she proceeded in an orderly manner and began to clear the temple.
On the second of January she wrote to her mother: "I don't think much will be found of little things, only walls, bases of pillars, and possibly Cat-statues. I shall feel rather like --'Massa in the shade would lay While we poor niggers toiled all day' -- for I am to have a responsible overseer, and my chief duty apparently will be paying.
18A She is described as riding out from the Luxor Hotel on donkey-back with bags of piaster pieces jingling for the Saturday payday. She had been warned to pay each man and boy personally rather than through the overseer to reduce the chances of wages disappearing into the hands of intermediaries.


The workmen believed that she was at least a princess and they wanted to know if her father lived in the same village as the Queen of England. When they sang their impromptu work songs (as Egyptian workmen still do) they called Margaret the "Princess" and her brother Fred the "Khedive".
A PART II: THE EXCAVATIONSA The clearance was begun in the northern, outer, court of the temple where Mariette had certainly worked.
Earth was banked to the north side of the court, against the back of the ruined first pylon but on the south it had been dug out even below the level of the pavement. Mariette's map is inaccurate in a number of respects suggesting that he was not able to expose enough of the main walls. At the first (northern) gate it was necessary for Margaret Benson to clear ten or twelve feet of earth to reach the paving stones at the bottom.
In the process they found what were described as fallen roofing blocks, a lion-headed statue lying across and blocking the way, and also a small sandstone head of a hippopotamus. In the clearance of the court the bases of four pairs of columns were found, not five as on Mariette's map.
After working around the west half of the first court and disengaging eight Sakhmet statues in the process, they came on their first important find. Near the west wall of the court, was discovered a block statue of a man named Amenemhet, a royal scribe of the time of Amenhotep II.
The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo 19 but Margaret was given a cast of it to take home to England.
When it was discovered she wrote to her father: A My Dearest Papa, We have had such a splendid find at the Temple of Mut that I must write to tell you about it. We were just going out there on Monday, when we met one of our boys who works there running to tell us that they had found a statue. When we got there they were washing it, and it proved to be a black granite figure about two feet high, knees up to its chin, hands crossed on them, one hand holding a lotus. 20A The government had appointed an overseer who spent his time watching the excavation for just such finds. He reported it to a sub-inspector who immediately took the block statue away to a store house and locked it up.
He said it was hard that Margaret should not have "la jouissance de la statue que vous avez trouve" and she was allowed to take it to the hotel where she could enjoy it until the end of the season when it would become the property of the museum.
The statue had been found on the pavement level, apparently in situ, suggesting to the excavator that this was good evidence for an earlier dating for the temple than was generally believed at the time. The presence of a statue on the floor of a temple does not necessarily date the temple, but many contemporary Egyptologists might have come to the same conclusion.
One visitor to the site recalled that a party of American tourists were perplexed when Margaret was pointed out to them as the director of the dig.
At that moment she and a friend were sitting on the ground quarreling about who could build the best sand castle. This was probably not the picture of an "important" English Egyptologist that the Americans had expected. A As work was continued in the first court other broken statues of Sakhmet were found as well as two seated sandstone baboons of the time of Ramesses III.
21 The baboons went to the museum in Cairo, a fragment of a limestone stela was eventually consigned to a store house in Luxor and the upper part of a female figure was left in the precinct where it was recently rediscovered. The small objects found in the season of 1895 included a few coins, a terra cotta of a reclining "princess", some beads, Roman pots and broken bits of bronze.
Time was spent repositioning Sakhmet statues which appeared to be out of place based on what was perceived as a pattern for their arrangement. Even if they were correct they could not be sure that they were reconstructing the original ancient placement of the statues in the temple or some modification of the original design. In the spirit of neatness and attempting to leave the precinct in good order, they also repaired some of the statues with the aid of an Italian plasterer, hired especially for that purpose.
A Margaret was often bed ridden by her illnesses and she was subject to fits of depression as well but she and her brother Fred would while away the evenings playing impromptu parlor games.
For a fancy dress ball at the Luxor Hotel she appeared costumed as the goddess Mut, wearing a vulture headdress which Naville praised for its ingenuity. The resources in the souk of Luxor for fancy dress were nonexistent but Margaret was resourceful enough to find material with which to fabricate a costume based, as she said, on "Old Egyptian pictures." A The results of the first season would have been gratifying for any excavator.
In a short five weeks the "English Lady" had begun to clear the temple and to note the errors on the older plans available to her. She had started a program of reconstruction with the idea of preserving some of the statues of Sakhmet littering the site. She had found one statue of great importance and the torso of another which did not seem so significant to her.
Her original intention of digging in a picturesque place where she had been told there was nothing much to be found was beginning to produce unexpected results.A The Benson party arrived in Egypt for the second season early in January of 1896. After a trip down to, they reached Luxor Aswan around the twenty-sixth and the work began on the thirtieth. That day Margaret was introduced to Janet Gourlay who had come to assist with the excavation. The beginning of the long relationship between "Maggie" Benson and "Nettie" Gourlay was not signaled with any particular importance. By May of the same year she was to write (also to her mother): "I like her more and more -- I haven't liked anyone so well in years".
Miss Benson and Miss Gourlay seemed to work together very well and to share similar reactions and feelings. They were to remain close friends for much of Margaret's life, visiting and travelling together often.
Their correspondence reflects a deep mutual sympathy and Janet was apparently much on Margaret's mind because she often mentioned her friend in writing to others. After her relationship with Margaret Benson she faded into obscurity and even her family has been difficult to trace, although a sister was located a few years ago. A For the second season in 1896 the work staff was a little larger, with eight to twelve men, twenty-four to thirty-six boys, a rais (overseer), guardians and the necessary water carrier. With the first court considered cleared in the previous season, work was begun at the gate way between the first and second courts. An investigation was made of the ruined wall between these two courts and the conclusion was drawn that it was "a composite structure" suggesting that part of the wall was of a later date than the rest. The wall east of the gate opening is of stone and clearly of at least two building periods while the west side has a mud brick core faced on the south with stone. Margaret thought the west half of the wall to be completely destroyed because it was of mud brick which had never been replaced by stone.
She found the remains of "more than one row of hollow pots" which she thought had been used as "air bricks" in some later rebuilding. Originally built of mud brick, like many of the structures in the Precinct of Mut, the south face of both halves of the wall was sheathed with stone one course thick no later than the Ramesside Period. During the Ptolemaic Period the core of the east half of the mud brick wall was replaced with stone but the Ramesside sheathing was retained. Here the untrained excavator was beginning to understand some of the problems of clearing a temple structure in Egypt.
Mariette's plan of the second chamber probably seemed accurate after a superficial examination so a complete clearing seemed unnecessary. Other fragments were found and the original height of the seated statue was estimated between fourteen and sixteen feet high. The following year de Morgan, the Director General of the Department of Antiquities, ordered the head sent to the museum in Cairo The finding of the large lion head is mentioned in a letter from Margaret to her mother dated February 9, 1896, 22.
In the same letter she also mentions the discovery of a statue of Ramesses II on the day before the letter was written. 23.Her published letters often give exact or close dates of discoveries whereas her later publication in the Temple of Mut in Asher was an attempt at a narrative of the work in some order of progression through the temple and dates are often lacking. About the same time that the giant lion head was found some effort was made to raise a large cornerstone block but a crowbar was bent and a rope was broken.
The end result of the activity is not explained at that point and the location of the corner not given but it can probably be identified with the southeast cornerstone of the Mut Temple mentioned later in a description of the search for foundation deposits.
A Somewhere near the central axis of the second court, but just inside the gateway, they came on the upper half of a royal statue with nemes headdress and the remains of a false beard. There had been inscriptions on the shoulder and back pillar but these had been methodically erased. The lower half was found a little later and it was possible to reconstruct an over life-sized, nearly complete, seated statue of a king.
The excavators published it as "possibly" Tutankhamun, an identification not accepted today, and it is still to be seen, sitting to the east of the gateway, facing into the second court.24 A large statue of Sakhmet was also found, not as large as the colossal head, but larger than the other figures still in the precinct and in most Egyptian collections. It was also reconstructed and left in place, on the west side of the doorway where it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the temple. In the clearance of the second court a feature described as a thin wall built out from the north wall was found in the northeast corner.
It was later interpreted by the nineteenth century excavators as part of the arrangement for a raised cloister and it was not until recent excavation that it was identified as the lower part of the wall of a small chapel, built against the north wall of the court.
The process of determining any sequence of the levels in the second court was complicated by the fact that it had been worked over by earlier treasure hunters and archaeologists. In some cases statues were found below the original floor level, leading to the assumption that some pieces had fallen, broken the pavement, and sunk into the floor of their own weight. It is more probable that the stone floors had been dug out and undermined in the search for antiquities.
A An attempt was made to put the area in order for future visitors as the excavation progressed. This included the reconstruction of some of the statues as found and the moving of others in a general attempt to neaten the appearance of the temple. Other finds made in the second court included inscribed blocks too large to move or reused in parts of walls still standing.
The statue identified as Ramesses II, mentioned in Margaret's letter of February 9, was found on the southwest side of the court, near the center.
It was a seated figure in pink granite, rather large in size, but when it was completely uncovered it was found to be broken through the middle with the lower half in an advanced state of disintegration. The upper part was in relatively good condition except for the left shoulder and arm and it was eventually awarded to the excavators. A Mention was also made of several small finds from the second court including a head of a god in black stone and part of the vulture headdress from a statue of a goddess or a queen. The recent ongoing excavations carried out by the Brooklyn Museum have revealed a female head with traces of a vulture headdress as well as a number of fragments of legs and feet which suggest that the head of the god found by Margaret Benson was from a pair statue representing Amun and Mut. Another important discovery she made on the south side of the court was a series of sandstone relief blocks representing the arrival at Thebes of Nitocris, daughter of Psamtik I, as God's Wife of Amun.25A At some time during the season Margaret was made aware of the possibility that foundation deposits might still be in place.
These dedicatory deposits were put down at the time of the founding of a structure or at a time of a major rebuilding, and they are often found under the cornerstones, the thresholds or under major walls, usually in the center. They contain a number of small objects including containers for food offerings, model tools and model bricks or plaques inscribed with the name of the ruler.
The importance of finding such a deposit in the Temple of Mut was obvious to Margaret because it would prove to everyone's satisfaction who had built the temple, or at least who had made additions to it. A They first looked for foundation deposits in the middle of the gateway between the first and second courts. At the same time another part of the crew was clearing the innermost rooms in the south part of the temple. Under the central of the three chambers they discovered a subterranean crypt with an entrance so small that it had to be excavated by "a small boy with a trowel". This chamber has been re-cleared in recent years and proved to be a small rectangular room with traces of an erased one-line text around the four walls.
In antiquity the access seems to have been hidden by a paving stone which had to be lifted each time the room was entered.
A The search for foundation deposits continued in the southeast corner of the temple (probably the place where the crowbar was bent and the rope broken). Again no deposit was found but in digging around the cornerstone, below the original ground level, they began to find statues and fragments of statues. As the earth continued to yield more and more pieces of sculpture, Legrain arrived from the Amun Temple, where he was supervising the excavation, and announced his intention to take everything away to the storehouse.
Aside from the pleasure of the find, it was important to have the objects at hand for study, comparison and the copying of inscriptions.



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