Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Discovery, Aswan: New Discoveries in Gebal El-Silsila Including Child Burials, Small Artemis Statue

Four intact child burials, a cemetery and a headless statue of Greek goddess Artemis have been discovered by different missions. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

There have been a series of antiquities discoveries in Aswan in the last few weeks, officials have said. The Swedish-Egyptian mission working in the Gebal El-Silsila area has uncovered four intact burials of children, while the Austrian mission at Kom Ombo’s archaeological hill discovered a large segment of a First Intermediate Period cemetery, and the Egyptian-Swiss mission working in the old town of Aswan has unearthed a small incomplete statue that probably depicts Greek goddess Artemis.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the four child burials date to the 18th dynasty (549/1550 BC to 1292 BC.). They consist of a rock-hewn grave for a child between two and three years old; the mummy still retains its linen wrapping and is surrounded with organic material from the remains of the wooden coffin.

The second burial, he went on, belongs to another child aged between six and nine years old, who was buried inside a wooden coffin, while the third burial is of a child between five and eight. Both of these graves contain funerary furniture, including amulets and a set of pottery. The fourth burial is also of a child between the age of five and eight.

“The new burial discoveries are shedding more light on the burial customs used in the Thutmosid period as well as the social, economic and religious life of people during that period,” Maria Nilsson, head of the Swedish mission said, adding that the mission has succeed during its previous excavation works to uncover many burials but the newly discovered ones have a special significance.

More excavations and studies on the site will reveal more about the death rituals conducted in this site during the period, she said. The Egyptian-Austrian archaeological mission in Kom Ombo led by Irene Foster uncovered a part of a cemetery from the First Intermediate Period, with a number of mud-brick tombs. Numerous pottery vessels and grave goods were unearthed.

Foster explains that the preliminary study revealed that it is mostly built on top of an earlier cemetery. Below the cemetery, Foster told Ahram Online, the mission has uncovered remains of an Old Kingdom town with a ceiling impression of King Sahure from the 5th Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BC). In the ancient town of Aswan, the Egyptian-Swiss mission, headed by Egyptologist Wolfgang Muller, unearthed a statue of a woman that was missing its head, feet and right hand.

Abdel Moneim Saeed, general director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, said that the statue is carved from limestone and measures 14cm by 9cm in width and the thickness of its bust is 3cm and the lower part is 7cm.

A preliminary study on the statue reveals that the dress she wears is similar to that of Artemis, Greek goddess of hunting, procreation, virginity and fertility, combined with the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Bastet.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Short Story: Princess Tomb

The recent discovery of the tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess from the Fifth Dynasty has opened a new chapter in the saga of the Abusir necropolis, says Nevine El-Aref.

An archaeological mission from the Czech Institute of Egyptology at the Charles University in Prague, who is carrying out routine excavations on the north side of the Abusir necropolis, 30km south of the Giza Plateau, has been taken by surprise with the discovery of an important rock-hewn tomb.

The tomb belonged to a Fifth-Dynasty princess named Sheretnebty, and alongside it were four tombs belonging to high–ranking officials. An era enclosed within a courtyard. The tombs had been robbed in antiquity and no mummies were found inside them.

According to the Czech mission’s archaeological report, a copy of which has been given to Al-Ahram Weekly, traces of the courtyard were first detected in 2010 while archaeologists were investigating a neighbouring mastaba (bench tomb). However, active exploration of the royal tomb was not undertaken until this year, when it was discovered that the ancient Egyptian builders used a natural depression in the bedrock to dig a four-metre-deep tomb almost hidden amidst the mastaba tombs constructed around it on higher ground. Four rock-hewn tombs were also unearthed within the courtyard surrounding the royal tomb.

The north and west walls of the princess’s tomb were cased with limestone blocks, while its south wall was cut in the bedrock. The east wall was also carved in limestone, along with the staircase and slabs descending from north to south. The courtyard of the tomb has four limestone pillars which originally supported architraves and roofing blocks. On the tomb’s south side are four pillars engraved with hieroglyphic inscriptions stating: “The king’s daughter of his body, his beloved, revered in front of the great god, Sheretnebty.”

Miroslav Barta, head of the Czech mission, says early investigations have revealed that the owner of the tomb was previously unknown, but that it most probably belonged to the family of a Fifth-Dynasty king. The preliminary date of the structure, based on the stratigraphy of the site and analysis of the name, Barta says, falls in the second half of the Fifth Dynasty. It is surprising that the tomb should not be located in Abusir south, among the tombs of non-royal officials, considering that most members of the Fifth-Dynasty royal family are buried 2km north of Abusir pyramid.

While digging inside Sheretnebty’s tomb, the Czech archaeologists found a corridor that contains the entrances to four rock-hewn tombs of top officials of the Fifth Dynasty. Barta says two tombs have been completely explored so far. The first belonged to the chief of justice of the great house, Shepespuptah, and the second to Duaptah, the inspector of the palace attendants. Both tombs probably date from the reign of King Djedkare Isesi.

The remaining two are still under excavation, but early investigation reveal that one belonged to the overseer of the scribes of the crews, Nefer, whose false door is still in situ. This tomb has a hidden tunnel in which excavators have unearthed three statues of the owner, one showing the deceased as a scribe…READ MORE. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

News, Giza: The Ancient Gate Arrived to The Museum Overlooking Giza Plateau

The ancient gate of King Amenemhat I transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) from its original location to join other artefacts in preparation for the new museum's scheduled opening next year. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Tarek Tawfik, supervisor-general of the GEM, told Al-Ahram Online Wednesday that the gate would be put on display at the museum’s grand staircase along with the colossus of King Ramses II and other gigantic monuments.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the gate was carved from red granite and engraved with hieroglyphic inscriptions, among them the official cartouche of King Amenemhat I and his different titles. The gate was uncovered by an Austrian mission in the Ezbet Helmi area of Tel Al-Dabaa in Egypt's Nile Delta. It weighs six tonnes and is supported by a vertical stone lintel which is inscribed with hieroglyphic text.

Eissa Zidan, the director of first-aid restoration at the GEM, said that prior to the move, the gate was subjected to essential restoration work, using scientific methods to pack and transport the items. He said the artefact would undergo further restoration at the GEM.

King Amenemhat I reigned from 1991 – 1962 BC and was the first ruler of ancient Egypt's Twelfth Dynasty which is considered by scholars to be the golden age of the Middle Kingdom.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Two Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom-Era Tombs Opened at Luxor Necropolis

Two tombs of unidentified officials dated to Egypt’s New Kingdom era have been opened at Luxor’s Draa Abul-Naglaa necropolis years after they were initially discovered by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s. Written By / Nevine El-Aref.
The opening of the tombs was announced at an international conference attended by the governor of Luxor, the minister of social solidarity, the director-general of the International Monetary Fund, members of the international media, foreign ambassadors, members of parliament, and Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany.

“It is a very important discovery because both tombs contain very rich funerary collections, and one of them has a very distinguished painted statue of a lady in the Osirian shape,” El-Enany said, adding that 2017 has been a “year of discoveries,” with this most recent discovery being the third Draa Abul-Naga alone.

“It seems that our ancient Egyptian ancestors are bestowing their blessing on Egypt’s economy as these discoveries are good promotion for the country and its tourism industry,” El-Enany told Ahram Online. Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and head of the Egyptian excavation mission, explains that both tombs were given special numbers by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s.

The first tomb, named “Kampp 161,” was never excavated, while excavation work on the second, “Kampp 150,” was undertaken by archaeologist Kampp short of entering the tomb itself.

The tombs had been left untouched until excavation started during the recent archaeological season. Most of the items discovered in Kampala 161 are fragments of wooden coffins. The most notable discoveries are a large wooden mask that was originally a part of a coffin, a small painted wooden mask, a fragment of a gilded wooden mask in poor condition, four legs of wooden chairs that were among the deceased’s funerary equipment, as well as the lower part of a wooden Osirian shaped coffin decorated with a scene of goddess Isis lifting up her hands.

“The owner of Kampp 150 is not yet known, but there are two possible candidates,” Waziri told Ahram Online. He said that the first possibility is that the tomb belongs to a person named Djehuty Mes, as this name is engraved on one of the walls. The second possibility is that the owner could be the scribe “Maati,” as his name and the name of his wife “Mehi” are inscribed on 50 funerary cones found in the tomb’s rectangular chamber.

The tomb has only one inscription on one of its northern pillars. It shows a scene with a seated man offering food to four oxen, with the first kneeling in front of the man, who is giving it herbs. The scene also depicts five people making funerary furniture. The entrance of the long hall is inscribed with hieroglyphic text with the name of “Djehuty Mes.” The ceiling of the chamber is inscribed with hieroglyphic inscriptions and the cartouche of King Thutmose I.

The objects uncovered inside include 100 funerary cones, painted wooden masks, a collection of 450 statues carved in different materials such as clay, wood and faience, and a small box in the shape of a wooden coffin with a lid. The box was probably used for storing an Ushabti figurine 17 cm tall and 6 cm large.

Also found was a collection of clay vessels of different shapes and sizes as well as a mummy wrapped in linen with its hands on its chest in the Osirian form. Studies suggest that the mummy, which was found inside the long chamber, could be of a top official or another powerful person.

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Egyptian Antiquities Minister to Announce Newly Discovered Mummy Mask Saturday

Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany is set to formally announce the discovery of two tombs at Draa Abul Naga in Luxor on Saturday, one bearing a painted wall.

According to a source who requested anonymity, the tombs belong to two top officials from the New Kingdom (16th to 11th centuries BC); the mummy mask of one of the deceased was also discovered.

In September the minister as announced the discovery of the tomb of god Amun-Re’s goldsmith in Draa Abul Naga.

The tomb had a rich funerary collection and a large number of ushabti funerary figurines, gilded coffins, mummies wrapped in linen and funerary mask and cones were unearthed.
  • More about tombs of Dra Abu El-Naga CLICK HERE
  • All related posts about the city of Luxor CLICK HERE

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New Discovery, Cairo: Restoration of Cairo's Al-Imam Al-Shafie Dome Leads to New Archaeological Discovery

Ongoing efforts to conserve the dome of the Al-Imam Al-Shafie mosque in Old Cairo have uncovered sections of an intact lower wall forming part of an earlier shrine this week. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The previous shrine consisted of an open courtyard with three prayer niches attached to a domed hall. Also uncovered were decorated carved stucco features, coloured marble, stone flooring and fragments of a masonry dome.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Anany and the US Charge d’Affaires in Cairo Thomas H. Goldberger, along with top officials from the Egyptian ministry, embarked on Monday on a tour to inspect the latest conservation work on the dome and the excavations of the earlier shrine.

“This building pre-dates the current shrine of Al-Imam Al-Shafie, which was built by the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamil in the year 1211 AD and was built after Al-Imam Al-Shafie was buried there in 820 AD,” Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Director-General of Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project told Ahram Online. 

He added that the newly uncovered shrine is a significant addition to our understanding of the history of Islamic architecture and history in Egypt.

May Al-Ebrashi, Head of Athar Lina initiative, said that the excavations are part of a conservation project funded by the US Department of State’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation under the supervision of the Ministry of Antiquities.

The excavations fall within the work of Athar Lina, a national initiative to conserve Egypt’s heritage for the benefit of the community.

The project, she continued, began in March 2016 to resolve structural problems in the mosque's masonry walls and floors, as well as leaking roofs and the disintegration of decorative elements, most notably the decorated stucco exterior, carved and painted wood and coloured marble cladding.

The completed work so far has included extensive documentation, as well as physical crack repair in masonry walls, soil infill to correct subsidence (the sinking of soil under a structure), repair and insulation of wooden roofs and ceilings, repair of marble cladding, and the cleaning and restoration of decorative stucco facets.

Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafie was the founder of the Shafie madhab, one of the four major jurisprudential schools of Sunni Islam. A proponent of rational thought who is credited by some today as the originator of the scientific method, Al-Shafie dedicated his life to developing a comprehensive theory of jurisprudence that earned him the title the "Sea of Knowledge." He was also a great poet who wrote simply yet eloquently about the value of travel, learning and contemplation.

Historic sources mention that when he died, he was buried in the mausoleum of Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam, an Arab tribe that came to Egypt with the Islamic conquest in the 7th century AD and settled there, becoming one of its most prominent families.

Monday, December 4, 2017

News: Egypt eVisa Now Available for 46 Nationalities.

Visitors from the U.S., Canada or Australia will have to apply for an electronic travel authorization before they arrive in Egypt.
Egypt has officially launched an Electronic Travel Authorization for foreign visitors to travel to the country. Nationals from 46 eligible countries such as Canada, U.S., Australia, and the EU are expected to register online to obtain an Egypt eVisa before traveling to the country.

The Egypt electronic visa has been designed and established by the Egyptian government to simplify visa processes, improve border control and increase security. The Egypt tourist and business visa can be acquired by completing an online form utilizing specific requirements. The applicants for the Egypt eVisa must be nationals from an eligible country and have a passport with a validity of six months from the arrival date.

The travelers interested in traveling to Egypt for tourism or business can apply online with a current email address and a credit or debit card. The applicant cannot submit the application form unless payment for the Egypt eVisa fee has been made. The requirements for the Egypt eVisa are straightforward. The applicant should complete the online form by filling all the questions with an asterisk and must include personal details such as name, date of birth and their travel document info. All information provided must correspond to the identity document. False or incomplete details could result in a visa denial.

All applicants are expected to provide a 2x2 inch passport-style photo with high resolution and a white background. It should be noted that business travelers are expected to include a company business letter explaining the purpose of the trip and the relationship of the applicant to the employer or company.

Those travelers who will pass Egypt in transit but will leave the airport or stay for more than 24 hours must also register for an Egypt tourist visa. On occasion, an applicant might be expected to prove financial solvency or a return or onward ticket. On specific cases, an applicant might have to scan his or her passport biometric page. Some additional information could be requested by the Egyptian authorities.

Travelers of eligible countries must have an approved Egypt eVisa upon arrival. It is worth noting that having an electronic visa for Egypt does not automatically grant a traveler entry to the country. Visitors will always be subject to inspection and the Egyptian authorities reserve the right to deny access to any eVisa holder.

Earlier in March, Minister Yasser al-Qady said that the new electronic travel authorization would alleviate the responsibility of security authorities and tourists alike. The Egypt eVisa embraces technology. The visa-on-arrival system and the embassy visas will become obsolete.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Statues of Ancient Egyptian Lioness Deity Sekhmet Uncovered in Luxor

A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the goddess Sekhmet has been unearthed at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple on Luxor’s west bank. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet has been uncovered during excavation work at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple at the Kom El-Hettan area on Luxor’s west bank. 

The discovery was made by an Egyptian-European archaeological mission led by archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian as part of the King Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the black-granite statues have a maximum height of about two metres. Some statues depict Sekhmet sitting on a throne, holding the symbol of life in her left hand, while others show her standing and holding a papyrus sceptre before her chest. The head of Sekhmet is crowned with a sun-disk, while a uraeus adorns her forehead.

Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the discovery includes many almost complete statues with only the feet and base missing. Those statues that were not buried so deep in the ground are in a good state of preservation, he said. 

Others that were found at deeper levels are in a bad condition due to subterranean water and salt, which damaged the surface.

“The sculptures are of a high artistic quality and of the greatest archaeological interest,” Sourouzian said. He said the importance and quality of the statues explains why they survived a period of extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake had toppled the walls and the columns of the temple in 1200 B.C.

Sourouzian pointed out that the statues are now in restoration. They will be cleaned and desalinated, as they were lying in a layer of mud and crushed sandstone.

All statues of the goddess will be placed back in their original setting when the site protection project is completed.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, pointed to the collaboration between the European mission and the ministry to ensure ongoing excavation work and the completion of the Amenhotep III Temple protect. 

The mission began excavation work in 1998, and about 287 statues of Sekhmet have been unearthed since then.

The King Amenhotep III temple is the largest of its kind. It was once a magnificent structure with an unprecedented number of royal and divine statues, among them hundreds of statues of Sekhmet. 

Sekhment, whose name means "Powerful One", is one of three figures in the Triad of Memphis sculpture, which also features Ptah and Ramses III.

Monday, November 27, 2017

News, Giza: Foreign Diplomats Tour Grand Egyptian Museum Site Ahead of 2018 Opening

The 150-strong delegation from the Egyptian Diplomatic Club was given a presentation on the GEM's construction history and a preview of the planned displays, including the complete treasures of Tutankhamun. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A delegation of foreign diplomats visited the site of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on Sunday, inspecting the ongoing construction work in an effort raise the project's profile ahead of its opening in 2018. The 150 diplomats from the Egyptian Diplomatic Club were given a guided tour of the site overlooking the Giza Plateau, including the conservation and research center and the main building, which is still being built.

Tarek Tawfik, supervisor general of the GEM, told Ahram Online that the delegation consisted of foreign ambassadors, cultural counsellors in Egypt and Egyptian diplomats. They began their visit with a minute's silence to mourn the victims of Friday's terrorist attack at Al-Rawda Mosque in North Sinai. The delegation was provided with a presentation on the GEM's construction, which started in the early 2000s, as well as the Ministry of Antiquities' plan to open the museum in 2018. 

Tawfik said the world is awaiting the opening of the GEM, which will display the complete collection of King Tutankhamun's treasures for the first time since his tomb was discovered in 1922. The treasures are currently stored in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The GEM project is intended to provide a modern and spacious venue for the display of Egypt's antiquities, many of which are stored at the museum in Tahrir Square.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Short Story: New Gold of Tutankhamun

Gold appliqué sheets from Tutankhamun’s chariot were put on display at the Egyptian Museum this week, revealing the technology used to decorate ancient Egyptian vehicles, writes Nevine El-Aref .

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was buzzing with visitors this week who had flocked to the institution’s second floor to catch a glimpse of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s unseen treasures.  Glittering against black backgrounds inside glass showcases, a collection of gold appliqué sheets that once decorated the boy-king’s chariot had been put on display for the first time 95 years after its discovery.

When British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, he stumbled upon a collection of decorative gold sheets scattered on the floor of the treasury room near the chariot. Due to its poor conservation, Carter put the collection in a wooden box that has remained in the depths of the museum’s storage rooms ever since.

In 2014, a joint project by the Egyptian Museum, the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, the University of Tübingen and the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz carried out an archaeological and iconographic analysis of this important but largely ignored collection supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a research body, and the German foreign office. It is this collection that has now been placed on display.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the exhibition as “special and important” because it not only highlights a very significant subject but also celebrates the 60th anniversary of the reopening of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo after its closure in 1939 due to World War II.

“The exhibition is a good opportunity for the public to admire for the first time one of the golden king’s unseen treasures,” El-Enany said, adding that several artifacts from Tutankhamun’s treasured collection were still hidden in the Egyptian Museum. “This will not last long,” El-Enany promised, saying that all the boy-king’s unseen and non-exhibited artefacts would be transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau after its soft opening at the end of 2018.

Director of the German Archaeological Institute Stephan Seidlmayer said that studies carried out on the appliqués had revealed that they once adorned the horse-trapping, bow-cases and sheaths of weapons associated with Tutankhamun’s chariot. They exhibited unusual stately and playful designs, combining ancient Egyptian patterns with Levantine motifs, he said.

“They attest to the large network of social and cultural interconnections which has characterised the eastern Mediterranean from antiquity to the present time,” Seidlmayer said. He added that scientific analyses using the latest technology had revealed the sophisticated composition of the artifacts which rank among the highest products of ancient craftsmanship.

They reflect the wide-ranging trade network which incorporated the nearer and farther regions of the Near East and the Mediterranean that extended into parts of Middle and Western Europe. Raw materials, food products, and luxury goods were traded along different routes by land and sea.READ MORE.        

Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Discovery, Aswan: Hellenic-Era Block, New Kingdom Axes Discovered in Egypt's Aswan

During excavation work at the north-eastern area of Aswan's Komombo temple as part of a project to decrease subterranean water, an Egyptian mission from the Ministry of Antiquities has recently discovered a Hellenic-era limestone block engraved with hieroglyphic inscriptions. Writen By/ Nevine El-Aref .

A carpentry workshop was also discovered by a German-Swiss mission led by Cornelious von Pilgrim on Aswan's Elephantine Island in Aswan, where two New Kingdom-era axes were found. 

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explains that preliminary studies carried out on the block reveal that it dates back to the era of Macedonian King Philip III Arrhidaeus, the step brother of Alexander the Great, who succeeded his brother to the throne. The block is 83cm tall, 55cm wide and 32cm thick. The inscription shows the cartouche of King Philip III and a prayer to the crocodile god Sobek of Komombo. The upper part of the block depicts the goddess Nekhbet and its lower part bears an image of King Philip wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt.

The two most notable artefacts found at the workshop on Elephantine Island are axes made of bronze or copper. The axes were found in a small pit in one of the uppermost floors of the structure. The artefacts have been dated to the reign of either Thutmosis III or during the early rule of Amenhotep II.

One of the axes, which was most likely used as a construction tool, is symmetrical with elongated lugs; this type of axe started to appear in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. The axe, which is heavily corroded and cracked, is similar to a type of splayed axe with straight sides that became common at the time of the 18th Dynasty.

The second axe is clearly of foreign, likely Syrian, origin, and is the first of its kind to be found in Egypt. The axe head has a hole where it can be mounted on a shaft; a technology that was never adopted by Egyptian manufacturers.

“The axe has four spikes on the opposite sides of the blade, which corresponds to the Nackenkammäxten type of axe, which has only been known to originate from the northern Levant and Syria,” Von Pilgrim told Ahram Online.

Von Pilgrim added that two almost identical pieces have been found at a sanctuary of stratum VIII in Beth Shan (North Palestine) and in a tomb in Ugarit (Syria). However, the Levantine pieces are dated slightly later than the artifacts from Egypt, which could possibly be explained by the longevity of such precious weapons or tools and their eventual depositing in sacral and funeral contexts. Von Pilgrim added the axe from Elephantine is the earliest example of such an axe ever found, adding that it is safe to assume that it was used as a construction tool on Elephantine.

The Syrian axe, however, may have found its way into Egypt during the direct contacts, or conflicts, between Egypt and Mitanni during this period. The discovery of this Syrian axe in Elephantine could add to the study of contact between Egypt and Mitanni, the North African nation's rival in Syria during the Thutmoside period.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

News, Alexandria: Roman Shipwrecks Among Latest Seafloor Discoveries Near Alexandria

Three Roman shipwrecks and an ancient Egyptian votive bark to the god Osiris were discovered earlier this week on the Mediterranean seabed near the Egyptian city of Alexandria, along with a collection of smaller Artifacts. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The finds were discovered during underwater excavations carried out by a joint mission from the Ministry of Antiqiuties' Underwater Archaeology Department and the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology in Abu Qir Bay and Alexandria's eastern harbour.

Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the mission also uncovered a crystal Roman head probably depicting the Roman army commander Marc Antony and gold coins from the reign of Emperor Augustus.

Osama Al-Nahas, head of the Underwater Archeology Department at the ministry, explained that the eastern harbour still hides many treasures, and that evidence suggests a fourth shipwreck could yet be identified during the mission's next archaeological season in 2018.

The evidence, he told the Ahram Online, consists of large wooden beams and remains of pottery vessels, which may have been the cargo of a fourth ship.

In September the mission began its archaeological survey of the sunken city of Heraclion, which is located under Abu Qir Bay. The mission has also continued the restoration of those objects recovered from the seafloor during their previous archaeological seasons.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Back Home, Cyprus: 14 Ancient Egyptian Artifacts Including Amulets, Vase, to Be Returned From Cyprus - Ministry

The objects include an alabaster vase inscribed with King Ramses II's cartouche, and 13 amulets of different shapes, sizes and materials. Written By / Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian embassy in Cyprus is set to receive a collection of 14 artefacts that have been stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country within a matter of days, an Egyptian antiquities official has said.

The objects include an alabaster vase inscribed with King Ramses II's cartouche, and 13 amulets of different shapes, sizes and materials. The subjects include the goddesses Sekhmet, Neith, Isis, and the Udjat and Djed symbols. Ushabti figurines are also among the collection.

Shaaban Abdel Gawad, director-general of the Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the retrieval of these objects started last year when Interpol reported that it had seized a collection of stolen ancient Egyptian artefacts in Nicosia.

The Repatriation Department, he said, carried out its own investigations and discovered that the seized objects were illegally smuggled out of the country after the passing of the Antiquities Law in 1983 and arrived in Cyprus in 1986, which means Egypt has a right of recovery.

In collaboration with Egypt's ministries of foreign affairs, justice and international cooperation, said Abdel Gawad, Cyprus has approved Egypt's right to retrieve the artifacts and they will be returned shortly.
To Read All Back Home Antiquities Posts Click Here 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Discovery, Fayoum: Mummy Discovered at Fayoum's Deir Al-Banat

Mummy discovered at Fayoum's Deir Al-Banat & The sarcophagus
During excavation work carried out at the Deir Al-Banat (Al-Banat Monastery) archaeological site in Fayoum, an Egyptian-Russian mission from the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies discovered a wooden Graeco-Roman sarcophagus with a mummy inside. Written By Nevine El-Aref.

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the sarcophagus is in poor condition, with cracks all over its lid and base. The mummy, however, is well-preserved.

He explains that the mummy is wrapped in linen and has a blue and gold cartonnage mask. The mask is decorated with scenes depicting the sky deity Kheibir, while the mummy's chest is decorated with the face of the goddess Isis. The legs have an image of a white sabot.

Mohamed Abdel-Latif, head of the antiquities ministry’s Coptic and Islamic Antiquities Department, said that the sarcophagus and the mummy underwent conservation work at the site before they were transferred to Fayoum for restoration. 

Abdel-Latif said that Deir Al-Banat is known for its Islamic and Coptic antiquities, with its Graeco-Roman necropolis and early Coptic churches and cemeteries.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

News: Ancient Egyptian Tomb Resurrected Using 3D Printer 2,000 Miles Away in Switzerland

Archaeologists and artists working to create perfect copy of one ancient world's greatest wonders

         Facsimiles of two chambers of Pharaoh Seti's tomb are on display Ruedi 
Habegger,  Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig
An Ancient Egyptian tomb has been resurrected using a 3D printer - 2,000 miles away in Switzerland. A team of archaeologists and artists is working to create a perfect copy of the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I, one of the largest and most elaborate in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. 

The eventual aim of the five-year project is to install the facsimile on a site close to the original, near Luxor.

For now, the two first two chambers have been reproduced and gone on display at a museum in Basel. The Scanning Seti exhibition at the Swiss city's Antikenmuseum contains an exact copy of the pharoah's 3,300-year-old royal sarcophagus, in rooms adorned with intricate etchings and paintings. 
It was created by Factum Foundation, a specialist art company which has previously worked on a facsimile of facsimile of Tutankhamen's tomb.

The team created a copy of Seti I's sarcophagus based on the 
original at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London
Founder Adam Lowe told CNN Seti's tomb was "the most important library of Pharaonic religion, philosophy, art, poetry and science" in existence. His team used state-of-the-art 3D scanning and printing technology, as well as photogrammetry - the science of taking measurements from photographs - to resurrect the chambers. 

They conducted a 3D survey of the walls of the original tomb and worked from fragments removed from Seti's burial chamber in the 19th century, now displayed in museums including the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

They also studied watercolors created by Giovanni Belzoni, a former circus strongman who discovered the tomb in 1817 more than 3,000 years after Seti's death. 

Belzoni found the tomb in immaculate condition, but years of improperly conducted excavations, looting, and tourism have since taken their toll.  Mr. Lowe said facsimiles had an important role to play in the future of tourism and conversation.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

News, Giza: Exploring Egypt's Great Pyramid From The Inside, Virtually

A team of scientists who last week announced the discovery of a large void inside the Great Pyramid of Giza have created a virtual-reality tour that allows users to 'teleport' themselves inside the structure and explore its architecture.
Using 3D technology, the Scan Pyramids Project allows visitors wearing headsets to take a guided tour inside the Grand Gallery, the Queen's Chamber and other ancient rooms not normally accessible to the public, without leaving Paris. "Thanks to this technique, we make it possible to teleport ourselves to Egypt, inside the pyramid, as a group and with a guide," said Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of Scan Pyramids, which on Nov. 2 announced the discovery of a mysterious space inside the depths of the Pyramid.

The void itself is visible on the tour, appearing like a dotted cloud. "What is new in the world of virtual reality is that from now on you are not isolated but there are several of us, you're in a group, you can take a tour with your family. And you can access places which you usually can't in the real pyramid."

While partly designed as a fun experience, the "collaborative immersion" project allows researchers to improve the technologies they used to detect the pyramid void and think about what purpose it may have served. The pyramid, built in around 2,500 BC and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was a monumental tomb soaring to a height of 479 feet (146 metres). Until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, the Great Pyramid stood as the tallest manmade structure for more than 4,000 years.

While there are passage ways into it and chambers in various parts, much of the internal structure had remained a mystery until a team from France's HIP Institute used an imaging method based on cosmic rays to gain a view inside. So-called muon particles, which originate from interactions with rays from space and atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere, are able to penetrate hundreds of metres through stone before being absorbed. That allows for mapping inside stone structures.

"Muon tomography has really improved a lot due to its use on the pyramid and we think that muography will have other applications in other fields," said Tayoubi. "But we also wanted to innovate and imagine devices to allow the wider public to understand what this pyramid is, understand it from within." When looking through their 3D goggles, visitors can see the enormous stones of the pyramid as if they were real, and walk virtually along its corridors, chambers and hidden spaces. As they approach the pyramid from the outside, the tour even includes audio of Cairo's deafening and ever-present traffic.