With the digital re-release of William Kelly Simpson's 1976 volume, The Mastabas of Qar and Idu, we had the golden opportunity to re-evaluate past practices concerning publications with wall scenes in focus. Due to a successful collaboration between the Giza Project at Harvard and the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute, a digital version of the book is presented here for the first time, re-structured as an online publication.
After Thanksgiving Day on November 27, 1924, the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition staff at Giza focused on clearing the area east of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, around the first queen’s pyramid to the north (labeled G I-a) and reaching the north end of the mastaba-tomb Reisner had numbered G 7110.
The background for the digitally updated drawing sample was created photogrammetrically using three different datasets: a series of photos taken for a virtual tour of the Qar & Idu Mastabas by Luke Hollis; a more recent set taken to provide the level of detail required for drawing the facade at a scale of 1-4@300ppi by Marleen De Meyer; as well as a set of five 6.5”x8.5” archival glass plate negatives taken by Mohammedani Ibrahim between 1925-1940.
Simpson’s original publication of the texts found in the tombs of Qar and Idu was quite good, so when we began discussing how and what to update for the digital version, there was a consensus that the changes needed to be made more cosmetic than structural. We also immediately realized that a complete update of all the inscriptions would not be feasible within our time frame, so we opted to do a test case using the architrave of Idu. At the same time, the rest remains in Simpson’s original format for now.