Sunday, March 18, 2018
News, Cairo: Exhibition of Artifacts from Deir al-Bersha to Open Thursday at Egyptian Museum in Tahrir
The exhibition celebrates 120 years of excavations at the Minya governorate site. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A temporary exhibition highlighting 120 years of archaeological excavations in Deir el-Barsha in Minya will open Thursday evening at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. Under the title Life in Death: The Middle Kingdom at Deir el-Bersha, the exhibition will be officially inaugurated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, Belgiun Ambassador to Egypt Sibille de Cartier and German Ambassador Julius Georg Loew.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, KU Leuven University in Belgium and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany. The event will be attended by the head of the Belgium-Germany Archaeological Mission, a number of ambassadors to Egypt from foreign counties, Egyptian members of parliament and top officials at the antiquities ministry.
Elham Salah, Head of the Museums Sector at the ministry, told Ahram Online that the exhibition will be on display for 30 days and will showcase 70 artifacts from the discoveries at Deir Al-Bersha, which were previously spread throught the museum’s various galleries or concealed in its basement.
“The artefacts will for the first time be displayed together,” she pointed out, revealing that the objects include the distinguished funerary collection from the tomb of Sepi III.
Among Sepi III's artefacts are the rectangular box coffins, inscribed with religious funerary texts, known as coffin texts, which helped the deceased to travel through the afterlife. Also among the displaed items are wooden models found in the tomb, which often depicting activities from daily life such as making food and drink.
The aim of such models was so that the deceased could enjoy these activities in eternity. Trays found in the tombs of Sepi I, Sepi III and Nehri I will also be on display. These trays, Salah said, are unique as they are made of painted cartonnage, consisting of a layer of gypsum.
The individual offerings on these trays are also made of cartonnage, painted in intricate detail, allowing for the easy identification of objects.
Sabah Abdel-Razek, General-Director of the Egyptian Museum, said that the site at Deir Al-Bersha is located 280 km south of Cairo and is best known as the burial place of the Middle Kingdom governors of el-Ashmunein (c. 2055-1650 BCE).
The governors built elaborately decorated tombs high on the North Hill of the Eastern Desert cliffs, while important officials were buried in tomb shafts in the vicinity of their lords.
The earliest excavations at Deir el-Bersha began in 1897 when the French Egyptologist Georges Daressy began exploring the site on behalf of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. His most spectacular find was the intact burial chamber of Sepi III.
The first Egyptian Egyptologist, Ahmed Kamal, continued to work at Deir el-Bersha from 1900-1902. He excavated several of the elite shaft tombs on the North Hill, including those of Amenemhat and Nehri I.
During their expeditions, she explains, Daressy and Kamal discovered an impressive collection of exemplary Middle Kingdom funerary equipment, such as wooden tomb models and decorated coffins. The majority of these objects are kept in the Egyptian Museum and many will be on display in this exhibit.
In 1915, American Egyptologist George Andrew Reisner excavated for two months at Deir el-Bersha. His most important discovery was the nearly intact tomb of governor Djehutinakht IV or V. Since 2002 KU Leuven University has resumed excavations at this site, reinvestigating several of the areas where these prior excavations took place.
KU Leuven University has also collaborated with the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz since 2009 on excavations of five large tomb shafts in front of the tomb of governor Djehutihotep, most of the contents of which are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
King Meneptah was the fourth king of the 19th Dynasty and the son of King Ramses II. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The Column of King Meneptah arrived Saturday at its permanent display area in the atrium of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza.
King Meneptah was the fourth king of the 19th Dynasty and the son of King Ramses II. He ruled for 10 years, from 1213-1203 BC.
Tarek Tawfik, supervisor general of the Grand Egyptian Museum, told Ahram Online that the pillar was discovered in 1970 inside Meneptah Temple in Matariya archaeological site, east of Arab Al-Hesn area.
It is carved in red granite with a limestone base. It is decorated with engravings of the king’s different titles, cartouche and scenes depicting his victory in wars against Libyan tribes.
The pillar is 17 tons in weight and 5.6 metres tall. It was first transported in 2008 to the Salaheddin Citadel for conservation and restoration as the residential area around it was suffering with high levels of subterranean water.
The pillar was then kept in the Citadel for 10 years until it was chosen to be among the GEM exhibits. It is to be put on show in the atrium at the GEM's main entrance, neighbouring the colossus of his father, Ramses II.
Eissa Zidan, director general of First-Aid Restoration at the GEM, explained that great care was taken before transportation, the pillar restored after comprehensive study to detect and consolidate its weak points.
It took eight hours to prepare the pillar for transportation. A wooden base padded with of layers of foam was made, with the pillar tied with carefully tensioned rope to safeguard it during transportation. The Tourism and Antiquities Police accompanied the pillar on its journey.
Osama Abulkheir, director general of the Restoration Department at the GEM, said that upon its arrival the pillar would be examined and further restoration work completed.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
News, Dakhla Oasis: Seven Mummies of El-Mezawaa Necropolis Restored as Part of Ministry of Antiquties Preservation Initiative
A team from the Egypt's Mummies Conservation Project has finished restoring a group of seven mummies in the El-Muzawaa necropolis in Dakhla oasis, completing the first phase of the project, Gharib Sonbol, head of Ancient Egyptian restoration projects at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.
The restoration of Al-Muzawaa necropolis mummies came within the framework of the project, which launched three years ago by the ministry to preserve and maintain all mummies stored in Egyptian storehouses.
Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector at the ministry, explains that the project started with the conservation of mummies in the Mostafa Kamel gallery storehouses in Alexandria and at the Alexandria National Museum, as well as those in the Kom Ushim stores in Fayouom.
According to Sonbol, the second phase of the project will begin shortly and will involve the restoration of several more mummies. He explained that during the recently completed work, the team noted that two mummies have "screaming" faces, a term used to describe mummies with open mouths. The hands of a third mummy were bound with rope.
“This is not the typical form of mummification, but it indicates that those people were cursed by the god or the priests during their lifetime,” Sonbol said. He continued that the project offers a great opportunity for restorers to learn more about the death and life of those mummified people.
Monday, March 5, 2018
After eight years in limbo, the site museum of Tel Basta in Zagazig, Sharqiya, was inaugurated Saturday. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Sharqiya Governor Khaled Saeed inaugurated Saturday Tel Basta Museum in Sharqiya governorate after the completion of its restoration.
The inauguration of the museum comes within the framework of efforts by the Ministry of Antiquities to increase the archaeological and heritage awareness of Sharqiya inhabitants as well as creating more tourist attractions across Egypt.
During the ceremony, El-Enany announced that visits to the museum would be free this week to celebrate the museum’s long-awaited opening.
Waadalla Abu El-Ela, head of the Projects Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the ministry started construction work on the museum in 2006. In 2010, construction was completed but the project put on hold, resuming at the end of 2017.
Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antquities, explained that the second phase of the project, concerning the interior design of the museum, aimed to showcase the history of Sharqiya and the excavation work that has been carried out within its boundaries. New lighting and security systems were installed and new showcases fabricated to host the artifacts along with descriptive panels on the history of Sharqiya.
“The objects on display are the result of archaeological excavations in Sharqiya,” Salah told Ahram Online. She added that the collection includes canopic jars, terracotta statuettes, clay pots of different shapes and sizes, domestic instruments, coins, statuette deities, tombstones, offering tables, and jewellery.
One of the showcases is devoted to Sharqiya's main ancient Egyptian deity, the cat shaped goddess Bastet.
French Egyptologist Pierre Montei discovered the Temple of Amun in Tanis in 1939 as well as a group of royal tombs from the Late Period, such as those for the kings Psusennes I and Shosinenq II.
In 2009, the joint French-Egyptian mission discovered the location of the sacred lake of the goddess Mut’s temple, the second sacred lake to be revealed on the site. In 2013, in Tel-El-Yahudia area, a mission from the antiquities ministry uncovered a huge fortification of mud brick inside the Hyksos fortress, as well as a residential city on its northeastern corner. A collection of oil lamps and faience tiles once used to decorate the palace of the kings Meneptah and his father Ramses II was also unearthed.
In Tel-El-Pharaeen, British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie discovered the ruins of the ancient city, including residential areas and the ruins of the city’s temple devoted to the goddess Wadjet.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies, the British Museum said on Thursday.
A male mummy was found to have tattoos depicting a wild bull and a Barbary sheep on its upper arm, while a female has linear and S-shaped motifs on its upper arm and shoulder. The artworks appeared as dark smudges in natural light but researchers at the British Museum and Oxford University's Faculty of Oriental Studies found the tattoos in 2017 with infrared photography. "It's actually providing completely new insights into the use of tattooing," Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told Reuters.
"The location of these tattoos suggests they were designed to be highly visible on the upper arm and the shoulder," he said, adding that the discoveries push back by 1,000 years evidence for tattooing in Africa.
The mummies were unearthed 100 years ago in the Egyptian town of Gebelein, around 40 km (24 miles) south of modern-day Luxor. They date to 3351 to 3017 BC, which is the Predynatic period before Egypt was unified by the first Pharaoh. Researchers said the female tattoos may have denoted status, bravery or magical knowledge, while the male's were likely symbols of virility and strength.
Prior to the discovery, archaeologists believed tattooing in Egypt was only performed on women, as tattoos were only depicted on female figurines of the period. The oldest surviving tattoos are geometric designs on a mummified corpse known as Otzi, who lived around 5,300 years ago and was discovered preserved in the Italian Alps in 1991. The research, lead by Antoine and Oxford University's Renee Friedman, was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on March 1.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
A collection of Fatimid artefacts arrived safely in Canada for a temporary exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A collection of Fatimid artefacts from Cairo arrived in Toronto on Tuesday for inclusion in a temporary exhibition at the city's Aga Khan Museum.
The exhibition, titled The World of the Fatimids, will run from 10 March to 2 July, providing North America with its first display of carefully selected Fatimid artworks, according to the museum.
Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the museum has received eight wooden boxes containing a collection of 37 artefacts for the show.
The artefacts were carefully selected from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in the Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo. They reflect the history of the Fatimids, who "established one of the greatest civilisations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East," according to the Aga Khan Museum website.
Salah said that the ministry had taken all the necessary legal and administrative measures to ensure the safe transportation of the artefacts from Cairo to Canada, applying the latest techniques in packaging and transportation.
An archaeologist and a conservator from the ministry accompanied the artefacts to monitor them on their long journey and inspect them on arrival, said Salah.
Mamdouh Osman, general director of the MIA, said that the artefacts include a collection of clay pots, dishes with various foliage and animal decorations, and a wooden mihrab (niche) decorated with a two-line inscription in kufic script.
There are also a number of marble tombstones inscribed with kufic script reading: "This is the tomb of Hamzah ibn Ali and his descendant Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib," referring to the cousin of Prophet Mohamed.
Also among the artefacts are marble vases, copper lamps and chandeliers with kufic script, and other objects in rock crystal, ivory and ceramic.
The exhibition features films on Fatimid Cairo, using drone video footage and 360 virtual reality technology, offering an insight into what the city was like a thousand years ago.
The Aga Khan Museum says the exhibition, "bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built one of the world’s oldest universities, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences."
Monday, February 26, 2018
The King Ramses II colossus at the GEM is now in its permanent place of display, 11 years after being removed from Cairo's Ramses Square. Written By/ Aymen Barayez.
It appears that the sun is greeting King Ramses II after the transportation of his colossus to its permanent place of display in the atrium of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).
Today, the sun sent its rays to lighten the face of the king, 11 years after the colossus was removed from Cairo's Ramsis Square and transported to the GEM.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
The new discovery has yielded a large cache of figurines and a fully preserved mummy. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In the middle of the desert, six kilometres south of Tuna Al-Gabal archaeological site, Egyptian and international media gathered to witness the announcement of a new discovery.
Five showcases displaying the artefacts uncovered from burial sites in the cemetery were guarded by inspectors. Minister of Antiquities Kaled El-Enany, who was on site, announced the discovery of a 26th Dynasty cemetery that consists of a large number of burial shafts.
The discovery was made out by an Egyptian mission led by Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who started excavations at end of 2017.
“Excavation work is scheduled to last for five years in an attempt to uncover all the burials of the cemetery,” El-Enany told Ahram Online. He explained that the discovery is still fresh, and many more are to come as excavation continues.
Waziri said that in the last three months the mission has discovered a group of tombs and burials that belong to priests of the ancient Egyptian god Thoth, the main deity of the 15th nome and its capital Al-Ashmounein.
One the discovered tombs belongs to a high-priest of god Thoth, “Hersa-Essei”. The tomb houses 13 burials in which was found a large number of ushabti figurines carved in faience. A collection of 1,000 figurines are in a very good state of conservation while other statuettes were found broken in pieces.
“Restorers are now busy collecting all of the parts for restoration,” Waziri pointed out. He continued that four canopic jars made of alabaster with lids bearing the faces of the four sons of the god Horus were also unearthed.
They are in a very good state of conservation and still contain the mummified inner organs of the deceased. The jars are decorated with hieroglyphic texts showing the name and titles of its respective owner.
The mummy of high-priest “Djehuty-Irdy-Es” was also found. The mummy is decorated with a bronze collar depicting the god Nut stretching her wings to protect the deceased according to ancient Egyptian belief. It is also decorated with a collection of blue and red precious beads as well as bronze gilded sheets, two eyes carved in bronze and ornamented with ivory and crystal beads.
Four amulets of semi-precious stones were also found on the mummy. It is decorated with hieroglyphic texts, one of which is engraved with a phrase saying: "Happy New Year.”
The mission has also unearthed 40 limestone sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, some of them with anthropoid lids decorated with the names and different titles of their owners.
Another family tomb was uncovered in the cemetery, Waziri said. It houses a collection of gigantic sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, ushabti figurines bearing the names of their owners who were priests of the gods during their time. Other funerary collections showing the skills and art tastes of the ancient Egyptians were also found.
Al-Gurifa site was subject to an attempt at illegal excavation in 2002, a matter that led the SCA at the time to start comprehensive excavation work on site in 2002 and 2004 under the supervision of archaeologist Atta Makram. In 2004, the site was declared an archaeological site under the guard of the SCA. In 2017, excavation work resumed to uncover the part of the cemetery of the New Kingdom and Late Period.
The cemeteries of the Old Kingdom, First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom were on the east bank of the Nile in Al-Sheikh Saad and Eeir Al-Barsha area. The Ptolemaic period of the cemetery was on the west bank of the Nile at Tuna Al-Gabal.
Friday, February 23, 2018
The photo and replicas exhibition at Opera Metro station aims to increase archaeological awareness among Egyptians. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) organised a photo and replicas exhibition of its treasured collection at the Opera Metro station in collaboration with the Metro company and Ministry of Transportation.
Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the exhibition is a new initiative launched by the ministry to raise archaeological and art awareness among Egyptians, as well as encouraging them to visit the MIA. She added that the initiative will be applied across all Metro stations in due course.
More About Islamic Art Museum News Click Here
Sunday, February 18, 2018
The temple was discovered by Egyptian archaeologists. The Egyptian Excavation Field School at the Kom Al-Rasras archaeological site in Aswan has uncovered the remains of a sandstone temple dating back to the 2nd century CE, during Egypt's Roman period. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The temple bears the cartouches of a number of Roman emperors such as Domitian (81-96 CE), Hadrian (117-138 CE) and Antonius Pius (138-161 CE).
Ayman Ashmawy, head of ancient Egyptian antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities, explains that excavators also discovered the temple's sanctuary, which consists of three chambers.
The sanctuary leads to a cross-sectional hall connected to another hall, which is accessed by a sandstone ramp. Found inside the temple were remains of stone engraving with stars representing the sky, possibly a part of the temple's ceiling.
“The discovered site might be connected to Gebel Al-Silsila area and the temple was most probably a part of the residential area of the quarry workers,” Ashmawy told Ahram Online. He explained that the hieroglyphic name of the site is “Khenu."
The name is engraved on one of the discovered blocks which connects the site to the residential city. Further excavations may lead to the discovery of the residential area of Al-Silsila quarries.
The name is engraved on one of the discovered blocks which connects the site to the residential city. Further excavations may lead to the discovery of the residential area of Al-Silsila quarries.
Bassem Gehad, Assistant to the Minister of Antiquities for Human Resources and Training, said that the Kom Al-Rasras school was the first Egyptian field archaelolgical school to be founded.
The school's founding comes within the Ministry of Antiquities' framework to establish a number of Egyptian field schools in order to develop the skills of junior archaeologists in several domains, including excavation, documentation, restoration and site management.
He pointed out that the ministry has established four similar training centers in Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Giza and South-Sinai, and is scheduled to establish six more schools across the country.
The Al-Rasras field school began training students in January 2018 with a class of 16 archaeologists from Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan.
The Al-Rasras field school began training students in January 2018 with a class of 16 archaeologists from Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The real story behind the unusual mummification of Unknown Man E, now on special display at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, revealed. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Although the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza Plateau will celebrate a soft opening in December, it is the Egyptian Museum which will remain one of Egypt’s archaeological icons. To highlight some of its distinguished treasured collections, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir overlooking Giza Plateau is to exhibit at its foyer and on a weekly basis, three of its artefacts that were located in a hidden display area, repatriated from abroad and stored in the basement. This week the mummy of Unknown Man E and a gilded cartonnage mask with a shroud are the selected objects going on special display.
Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the gilded cartonnage mask with a shroud was repatriated from the United States in 2017. The shroud looks like a net with beads used since the 21st Dynasty as a mummy cover. Meanwhile, Unknown Man E is wrapped in sheepskin with trimmed toe nails dyed with henna and an open mouth which makes the mummy look as though he had been poisoned. The mummy possibly belongs to Prince Pentewere, a son of the 20th Dynasty King Ramses III, who had been involved in a conspiracy against his father.
“The gruesome mummy of Unknown Man E, also known as the ‘Screaming Mummy’, has long puzzled scholars,” renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that this particular mummy is surrounded in mystery. Although he was re-buried in the royal mummy cache of Deir Al-Bahari, he was not wrapped in the usual fine linen bandages like the rest of the mummies. Instead, he was wrapped in sheepskin, which was considered impure by the ancient Egyptians. His hands and feet were tied with leather thongs. He was not even mummified, but was merely left to dry in natron and then had some resin poured into his open mouth.
“Such unusual mummification has perplexed Egyptologists and no one has succeeded in knowing the story behind such a mummy until the launch of the Egyptian Mummy Project several years ago under my direction to create a complete database of forensic information related to the mummy..... READ MORE.
Monday, February 12, 2018
New, Luxor: Supreme Council of Antiquities Denies Claims of New Discovery in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb
Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Mustafa Waziri denied on Wednesday media reports that a15-metre-deep hole was discovered behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb during a third radar survey carried out on the western and northern walls of the king’s burial chamber. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The survey started early in February and lasted for one week. Director of the Department of Foreign Missions Mohamed Ismail told Ahram Online that the head of the survey team says that at least three weeks are needed to study the results of the survey.
Ismail also denied media reports of a new archaeological discovery in the area, describing these reports as a breach of the antiquities law, which stipulates that any announcement should first be approved by the ministry’s permanent committee in order to ensure scientific credibility.
In 2015, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves published a theory suggesting that the northern and western walls of Tutankhamun's tomb house hidden doorways that could lead to the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, the wife and co-regent of the monotheistic King Akhenaten and the golden king’s step mother.
Reeves’ theory was based on his examination of 3D photos of the tomb. Former Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damati was enthusiastic about the theory and asked reeves to travel to Luxor to prove his hypothesis. Two radar surveys and an infrared examination have since been conducted, but have given inconclusive results.
A Japanese radar survey suggested the existence of void spaces, while a survey by an American team asserted that there is nothing behind the walls. Meanwhile, the infrared researchers asked to re-examine the walls as the environment inside the tomb was not conducive to accurate results. The third radar survey was then conducted by an Italian team from Turin University to settle the matter.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Structures consist of two large mudbrick buildings surrounded by vast open courtyards and workshops. Excavation of an ancient Egyptian site has found evidence of beer and bread-making in a newly discovered building complex.
The city of Tell Edfu, located around 400 miles south of Cairo in the Nile Valley, has been explored by archaeologists for the past 16 years. At the end of 2017, researchers from the University of Chicago found a complex of buildings that marked the earliest point of the town’s occupation. They dated from around 2400 BCE – the so-called “Old Kingdom” period of ancient Egypt, when the great pyramids were built.
The structures consist of two large mudbrick buildings surrounded by vast open courtyards and workshops. “It’s a wonderful find because we have so little information about this era of settlement in the southern provinces,” said Professor Nadine Moeller, an Egyptian archaeology specialist who co-led the excavation. “We don’t know any such similar complexes for the Old Kingdom.”
The excavation uncovered storage containers and other artifacts in the workshops that suggested the towns inhabitants had been brewing beer and making bread on the site. There was also evidence for copper smelting in the complex, which the archaeologists think was built to provide accommodation for important officials sent to oversee the mining of precious minerals from the eastern deserts.
Underneath the floors of the buildings the archaeologists discovered stamps marked with the name, in hieroglyphs, of an official who led a group of prospectors to mine for the pharaoh Djedkare-Isesi – the penultimate rule of Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty. “It’s just about this time that the Egyptian royalty, until then focused on the northern area directly around the capital Memphis, began to expand its reach after a period of contraction during the fourth and much of the fifth dynasties,” said Professor Moeller.
The use of Edfu as a departure point for expeditions to the east was further confirmed by the presence of shells from the Red Sea and rare imported ceramics from the ancient civilization of Nubia, in what is now Sudan. “This is a first sign that the ancient city of Edfu was evolving into an important departure point for large expeditions leaving for the Eastern desert regions, and possibly the Red Sea shore, located about 125 miles to the east,” Professor Moeller added.
The researchers also said the building may have had religious or cult ties, given their proximity to the temple of the falcon god Horus. “It’s such a unique site. We’ve had a hard time finding architectural parallels, because no other settlement in Upper Egypt has such extensive remains from this time period,” said Professor Moeller. “We’ve learned so much at Tell Edfu, and there’s still more to come.”
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Three rock-hewn burial shafts filled with coffins and faience pots have been uncovered in Egypt's Abusir necropolis near Cairo. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the antiquities ministry formed an archaeological committee led by Sabri Farag, the director-general of the Saqqara Necropolis, to conduct urgent excavations at the site.
Waziri explains that excavation revealed three rock-hewn burial shafts containing funerary collections, including four wooden coffins in bad conservation condition bearing hieroglyphic texts.
Farag says that one of these texts bears the cartouche of King Ptolemy IV (244 – 204 BC), but the remaining text is not clear enough to decipher. More studies are set to be carried out to determine to which reign the coffins belong.
Farag said the coffins hold four mummified bodies, presumably of birds, along with three round-shaped linen wrappings housing the mummies' stomachs.
A collection of 38 symbolic pots carved in faience was also found. All the objects are being held in storage at the site for restoration.
Monday, February 5, 2018
The northern and western walls of king Tutankhamun's tomb
The search involves utilising ground-penetrating radars to detect the presence of empty spaces or corridors hidden behind the walls of the boy king’s burial chamber.
In 2015, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves published a theory suggesting that the northern and western walls of Tutankhamun's tomb house hidden doorways that could lead to the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, the wife and co-regent of the monotheistic King Akhenaten and the golden king’s step mother. Reeves’ theory was based on his examination of 3D photos of both walks.
Former minister of antiquities Mamdouh El-Damati was enthusiastic about the theory and asked reeves to travel to Luxor to prove his hypothesis. Two radar surveys and an infra red examination have since been conducted, but have given inconclusive results. A Japanese radar survey suggested the existence of void spaces, while a survey by an American team asserted that there is nothing behind the walls.
Carter examining Tutankhamun's coffin
The survey took place after approval was given by from security authorities, the Permanent Committee and the board of directors of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
“This step was taken according to recommendations suggested at a press conference held last year at the Grand Egyptian Museum to discuss the results of all the scans; the step is a reflection of the Ministry of Antiquities' keenness on ensuring scientific credibility,” Ismail said.
Ismail explains that researchers from the Italian University of Turin led by Egyptologist Franco Porcelli are now conducting state-of-the-art, non-invasive "decisive geo-radar measurements" inside the tomb for six days.
Tutankhamen's tomb, discovered in 1922, was a unique find among the pharaonic tombs in Luxor's Valley of the Kings due to the wealth of its contents. Unlike most of the other tombs, it had not been plundered in ancient times.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
New Discovery, Giza: Tomb of 5th Dynasty Top Official Hetpet Discovered Near Pyramid of Khafre on Giza Plateau
After almost 109 years of searching, the tomb of Hathor’s priestess Hetpet has been uncovered. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
“It is the first discovery to be announced in 2018,” said Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany at a press conference held at the step of Hetpet’s tomb in Giza's western cemetery.
El-Enany explained that blocks of the tomb were unearthed in 1909 by a British explorer who sent them to Berlin and Frankfurt.
“The tomb has never been uncovered until October 2017 when the Egyptian mission started excavation in the Giza western cemetery,” El-Enany said.
The minister explained that the cemetery was previously excavated by several archaeological missions since 1843, and the most distinguished and important ones were made by renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass.
The newly discovered tomb belongs to a lady named Hetpet, a top official in the royal palace during the end of the 5th Dynasty.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the head of the mission, told Ahram Online that the tomb has the architectural style and decorative elements of the 5th Dynasty, with an entrance leading to an “L” shape shrine with a purification basin.
On its western rear end there is a rectangular arcade lined with incense and offering holders. There is also a naos with a yet missing statue of the tomb’s owner. The tomb has very distinguished wall paintings in a very good state of conservation depicting “Hetpet” standing in different hunting and fishing scenes or sitting before a large offering table receiving offerings from her children.
“Scenes of reaping fruits, melting metals and the fabrication of leather and papyri boats as well as musical and dancing performances are also shown on walls,” Waziri said. He added that among the most distinguished paintings in the tomb are those depicting two monkeys in different positions. Monkeys were domestic animals at the time.
The first scene shows a monkey reaping fruits while the second displays a monkey dancing in front of an orchestra. Similar scenes are found in other tombs. The first one is painted on the wall of a 12th Dynasty tomb of Khnoum Hetep II in Beni Hassan in Minya governorate; the second is found in the Old Kingdom tomb of Ka-Iber in Saqqara, though it displays a dancing monkey in front of a guitarist not an orchestra.