> Hi Phil
> I think we are going off course a tad here.
> The issue as far as I can see is
> If the cartouche was painted in situ. as the whitewash
> Why the vertical orientation??
> Painted top to bottom.
> An AE would not have done that.
The "diversion" was simply to check that all the logical chain of physical evidence fits the scenario you described...
I agree that the controversial gable block appears to be whitewashed, perhaps with diluted plaster, more so than the two adjacent blocks.
Could it be that the reason that chick'n'chisel patch is yellow vs. the more common brown color of other non-whitewashed stone is that the brownish stone tint is due to millennia of moisture, oxidation, microbes, mineral migration, etc, on the actual stone whereas the yellow patch indicates that someone washed off the plaster coating from that particular spot more recently (say, the 1800s AD?!), thereby revealing the clean, virgin limestone?
Needless to say, I agree the physical evidence strongly suggests that the gang-cartouche string was painted in situ after that block was whitewashed.
And if that yellow patch does indeed indicate that the overlying plaster was washed away in modern times (e.g., with a wet rag in the 19th century), then this is a smoking gun that at least the overlying chick'n'chisel are modern and not ancient.