Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Discovery, Nile Delta: Greco-Roman Bath, Artifacts Discovered at San El-Hagar Archaeological Site in Egypt.


Wriiten By/ Nevine El-Aref: An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has uncovered sections from a huge red brick building that might be part of a Greco-Roman bath at San El-Hagar archaeological site in Gharbeya governorate.

The mission has also uncovered a collection of pottery vessels, terracotta statues, bronze tools and coins, a stone fragment engraved with hieroglyphs and a small statue of a lamb.

Head of the mission Saeed El-Asal told Ahram Online that the most notable artefact discovered is a gold coin of King Ptolemy III, which was made during the reign of his son King Ptolemy IV (244 – 204 BC) in memory of his father. The diameter of the coin is 2.6cm and weighs about 28g.

One side of the coin depicts a portrait of King Ptolemy III wearing the crown while the other side bears the Land of Prosperity and the name of the king.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Recovered Antiquities: Cairo International Airport Officials Foil Attempt to Smuggle Old Manuscripts out of Egypt


The find includes a document that dates back to the 16th century. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Officials of the Antiquities Unit of the Customs Department at Cairo International Airport on Sunday foiled an attempt to smuggle a collection of old manuscripts and documents that date back several centuries out of Egypt.

Hamdy Hammam, head of the Central Administration of Seized Antiquities Unit told Ahram Online that the manuscripts were contained in three books, while ten other documents were packed in seven separate parcels on their way to an Arab country.

According to Ali Ramadan, director of the Archaeological Unit at the airport's cargo village, one book is entitled Summary of the Speeches of the Princes of the Holy House.

The 277-page text is imprinted with red and black ink and bears several dates from 948-1299 Hijri (1541/2-1881/2 CE). 

The second book includes of 20 pages and is dated 28 Jumada II 1334 Hijri (1915/6 CE). The third has 56 pages and bears the date 1265 Hijri (1848/9 CE).

The ten documents belong to the Egyptian Survey Authority and are dated from 1239 to 1251 Hijri (1823/4 - 1835/6 CE).

An archaeological committee from the Ministry of Antiquities has inspected and verified the authenticity of the items. 

The documents and manuscripts were confiscated according to Antiquities Protection Law, No. 117 of 1983 and its amendments, and will be held until the investigation's conclusion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Discovery, Sakkara: Egypt Uncovers Tomb of Great Ramesses II Era General in Saqqara

Material found so far at the site testifies to the high status of its General Iwrkhy and his family. Written by/ Nevine El-Aref.

Professor of Egyptology at Cairo University Ola El-Aguizy has announced the discovery of an important tomb belonging to the great Ramessess II era General Iwrkhy in Saqqara, in a speech delivered to attendees of the Faculty of Archaeology Prom 2017. The tomb was discovered in the New Kingdom necropolis south of the Causeway of King Unas in Saqqara, during the last excavation season in 2017/2018.

El-Aguizy, head of the mission that uncovered the tomb, said it most likely dates to the reigns of both Sethi I and Ramesses II. The site has yet to be fully excavated, but has already provided a wealth of material testifying to the high status of its owner and his family.

The tomb belongs to General and High Steward of the estates of Ramsses II in the Domain of Amun. His name is inscribed on the tomb along with that of his son Yuppa and grandson Hatiay -- the latter occupying a significant position in the inscriptions on the walls still in place.

Iwrkhy began his military career under King Sethi I and reached the highest positions in Egyptian court during the reign of Ramesses II. His tomb appears to mimic the style of contemporary tombs in the area, which include a forecourt, statue room with adjacent plastered vaulted storehouses, perystile court and western chapels (which have yet to be excavated), El-Aguizy said.

Archaeologists believe the general came to Egypt as a foreigner, one of many who settled here and managed to reach high positions in the court of the New Kingdom.

The scenes that remain on the walls of the statue room and on blocks found buried in the sand show a number of unusual scenes, many related to Iwrkhy's military career, and foreign relations with neighboring countries. These include an image of moored boats unloading Canaanite wine jars.

One block, most likely detached from the northern wall, shows an exceptional scene of an infantry unit and charioteers crossing a waterway with crocodiles. Preliminary studies of the scene determined that its fortified walls represent the eastern borders of Egypt.

The scene has only one parallel, depicted on the outer north wall of the hypostyle court of Karnak temple in Thebes. The scene shows Sethi I coming back from a victorious campaign against the Shasu Bedouins, entering Egypt by the same waterway with crocodiles.

The remains of such fortified walls were recently discovered by archaeologist Mohamed Abdel Maksoud and his team on the site known as Tell Heboua I and II on the Pelusian branch of the Nile in Eastern Qantara, North Sinai.

Discoveries in the Saqqara tomb also show signs of active daily life in this garrison, including wine cellars and livestock depicted on the walls. The scenes of the high steward's tomb are quite exceptional, with artistic features characteristic of the time of Sethi I and Ramesses II. This indicates that the tomb was constructed over a number of phases.

The prominence of the names of Iwrkhy's family -- Yuppa and Hatiay -- suggests that this may have been a family tomb. Further excavation of the sanctuary and shaft are needed to confirm this.

Monday, May 7, 2018

News: New Survey Confirms No Hidden Nefertiti Chamber in Tutankhamun's Tomb

The result of a third radar survey shows conclusively that there are no hidden chambers in the tomb. Written by/ Nevine El-Aref.

After almost three months of study, a new geophysics survey has provided conclusive evidence that no hidden chambers exist adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced the results, adding that the head of the Italian scientific team carrying out the research,

Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin, is to provide all the details of the ground penetrating radar (GPR) studies during his speech to be delivered on Sunday evening at the ongoing Fourth Tutankhamun International Conference.

Waziri said that a scientific report was submitted on Sunday morning to the Permanent Committee for Ancient Egyptian Antiquities by Porcelli and his team, which included experts from the nearby University of Turin and from two private geophysics companies, Geostudi Astier (Leghorn) and 3DGeoimaging (Turin), who collected GPR data from the inside of Tutankhamun’s tomb in February 2018.

According to the report, which Ahram Online has obtained, Porcelli said that the GPR scans were performed along vertical and horizontal axes with very dense spatial sampling. Double antenna polarisations were also employed, with transmitting and receiving dipoles both orthogonal and parallel to the scanning direction.

Porcelli asserted that the main findings are as follows: no marked discontinuities due to the passage from natural rock to man-made blocking walls are evidenced by the GPR radargrams, nor there is any evidence of the jambs or the lintel of a doorway. Similarly, the radargrams do not show any indication of plane reflectors, which could be interpreted as chamber walls or void areas behind the paintings of the funerary chamber. “It is concluded, with a very high degree of confidence, that the hypothesis concerning the existence of hidden chambers or corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by the GPR data,” Porcelli said in the report.

This is the third GPR survey to be conducted inside the tomb in recent years. It was designed to stop the controversy aroused after the contradictory results of two previous radar surveys to inspect the accuracy of a theory launched in 2015 by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, who suggested that the tomb of queen Nefertiti could be concealed behind the north and west wall paintings of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.

The theory was supported by former minister of antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty, who agreed to conduct two GPR surveys. The first was conducted by a Japanese professional who asserted with 95 percent certainty the existence of a doorway and a hall with artefacts.

The second radar survey was carried out with another high-tech GPR device by an American scientific team from National Geographic, who rejected the previous Japanese results and asserted that nothing existed behind the west and north wall of Tutankhamun's burial chamber.

To solve the difficulties encountered by the two preceding surveys and provide a conclusive response, the current antiquities minister, Khaled El-Enany, who took office in March 2016, decided to discuss the matter at the second International Tutankhamun Conference, which was attended by a group of pioneer scholars and archaeologists who decided to conduct a third GPR analysis to put an end to the debate.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

News Giza: Egyptian Antiquities Minister Assures That Last Week's Fire did Little Damage to Grand Egyptian Museum

El-Enany with media at the GEM
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany escorted members of the media on a tour of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza to show that the fire that broke out at the museum last week did little damage to the museum. Written by/ Nevine El-Aref.

The visit included a tour of the museum buildings as well as the display of the King Ramses II colossus and artifacts at the GEM’s conservation centre.

Last Sunday, a minor fire broke out on the wooden scaffolding on the museum’s rear façade. No one was harmed and no artifacts were damaged in the fire. One hour after the fire broke out, the museum’s fire station, with aid from Civilian Security fire trucks, succeeded in extinguishing the flames, Mostafa Waziri Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said at the time.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the blaze. The GEM is currently under construction, with scaffolding positioned outside several buildings. 
The museum is being built to house antiquities from ancient Egypt, including many items currently held at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square. A partial opening is planned for later this year.

News, Giza: Last Chariot of The Boy King Tutankhamun Arrives Safely to GEM

The sixth and last chariot of King Tutankhamun is one of the prized artifacts from the Tutankhamun collection now housed at the GEM. Written by/ Nevine El-Aref. 
Completing a collection of 5,200 Tutankhamun artefacts, the Egyptian Ministry of Defence has offered the Ministry of Antiquities the sixth and last chariot of the boy king.

In a gala ceremony, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany received the sixth and last chariot of Tutankhamun at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). The others were previously transferred to the GEM’s laboratory centre.

El-Enany said that the chariot was discovered in 1922 in Tutankhamun's tomb. He described the GEM as “a gift” from Egypt to the world. He also thanked the Ministry of Defence for offering the chariot to the GEM and its transport from the Military Museum at Salah Al-Din Citadel to the GEM.

"It is the first time to display the six chariots together since their discovery in 1922," Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online, adding that it took nine years to assemble and restore the chariots upon their discovery. This particular chariot was sent to the Military Museum in 1987.

Eissa Zidan, head of restoration at the GEM, said the chariot was padded with special materials to absorb any vibrations during transportation. State-of-the-art technology and modern scientific techniques were used in order to guarantee the safe lifting and moving of the chariot from its display at the Military Museum.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Back Home, Cyprus: Egypt Restores 14 Smuggled Artifacts

Director of Cyprus' Department of Antiquities, Marina Solomidou,
handed over 14 artifacts to Egypt
CAIRO - 2 May 2018: Director of Cyprus' Department of Antiquities, Marina Solomidou, handed over 14 artifacts to Egypt on Tuesday; the artifacts were stolen and illegally smuggled from Egypt in the late 1980s. 

This came on the sidelines of the initiative entitled “Nostos: Reviving Roots,” which was launched by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and his Cypriot and Greek counterparts in Alexandria on Monday. In this regard, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani expressed his thanks to the Cypriot authorities for their continuous cooperation with Egypt to restore these artifacts. In the same context, Director General of the Retrieved Antiquities Department of the Antiquities Ministry Shaaban Abdel Gawad stated that the process of repatriation began in 2017 when Interpol conversed with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. 

Abdel Gawad revealed that these artifacts date back to the ancient Egyptian era. They were smuggled after the Antiquities Protection Law had been issued in 1983, and arrived in Cyprus in 1986.  He further remarked that the Ministry of Antiquities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and the International Cooperation Office coordinated to send urgent letters to Cyprus, stressing Egypt’s right to retrieve the artifacts, especially considering that the Cypriot law allows for antiquities trafficking. 

Abdel Gawad said that the restored pieces comprise of an alabaster vase decorated with the name of king Ramses II, in addition to 13 ushabti figurines and amulets of different shapes, sizes and materials, including amulets for goddesses Sekhmet, Neith and Isis. Upon invitation from the Cypriot authorities, Abdel Gawad travelled to Cyprus to inspect these pieces, which were kept at the Cypriot antiquities museum in Nicosia. Gawad delivered a lecture highlighting the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Antiquities to restore the smuggled artifacts and to make new archaeological discoveries in Egypt ..... READ MORE. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

News, Luxor: Karnak Temple Will Soon Be Accessible to The Disabled - Egypt's Antiquities Minister at Luxor Ceremony

The southern axis of Karnak, which links it to the Avenue of Sphinxes, is also set to open for the first time. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In recognition of both World Heritage Day and Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali's declaration of 2018 as the year of Egyptians with disabilities, Egypt's Antiquities Ministry on Friday announced that Karnak Temple would soon be accessible to the disabled.

Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany and Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr toured around Karnak Temple and its southern axis in order to examine the latest work at the site. The visit was attend by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, top ministry officials, members of Egypt's Parliament and ambassadors of foreign countries to Cairo.

El-Enany told Ahram Online that special visitors' pathways were created throughout the temple to ease the visits of those with physical disabilities. Special signs for the disabled were also installed. The additions make Karnak Temple the first archaeological site in Egypt to be more friendly to those with special needs. The project was carried out in collaboration with an NGO named Helm (Dream), which advocates on behalf of disabled Egyptians.

El-Enany also inspected ongoing work to link the temple's southern axis with the Avenue of Sphinxes. The southern axis runs north to south and extends from the courtyard of the Karnak cachette in front of the seventh pylon all the way to the 10th pylon. Waziri noted that this is the first opening of the southern axis to tourists.

Mostafa Al-Sagueer, director of the Karnak Temple and the Avenue of Sphinxes development project, said that the project is in full swing in hopes of opening soon. He added that the ministry carried out the project in collaboration with the Engineering Authority of Egypt's armed forces.

Friday, April 27, 2018

News, Luxor: Ramses II Colossus Revealed in Egypt's Luxor After Restoration

The colossus of Ramses II was unveiled at Luxor Temple as part of Ministry of Antiquities celebrations of the World Heritage Day. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Ministry of Antiquities celebrations of World Heritage Day extended to Luxor as Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr inaugurated a new display at Luxor Museum after the transfer of 122 artefacts from the King Tutankhamun collection at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the ministry, said that the new display includes of 186 artefacts that were recently discovered by an Egyptian archaeological mission at Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank. The objects include a collection of ushabti figurines (statuettes), painted mummy masks, anthropoid sarcophagi jewelleries, and a beautifully carved statuette of Isis Nefret, the singer of the god Amun.

El-Enany and Badr then went to Luxor Temple to unveil the colossus of King Ramses II after restoration. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the colossus once adorned the façade of Luxor Temple but collapsed during a destructive earthquake in antiquity.

He continued that the restoration and reconstruction of the colossus took almost six months in collaborate with the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces and Luxor Governorate who provided the restoration material required.

Waziri added that the statue was found broken into 14 blocks of different sizes. The largest two were the head of the statue and the base, representing 40 per cent of the original colossus. The colossus is carved in black granite and weighs 65 tons at a height of 11.7 metres. It depicts Ramses II standing wearing the double crown, his left leg in front of him.

Ahmed Orabi, general director of Luxor Temple, said that the colossus was found during excavation works carried out by Mohamed Abdel Kader in 1958 to 1960, which also uncovered other colossi. 

This colossi is the second to be restored by the Ministry of Antiquities. The first was completed last year. It is carved in black granite, weighs 75 tons and stands at a height of 11 metres. It depicts Ramses II wearing the double crown, his left leg in front of him. Beside him stands a 1.5 metre statue of his wife, Queen Nefertari.

Monday, April 23, 2018

News, Cairo: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities Will Not Remove Historical Pulpits From Mosques

The ministry has denied as unfounded reports that it would remove 55 pulpits from mosques in Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In a statement, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has denied that it will remove 55 historical pulpits from Islamic mosques in Egypt, describing the reported news as unfounded.

Secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri said the ministry has not and will not remove any historical pulpits from Islamic mosques in Egypt. It only transferred the lanterns of Al-Refaie Mosque after seven of them were stolen but recovered three weeks later in January 2017.

It also removed one pulpit of Abu Bakr Mozher Mosque after parts of the metal decorations of its door were stolen a week ago.

Waziri pointed out that in January 2017 the Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities decided to document all artefacts inside Islamic mosques in an attempt to protect and preserve them.

The lanterns of Al-Refaie Mosque were taken to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), scheduled to be partly open by the end of 2018.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

New Discovery, Upper Egypt: Rare Oririan Temple and Marble Head of Marcus Aurelius Unearthed in Luxor and Aswan

Egyptian archaeologists made the surprise discoveries recently at the temples of Karnak and Kom Ombo. Wriiten By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian archaeological missions in Upper Egypt have made two rare discoveries, unearthing a marble head of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Aswan and an unusually positioned Osirian temple in Luxor.

The Luxor discovery was made at the southern side of Karnak Temples’ tenth pylon, with archaeologists revealing architectural elements of a Late Period shrine dedicated for god Osiris-Ptah-Neb.

The well-preserved find consists of an entrance, foundation remains, columns, inner walls and ruins of a third hall located at the eastern side. Paving stones from the shrine floor were also uncovered, along with other extension structures built during a later period.

Essam Nagy, head of the archaeological mission, described the discovery as important because the shrine is not located on the eastern or northern side of the Amun-Re temple in line with the ancient Egyptian belief. Rather, it is on the southern side, pointing to the importance of the Osirian belief at that time.

Also uncovered were a collection of clay pots, remains of statues, and a winged frame relief decorated with offering tables bearing a sheep and a goose. The relief, Nagy said, bears the name of kings Taharka and Tanut Amun, the last ruler of the 25th Dynasty.

In Aswan, meanwhile, an Egyptian mission working to reduce the subterranean water level at Kom Ombo Temple uncovered a marble head of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Aymen Ashmawi, head of the ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the head depicts Emperor Aurelius with wavy hair and beard. He describes the head as "unique", saying that statues of the Roman ruler are rare. The head is now in the archaeological store, awaiting restoration and preservation work.

Monday, April 16, 2018

New, Giza: Luxor Museum's Tut Collection Moved to Grand Egyptian Museum.

A collection of 122 artifacts from the King Tutankhamun collection previously housed at the Luxor Museum was successfully transported to its new home in the Grand Egyptian Museum late Tuesday night. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A gilded bust representing the cow goddess Hathor
The collection includes baskets, boxes, a wooden chair, a bed and a chariot, among other pieces. Among the most treasured, is a gilded head of the goddess Hathor, according to Tarek Tawfik, Supervisor General of the GEM.

A number of other artefacts shed light on funerary ritual practices and daily life during Tutankhamun's roughly ten-year reign.

Eissa Zidan, head of restoration at the GEM, told Ahram Online that all pieces had been restored before transportation and were packed over a period of nine days and according to the latest scientific techniques.

He added that a Japanese team of archaeologists helped the Egyptian team in packing and transporting Tutankhamun's funerary chariot in a specially-designed vehicle to protect against vibrations.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, located on the Giza plateau, is set to open later this year.

Friday, April 13, 2018

News, Giza: Portuguese President de Sousa And Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Tour Giza Pyramids

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany gifted the Portuguese president with a replica of King Khufu's funerary boat. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
El-Enany, De Sousa and Tawfik at the GEM
Accompanied by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and his diplomatic delegation toured the monuments of the Giza plateau and both Egyptian museums on Friday.

At the plateau they visited the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, and the panorama area where El-Enany spoke to President de Sousa and his delegation on the greatness of ancient Egyptian civilization.

De Sousa and the delegation expressed their fondness for Egypt's distinguished heritage and insisted on documenting their visit by taking photos in front of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx.

The group also toured the Grand Egyptian Museum's conservation centre and lab for wooden artifacts which currently houses the recently transferred King Tutankhamun collection.

They also visited the lab for heavy artefacts, which houses the colossi of Kings Amenhotep III and Menkaure, which will soon be displayed in the museum's grand staircase and atrium, respectively.

The Portuguese president and antiquities minister also viewed the royal mummies' hall and the Golden King collection at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. El-Enany gifted de Sousa with a replica of King Khufu’s boat crafted by the replicas unit at the ministry.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Discovery, Cairo: New Discovery in Matariya Shed Light on The Shape of King Psamtek I Colossus

A frieze of falcons found in the temple
The 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's colossus reveal its original size and shape. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian-German excavation mission at Matariya, Heliopolis, uncovered roughly 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's quartzite colossus, parts of which were first discovered last year at the nearby Souq Al-Khamis archaeological site.

Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian antiquities department at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said that these fragments, along with the previously discovered 6,400 pieces, allow researchers to calculate the original size and shape of the colossus, which was deliberately destroyed.

One of the uncovered fragments 
“The new fragments confirm that the colossus once depicted King Psamtek I standing, but it also reveals that his left arm was held in front of the body, an unusual feature. A very carefully carved scene on the back-pillar shows the kneeling king Psamtek I in front of the creator-god Atum of Heliopolis,” Ashmawy told Ahram Online.

He added that the majority of the fragments were found in south of the colossus' pedestal. The temple area was left open, Ashmawy added, probably during the Fatimids Era when the temple walls were dismantled to be reused in several Islamic buildings.

Dietrich Raue, Head of the German mission, explained that excavation work was accompanied by a geomorphological and geophysical survey which revealed many fragments of a quartzite gate belonging to Ramses II and (1279-1213 BCE, 19th Dynasty) and Nektanebo I (379/8–361/0 BCE, 30th Dynasty) near the latter's temple in Matariya.

Raue pointed out that the geophysical survey had indicated a number of areas with a large number of fragments of the former temple. Within the four ruined walls of the temple, he said, some exceptional finds were made.

Among them were a fragmented frieze of falcons, part of a gate of Merenptah (1213-1203 BCE, 19th Dynasty) as well as parts of a colossal Ramesside sphinx carved in red granite.

“It seems evident that Nektanebo I added his building to a major temple built at an earlier date,” Raue told Ahram Online. The archaeologist asserted that excavation work in the area has led to the discovery of new room units from the mid-Ptolemaic era.

Some fragments reveal the known practice of reusing of older pharaonic temple items from previous periods during the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. The work was accompanied by archaeobotanical and archaeozoological studies for the identification of plant and animal remains at the site.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Discovery, Siwa Oasis: Remains of Graeco-Roman Temple Discovered Near Egypt's Siwa Oasis

An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has uncovered the remains of a Graeco-Roman temple while carrying our excavation work at the Al-Salam archaeological site, about 50km east of the Siwa Oasis. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Aymen Ashmawi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the mission uncovered the front part of the temple as well as parts of its foundations, its main entrance and one-metre thick stones from its outer wall. The outer wall leads to a front courtyard with entrances to chambers. 
Ashmawi said he expects the rest of the temple to be excavated this year. The head of the archaeological mission Abdel-Aziz El-Demery said that during the removal of the debris from the site, the mission uncovered architectural elements including upper lintels decorated with scenes, as well as parts of corner pillars decorated with the egg-and-dart architectural device common in the Graeco-Roman era.

El-Demery added that the mission also uncovered the remains of pots, coins, and a statue of a man with Greek facial features, as well as two limestone statues of lions, one of which is headless.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Our Exhibitions Abroad, USA: Under The Spell of Egypt

North America fell under the magic of the Ancient Egyptians this week, with two exhibitions being inaugurated in St Louis and Los Angeles, reports Nevine El-Aref.
St Louis and the City of Angels were seized by Egyptomania this week when the “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World” and “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibitions opened in the cities this week.

The St Louis International Airport, streets, shops, buses and hotels were all plastered with posters of granite colossi of the goddess Isis, the Nile god Hapi, Ptolemaic royal figures and the head of Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Julius Caesar, half buried in the seabed, for the Egypt’s Lost World exhibition.

Others showed divers coming face-to-face with monuments beneath the waves decorating sections of the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) façade, while a large 3D photograph of one of Napoleon’s sunken vessels dominated the main wall of the museum’s central courtyard and connecting the six grand galleries of the exhibition. St Louis, it felt, had come under the spell of the Ancient Egyptian sunken treasures.

The exhibition displays 293 objects excavated from beneath the Mediterranean. It was inaugurated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and SLAM Director Brent Benjamin in the presence of Egyptian MPs Osama Heikal, head of the Culture, Antiquities and Media Committee, and Sahar Talaat Mustafa, head of the Tourism and Aviation Committee.

Enormous care had been taken in recreating the Alexandrian theme.

The different galleries of the exhibition had been designed to resemble the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, and all the galleries were painted light blue and dark sandy-red to reflect the colours of the sea and sand.

Giant plasma screens showed films documenting the progress of marine archaeologists as they uncovered the mysteries of Alexandria’s ancient Eastern Harbour within the display theme.

A prologue and an epilogue provided information about the underwater missions of the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM) that discovered the treasures and the natural disasters that had led to the submergence of the area more than 1,000 years ago.

Benjamin had no doubt about the block-busting nature of the show in a city that already boasts one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian antiquities. “The first exhibition of these Egyptian treasures is one of the cultural highlights of 2018.

This exhibition will attract and enthrall St Louis inhabitants as well as their neighbours,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that he expected one million people to visit the exhibition during its six-month duration.

The museum has permitted only 200 visitors per hour in order to protect the monuments and provide people with a positive experience. “This week, for example, we succeeded in selling 1,000 tickets in only one day,” Benjamin said.

He described the exhibition as “very important for American audiences as it combines both archaeology and underwater aspects at one time. We grew up watching the TV specials of [French diver] Jacques Cousteau, and here they are combined together which makes the exhibition more compelling to Americans,” Benjamin told the Weekly.

He said the exhibition was a good opportunity for those who had not had the chance to visit Egypt, as it gave them an idea of Egypt’s great civilisation. It also encouraged others to visit Egypt. “As the minister said, these exhibitions are good ambassadors of Egypt,” Benjamin said.

Frank Goddio, head of the IEASM and leader of the underwater archaeological missions that recovered the artefacts, said the exhibition was an ideal opportunity to encourage people to visit Egypt and to explore its art and culture.

He told the Weekly that the aim of sending the exhibition to the United States was to open the new discoveries to the widest public and to encourage visitors from the United States.

He explained that the interior design of the exhibition was totally different from earlier outings in Paris and London. It had a different sonography focusing more on museological techniques and history than on a spectacular ambience, he said... READ MORE.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

News: Once Overlooked, 2,500-Year Old Coffin May Offer Clues Into Ancient Egypt

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian academics could help unlock mysteries around ancient Egypt after discovering that a 2,500-year old coffin might contain the remains of a prestigious mummy.

The University of Sydney acquired the coffin 150 years ago and a series of academics incorrectly classified it as empty. Their error was only discovered by chance late last year when more recent academics removed the lid to the coffin and discovered the tattered remains of a mummy. The discovery offers scientists an almost unique opportunity to test the cadaver.

"We can start asking some intimate questions that those bones will hold around pathology, about diet, about diseases, about the lifestyle of that person - how they lived and died," said Jamie Fraser, senior curator at the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney. Whole mummies are typically left intact, limiting their scientific benefits. Adding to the potential rewards is the possibility that the remains are those of a distinguished woman of an age where little is known, Fraser said.

Hieroglyphs show the original occupant of the coffin was a female called Mer-Neith-it-es, who academics believe was a high priestess in 600 BC, the last time Egypt was ruled by native Egyptians.

"We know from the hieroglyphs that Mer-Neith-it-es worked in the Temple of Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess," Fraser said. "There are some clues in hieroglyphs and the way the mummification has been done and the style of the coffin that tell us about how this Temple of Sekhmet may have worked."

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.