THE DJEHUTY GARDEN

Luxor, 2018-19

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A recent archaeological mission lead by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at Dra Abu el-Naga, Luxor, unearthed this early Twelfth Dynasty funerary garden in a remarkable state of preservation; complete with remaining traces of pollen and seeds planted over 4000 years ago. As part of the archaeological excavation and documentation of this site, Factum Foundation was enlisted by the CSIC to create an exact facsimile to form part of the protective framework built to safeguard the fragile ancient structure from further erosion; this will extend the gardens life by at least a decade.

The original garden in Luxor © CSIC

The original garden in Luxor © CSIC

The original garden in Luxor © CSIC

The process began with the scanning of the original garden carried out by the CSIC’s ‘Proyecto Djehuty’, a mission that has been exploring and excavating the Dra Abu el-Naga area since 2002, with this documentation conducted utilising LiDAR equipment in a collaboration with Leica Geosystems. Dated to circa. 2000 BCE, the dawn of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, the mud-brick structure largely takes the form of a grid, composed of 23 squares of 30 x 30 cm, with several additional spaces alongside, as well as a small three-stepped staircase that allowed access for water-carriers tending to the plants located in the middle. Not only standing as an unprecedented example of an Egyptian garden of this type remaining to this day, the evidence of the dark, fertile soil and plant remains that have stood the test of time will shed light on the mysteries surrounding the purpose of such ritual gardens and the crops that were grown there.

The original polyurethane base © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

The base ready to be covered in the epoxy resin and fibreglass © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

The experimentations in suitable resin and pigment mixes before the ideal ones were chosen © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

First completed section of the desired surface texture © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

This data was materialised through a 3 axis CNC machine milling directly onto medium density polyurethane at a resolution of 200 microns and split into four separate sections to facilitate transportation from Madrid to Luxor. Working directly on top of the original routed polystyrene surface, the depths of the walls had to be exaggerated whilst the widths had to be reduced in order to facilitate the bulk of the fibreglass and resin that was to be placed on top. The fibreglass was applied in 4 layers and laminated using the non-toxic resin Acrylic One, which was in turn mixed together with sand to provide maximum resistance to the elements. Following this, the finer hand-crafted details of the walls, the individual squares, and the tree stump began to be sculpted utilizing the same resin alongside natural pigments; these were carefully matched with soil samples taken from the original garden in Luxor. All together, 6 different colour mixtures were incorporated in the facsimile’s construction to fully emulate the coarse, crumbling appearance of the original.

Applying the layers of the laminated fibreglass and resin mix © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

The garden under construction © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Final touches on the facsimile surface and tree stump © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

 

Details of the final facsimile © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Details of the final facsimile © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Details of the final facsimile © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

Details of the final facsimile © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Foundation

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