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In brief
October 1, 2010   
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Poles Renovate Temple

A group of Polish Egyptologists, architects and conservators have renovated a section of Hatshepsut’s Temple in the Deir el-Bahari complex of mortuary temples and tombs in Egypt.

As part of the project, 100-year-old cedar supports reinforcing the vestibule of the Hathor Chapel within Hatshepsut’s Temple have been replaced with steel bars to provide stability to the ancient building. Additionally, one of the recesses in the Hathor Chapel has been reinforced with a steel frame protected against corrosion.

The conservation project, which involved securing and reinforcing the floor slabs and architraves of a section of the temple in the southern part of the second terrace, was handled by experts from the University of Warsaw’s Center for Mediterranean Archeology.

The Hathor Chapel is famous for its excellently preserved painted decorations and pillars with capitals depicting the goddess Hathor.

Facts About Amphorae

A series of excavations conducted by a group of University of Warsaw archeologists in southeastern Europe have revealed unknown facts about amphorae—the popular ancient vessels that were used to transport and store olive oil, wine and fish sauces.

The archeologists say they used physicochemical analyses to find out how amphorae were produced and determine the origin and content of individual vessels. Their findings challenged some well-established views in this area.

During their excavations at sites in Novae, Bulgaria, Risan, Montenegro, and Tanais, Russia, the Warsaw archeologists found some unique amphorae.

In one of the rooms of a military hospital in Novae, identified as an amphora storeroom, they unearthed the upper part of an oval amphora with a prominent neck and an inscription in Greek. According to the archeologists, the amphora was manufactured on the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea in the second century AD.

During their investigations in Risan, Montenegro, the Poles discovered tens of Greek-Italic amphorae dated to the third and second century BC and hundreds of inscribed and decorated stoppers for the jars. A large number of these vessels survived under a collapsed roof and clay walls. The vessels were once used to transport sweet and dry red wine, the residue of which was found on the walls of the amphorae.

The archeologists also discovered an amphora filled with wheat flour.

Additionally, the archeologists managed to establish the precise dating for the whole group of Greek-Italic amphorae by collecting and comparing data from the inscriptions on the stoppers, stamps on the amphorae and coins.

Super-Hard Tools

Scientists from the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology in Cracow have developed what they say are super-hard abrasive tools for use in the aviation industry and medicine.

Barbara Staniewicz-Brudnik, D.Sc. Eng., who worked on the invention together with Kazimiera Majewska-Albin, M.Sc., says the tools owe their unique properties to cubic boron nitride, an abrasive material whose hardness is inferior only to that of diamond.

In order to bond boron nitride grains, the researchers used a ceramic binder—a devitrified glassy material, partly crystallized, with a fine-grained structure. They also used a special filler and other additives.

The ingredients are mixed in specific proportions and then cold-pressed in a matrix. The material prepared in this way is dried and fired in a kiln at a temperature below 900 degrees Celsius. It is important to keep the temperature regime because at higher temperatures the oxidation process takes place and the abrasive grain is subject to partial corrosion, the researchers say.

Tools made of cubic boron nitride are especially useful for grinding the surface of holes in materials that are difficult to grind, for example alloys with high nickel content, which are used in the aviation industry, the researchers say.

Abrasive tools of this kind can also be used to process materials used in medicine, in particular those intended for the production of implants such as artificial hips.

Compiled by Tadeusz Belerski

Honorary Doctorate

Prof. Andrzej Karbownik, rector of the Silesia University of Technology in Gliwice, has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oviedo in northern Spain. The university honored Karbownik for his research achievements and contribution to the restructuring of Poland’s mining sector.

Karbownik has worked with the Spanish academic community for many years. In 1979-1980, shortly after obtaining his Ph.D. degree, he spent eight months on a secondment at the Higher Technical School of Mining Engineers in Madrid. He also spent time doing research work in Madrid in 1983-1984. In 1984, 1985 and 1986, Karbownik lectured at postgraduate courses in mining management at the Gomez Pardo Foundation in Madrid. In 1992, he spent a month in Oviedo as part of the Tempus program. In 2007-2009, he gave a series of lectures on the restructuring of Poland’s coal mining sector at universities in Madrid and Oviedo.
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