Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Discovery, Aswan: 2nd Century Roman Temple Uncovered in Aswan

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Short Story: A Strange Way to Mummify: The Mystery of Egypt's 'Screaming Mummy'

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

New Discovery, Edfu: Ancient Egyptian Beer-Making Facilities Found by Archaeologists

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.”
Source: Independent UK
For Reading All Related Posts of New Discoveries Click Here 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Discover, Dahshur: Rock-Hewn Burial Shaft Uncovered in Egypt's Abusir Necropolis

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.
The discovery was made after authorities received reports of illegal excavations in the area.

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

News, Luxor: Radar Scan Underway to Search for Hidden Chambers in Tutankhamun’s Tomb

The northern and western walls of king Tutankhamun's tomb
On Thursday, experts from Italy and Egypt began a "decisive" search at the tomb of King Tutankhamun on Luxor’s west bank to reveal if there are any chambers hidden behind its northern and western walls. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

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
Meanwhile, the infrared researchers asked to re-examine the walls as the environment inside the tomb was not conducive to accurate results. To put an end to such conflicting results, Mohamed Ismail, supervisor-general of the Permanent Committee at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that a third radar survey has begun inside and outside Tutankhamun’s tomb.

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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

News, Cairo: AUC Shares Hassan Fathy Archives to Help Restore New Gourna Village

Documents, drawings and images from the Hassan Fathy Collection held at the AUC's Rare Books and Special Collections Library have been used to plan the village restoration project. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The American University in Cairo's (AUC) Rare Books and Special Collections Library has been assisting with a project to restore New Gourna village in Luxor, providing original drawings, documents and images from the AUC’s Hassan Fathy Collection.

Built between 1946 and 1949, New Gourna village has experienced significant deterioration in recent decades, inspiring several plans for its restoration that have not come to fruition until now.

A UNESCO-sponsored project, however, is set to succeed in preserving pioneering architect Hassan Fathy’s well-known experiment at constructing an ideal village, a plan that perfectly embodies the innovative architect’s mission and values.

With the help of the special collections library and the backing of UNESCO, the National Organization for Urban Harmony was able to concretize plans for revival of the site and restoration of its buildings, guided by the original materials from the Hassan Fathy Collection.

“We’re happy to see the Hassan Fathy Collection used for restoration purposes,” said Ola Seif, assistant director and curator for photography at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

“For the past 10 years, it has been a wonderful source for many researchers worldwide, and soon, AUC Press will publish a thoroughly researched book titled Hassan Fathy in His Time. So the collection is really being explored as Hassan Fathy would have liked it to be, and to serve the purposes of his architectural ideology.”

Considered one of the first architects to make “appropriate technology” a principle of designing modern buildings, Fathy constructed the New Gourna village around the unique needs of its inhabitants.

In the process, he was able to assist in relocating an entire community that had previously been living near archeological Pharaonic sites. To build a “better village,” Fathy used local materials and traditional mud bricks, thereby empowering those in need to build their own affordable housing and reflecting the community’s connection with its environment.

The library was also central in curating an exhibition for the project’s launch event that was recently held at the Cairo Citadel. Through photographic archives, the exhibition traced the original construction of the village and Fathy’s architectural style, paying homage to his vision for New Gourna.

The final segment of the photographic gallery presented digital images that offered a peek into plans for reconstruction of some of the New Gourna buildings. Tarek Waly, CEO of the Tarek Waly Center and consultant for the restoration project, also introduced the main strategies for restoration. Additionally, Ghaith Fariz, director of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States, spoke to the significance of Fathy’s architecture and ideology.

The first stage of the project will tackle the village khan and mosque. Later stages will move on to rehabilitating the theatre, marketplace, Fathy’s residence, the village hall and main square, with plans to also increase the efficiency of the roads approaching the site. 

The project involves plans to reuse the buildings according to the needs of the villagers, with the possibility of converting some areas into artist studios, a cultural centre, a centre for youth and, potentially, a training centre to continue communicating Fathy’s mission and methods.

New Discovery, Dakhla Oasis: Fossil of School Bus-Sized Dinosaur Dug Up in Egyptian Desert.

Scientists have unearthed in a Sahara Desert oasis in Egypt fossils of a long-necked, four-legged, school bus-sized dinosaur that lived roughly 80 million years ago, a discovery that sheds light on a mysterious time period in the history of dinosaurs in Africa.

Researchers said on Monday the plant-eating Cretaceous Period dinosaur, named Mansourasaurus shahinae, was nearly 33 feet (10 metres) long and weighed 5.5 tons (5,000 kg) and was a member of a group called titanosaurs that included Earth’s largest-ever land animals. Like many titanosaurs, Mansourasaurus boasted bony plates called osteoderms embedded in its skin.

Mansourasaurus, which lived near the shore of the ancient ocean that preceded the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the very few dinosaurs known from the last 15 million years of the Mesozoic Era, or age of dinosaurs, on mainland Africa. Madagascar had a separate geologic history.

Its remains, found at the Dakhla Oasis in central Egypt, are the most complete of any mainland African land vertebrate during an even larger time span, the roughly 30 million years before the dinosaur mass extinction 66 million years ago, said paleontologist Hesham Sallam of Egypt’s Mansoura University, who led the study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The scientists recovered parts of its skull, lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, shoulder and forelimb, back foot and osteoderms.

A lot of Africa is covered in grasslands, savannas and rain forests that obscure underlying rock where fossils may be found, said postdoctoral researcher Eric Gorscak of the Field Museum in Chicago, who was formerly at Ohio University.

While as massive as a bull African elephant, Mansourasaurus was modestly sized next to titanosaur cousins such as South America’s Argentinosaurus, Dreadnoughtus and Patagotitan and Africa’s Paralititan, some exceeding 100 feet (30 metres) long.

“Mansourasaurus, though a big animal by today’s standards, was a pipsqueak compared to some other titanosaurs,” said paleontologist Matt Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

The researchers determined Mansourasaurus was more closely related to European and Asian titanosaurs than to those from elsewhere in Africa and other Southern Hemisphere land masses including South America formerly joined in a super-continent called Gondwana.

“This, in turn, demonstrates for the first time that at least some dinosaurs could move between North Africa and southern Europe at the end of the Mesozoic, and runs counter to long-standing hypotheses that have argued that Africa’s dinosaur faunas were isolated from others during this time,” Lamanna said.

Monday, January 29, 2018

News, Luxor: Egypt's Archaeological Sites to Be Made More Accessible to People With Disbilities

Luxor and Karnak Temples are among the first ancient sites to see improvements, with wooden ramps and paths for wheelchairs, along with information boards accessible to those with impaired sight and hearing. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egypt's antiquities ministry has launched a project to make archaeological sites and museums more accessible to people with disabilities, starting with improvements to Luxor Museum and the temples of Karnak and Luxor.

Sherif Abdel Moneim, supervisor of the ministry's Development of Archaeological Sites department, told Ahram Online that the project will bring improved mobility for those in wheelchairs, as well as making information more accessible to those with impaired sight and hearing.

Special paths will be constructed at Karnak and Luxor to facilitate the movement of wheelchairs, while information boards will be put up that are accessible to those with disabilities. A documentary film on display at the visitor center will have sign-language incorporated.

The toilets, meanwhile, will be renovated and equipped to suit special-needs visitors, according to international standards.

Mustafa Al-Saghir, director-general of Karnak Antiquities, explained a few of the improvements planned for the Karnak Temple site. The podium area and the area between the Teharaka column and the open-air museum will feature ramps measuring 1.5 metres in width, he explained, while a wooden slope will be installed from the start of the Avenue of Sphinxes.

The ministry is conducting the project in partnership with an Egyptian NGO called Helm (which translates into English as "Dream") that specialises in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including access to public premises.

Eman Zidan, supervisor of the ministry's Financial Resources Development Department, said that the project to improve accessibility at archaeological sites highlights the role of NGOs in serving the community.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

News, Giza: Japanese Development Agency Official Inspects Restoration Work on Khufu’s Second Solar Boat

JICA's Miyahara Chie paid a visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum's conservation laboratories and got an update on restoration work partly funded by the Japanese government. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

JICA's Miyahara Chie observes restoration work conducted 
on King Khufu’s second solar boat
A senior official from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) took a tour of conservation facilities at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on Sunday afternoon, observing restoration work being conducted on King Khufu’s second solar boat.

Miyahara Chie, the deputy director-general of JICA's Middle East and Europe Department, visited the GEM's conservation laboratories and was updated on work to restore the ancient wooden boat, a project that is partly funded by the Japanese government.

Eissa Zidan, supervisor-general of boat restoration work, told Ahram Online that Chie was very enthusiastic about the restoration project and hopes to see the craft reassembled and put on display at the GEM soon.

Two boats belonging to Pharaoh Khufu were discovered inside two pits in 1954 as Egyptian archaeologists Kamal El-Mallakh and Zaki Nour were carrying out routine cleaning on the southern side of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

After its initial discovery, the first boat was removed piece by piece under the supervision of restoration expert Ahmed Youssef, who spent more than 20 years restoring and reassembling it. The boat is now on display at Khufu’s Solar Boat Museum on the Giza Plateau.

The second boat remained sealed in the neighbouring pit until 1987 when it was examined by the American National Geographic Society in association with the Egyptian Office for Historical Monuments.

In 2009, a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University headed by Sakuji Yoshimura offered to remove the boat from the pit, restore and reassemble it, and put it on show to the public. The launch of the project involved a $10 million grant from the Japanese government.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

News, Giza: Colossal Ramses II Statue Arrives at New Display at The Grand Egyptian Museum

The colossal statue of the pharaoh arrived at its new resting place to the sounds of the national anthem. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The 3,200-year-old colossal statue of King Ramses II is seen during its transfer
to the main entrance of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo's twin city Giza
on January 25, 2018.
The colossus of Ramses II arrived safely at its new display area in the atrium of the Grand Egyptian Museum on Thursday, in preparation for the museum’s soft opening later this year. The statue had been being stored in another part of the GEM, and the 400-metre journey to its permanent resting place was marked with ceremony. Senior officials were in attendance, and the statue was preceded on its jourey by 11 Egyptian horsemen in ceremonial military dress. As it reached its final location, the national anthem was played.

Thursday’s trip was the fourth time that the colossus of the great king, who ruled from 1279–1213 BC, has been moved.  The first trip took place 3,000 years ago; the statue was carved in an Aswan quarry and then taken to Mit Rahina archaeological site in the Memphis necropolis, to be displayed as part of the façade of Ptah’s temple. In 1955, president Gamal Abdel-Nasser decided to move the statue to Bab Al-Hadid (now Ramses Square) in Cairo, as part of an initiative launched by the minister of governmental affairs, Abdel-Latif El-Boghdadi, to beautify the streets and squares of Cairo. The third relocation was in 2006 when former minister of culture, Farouk Hosni, decided to move the statue from Ramses Square to the headquarters of the GEM to protect it from pollution. 

The relocation process was carried out in collaboration with the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces and the Arab Contractors Company, which was responsible for the previous move in 2006.  Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said that over the past three months the statue has been intensively studied to assess its condition before transportation. Safeguarding procedures have been put in place, and the foam rubber covering the statue has been replaced with stronger material and weak points consolidated.


Statue of Ramses II uncovered in Memphis by Joseph Hekekyan, 1852-1854
El-Enany added that the whole process has cost about EGP 13.6 million, including packing and unpacking the statue and preparing the road. Mohsen Salah, chairman of the Arab Contractors Company, told Ahram Online before the move that the statue would be transported in at iron cage, wherein it would be hung like a pendulum to allow it to move freely during the 400-metre journey. Tarek Tawfik, supervisor general of the Grand Egyptian Museum, said that the museum is expected to be fully open totally in 2022, but its soft opening will be at the end of this year.

The museum, located on the Giza Plateau, will feature an atrium, a grand staircase, and the Tutankhamun hall. The golden king’s whole collection will by put on show for the first time; it includes 5,200 artifacts. The partially broken colossus of Ramses II was discovered at Mit Rahina archaeological site in 1820 by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Caviglia, along with another similar one that remains on site. Caviglia tried to move it to Italy but he was unable to because of its 83-tonne weight. Mohamed Ali decided to offer the statue to the British Museum in London but the offer failed for the same reason. The statue stood in its place at Mit Rahina until it was eventually transferred to Ramses Square.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

News, Luxor: Searching for The Tomb of Tutankhamun's Wife Ankhesenamun

A team of archaeologists led by Zahi Hawass may be closing in on the resting place of the boy king's wife. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
An Egyptian archaeological mission led by renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass began excavation work in the Valley of the Monkeys, a section of the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s west bank, to search for an 18th Dynasty tomb “probably” of the wife of the boy king Tutankhamun, Ankhesenamun.

Mostafa Wazir, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities told Ahram Online that the team is working in the area near the tomb of king Ay, the successor of king Tutankhamun, in search of a yet unidentified 18th Dynasty tomb. He pointed out that in 2010 the team uncovered in this area four foundation deposits which suggest the existence of a tomb. According to ancient Egyptian traditions, he asserted, such deposits have to be dug after the completion of any tomb but digging deposits before the construction of any temple.

Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told Ahram Online that in 2010 the team has unearthed inside these deposits a collection of knives and clay pots from the reign of king Amenhotep III, the father of the monotheistic king Akhenatun and the grandfather of the golden king Tutankhamun. “This suggests that the tomb could belong to one of Tutankhamun’s family members, probably his wife Ankhesenamun,” Hawass told Ahram Online. He added that radar survey carried out earlier has detected the existence of an anomaly five meters below the ground level. Some suggest that it could be the entrance of a tomb.

"Until excavations were conducted, archaeologists couldn't be certain of the tomb's existence. And if so we do not know for sure to whom it belongs," Hawass said, adding that "it could be anything, until we excavate." Ankhesenamun was the wife of Tutankhamun but married Ay not long after Tutankhamun’s death. Due to the location of the evidence, Hawass and his team think that any undiscovered tomb may belong to her. The Valley of the Monkeys, also known as the Western Valley, earned its name from local inhabitants because of the walls paintings which king Ay’s tomb, which depict 12 monkeys.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Discovery, Al-Alamein: 1st Century Tomb Discovered in Northern Egypt's Al-Alamein

An Egyptian archaeological mission working at an archaeological site in Al-Alamein on the northern coast has discovered a rock-hewn tomb that dates to the first and second centuries AD. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The discovery was made during an archaeological survey carried out ahead of infrastructure work in New Alamein City.

Naema Sanad, director-general of the Marina archaeological site and head of the mission, told Ahram Online that the tomb contains of a staircase engraved in rock that leads to the main chamber of the tomb, whose walls hold a number of burial holes called “Locauli.”

Sanad says that the southern wall of the tomb is adorned with a Greek religious and artistic decoration called the “welfare horn,” which depicts a horn with a basin decorated with flowers and tree leaves. To the right of the tomb’s entrance is another chamber that was added during a later period.

Eman Abdel-Khaleq, senior inspector of the site, pointed out that the mission has discovered many artefacts in the tomb, including a collection of coins dating to the period when the tomb was built in addition to many pottery vessels and two lamps.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Short Story: Living Through The Past

The values that built Egypt’s ancient civilisation are still very much in evidence today, writes Hussein Bassir.

Civilisation began in Egypt’s Nile Valley and Delta. The ancient Egyptians, the builders of this unique civilisation, were distinguished for their skill, perseverance, calmness, forbearance, faith and tolerance.

Egypt is also a meeting place for civilisations, a crucible for cultural exchange, and an object of desire for invaders throughout its long history. The names given to the land have been numerous. The name Egypt comes from the ancient term Hutkaptah, meaning “temple of the soul of Ptah”, the god of the ancient capital Memphis. The ancient Egyptians belonged to both the Semitic and Hamitic peoples.

The written story of Egypt begins around 3000 BC. When the legendary king Menes unified Upper Egypt (the south) and Lower Egypt (the Delta) and established a centralised state around 3000 BC, values and standards were introduced that still govern the state of Egypt today.

Egypt then entered the period of the Old Kingdom, the age of the Pyramids, which lasted from 2686 to 2160 BC. During this time, the Egyptians built the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, and carved the statue of the Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau, which represented the Pharaoh Khafre, builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza. These magnificent monuments bear witness to the archaeological, engineering, astronomical and administrative skills of the ancient Egyptians.

After this golden age, Egypt entered a period of decline, before emerging as a powerful force in the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC), the age of Egyptian classical literature. Following this second golden age, the country embarked on the most difficult period in its ancient history, namely the occupation by foreign tribes known as Hyksos, meaning “rulers of foreign lands”.

These crept over the country’s eastern borders and took control of large parts of the land when the Egyptian state was weak. After a long and bitter struggle, the Upper Egyptian Pharaoh Ahmose I (1550-1525 BC) managed to expel the Hyksos from Egypt by driving them into neighbouring Palestine. The New Kingdom, the final golden age of ancient Egypt, was now established.

Egypt adopted a new foreign policy based on expansion and foreign conquest and brought numerous other powers under its control. This period, which lasted until 1069 BC, is known as the age of empire. Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) is considered the founder of the Egyptian Empire in Asia and Africa, while other famous Pharaohs of this age include Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses II and Ramses III….. READ MORE. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Re-Opening, Cairo: Egyptian Monuments Reopen

Three Mameluke monuments in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public after restoration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref. 
Three Mameluke-period monuments, the Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan, the Tekkeyet Al-Bustami and the Darb Al-Laban Gate in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public next week after restoration work.

A Bimaristan is a Mameluke hospital, while a tekkeya is a Sufi charitable building. The buildings have been shrouded in scaffolding for the past three years as restoration work continues, with it being slated to finally come off next week.

The monuments, like others in heavily populated areas, were suffering from environmental dangers, including air pollution, high subsoil water levels, high levels of humidity, water leakage, the effects of a decayed sewerage system installed 100 years ago, and the adverse effects of the 1992 earthquake that increased the number of cracks in their walls, leading in some cases to partial collapse. 

“One of the most serious causes of the damage to the buildings has been encroachment from the monuments’ neighbours who used the tekkeya for example as a residential building and the bimaristan as a garbage dump,” Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project that supervised the work, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said the walls of the three monuments had cracked and partly collapsed, masonry was damaged, and the condition of the ceilings was critical. Decorations were heavily damaged and several parts were missing, while most of the flooring was broken.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said the restoration had been carried out according to the latest scientific methods. “Every effort was made to ensure that all the original architectural features were retained,” he said, adding that the restoration of the buildings had had important advantages in that individual monuments were being preserved for future generations and the entire neighbourhood was being revived and upgraded.

Abdel-Aziz said that the aim of the restoration was mainly to strengthen and consolidate the monuments and protect them from future damage. The walls were reinforced, cracks were treated, façades were consolidated, missing and decayed stones were replaced, and masonry was cleaned and desalinated. Tilted pillars and walls were readjusted to their original positions, broken woodwork was re-installed and missing parts were replaced with others of the same shape, size and material.

The ceilings were consolidated and insulated with special material to prevent the leakage of rainwater into the monuments. A special system was also designed to accumulate rainwater in one place and feed it into the main sewage system.

The areas surrounding the three monuments were cleaned, restored and upgraded in order to be venues hosting cultural events as well as for holding workshops to raise the cultural awareness of their inhabitants.


The Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan was built by one of the most important Circassian Mameluke sultans to rule Egypt, Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi, who reigned between 1418 and 1420 CE. The Bimaristan is the second public hospital still remaining from the period after that of the Mameluke sultan Qalawun built in 1284 in Al-Muizz Street in Islamic Cairo…. READ MORE.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Discovery, Sharqiya: Ramses II Stelae Uncovered at San Al-Hagar Site

The newly discovered stelae
San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

During work carried out at San Al-Hagar archaeological site in Sharqiya governorate with a view to develop the site into an open-air museum, archaeologists stumbled upon a stelae of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the stelae is carved in red granite and depicts King Ramses II presenting offerings to a yet unidentified ancient Egyptian deity. 


Part of the development work & Waziri examining the stelae
He said that although several foreign missions have worked on the site, it has never been completely excavated and was neglected.

“This discovery encourages the Ministry of Antiquities to start a comprehensive development project at the site in order to rescue its monuments and transform it into an open-air museum,” Waziri added.

San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun. Several foreign missions, among them a French mission, have worked on the site since the mid-19th century.

Waadalla Abul Ela, head of the ministry's projects sector, explained that a project started a month ago aims to create a collection of concrete mastaba for the monumental blocks, statues and stelae that were laying on the floor of the temple.