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.
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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.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

New Discovery, Fayom: First Hellenistic Gymnasium in Egypt Discovered at Watfa Village in Fayoum

The gymnasium was used during the Ptolemaic period for training young Greek-speaking men in sports, literacy and philosophy. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A part of the gymnasium 
A German-Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered the first Hellenistic gymnasium ever found in Egypt, located at Medinat Watfa, in the northwest of Fayoum Oasis. The mission from the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), headed by Professor Cornelia Römer, made the discovery as part of its ongoing excavations at the Watfa site.

Watfa is the location of the ancient village Philoteris, founded by king Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BCE and named after his second sister Philotera. Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the gymnasium included a large meeting hall, once adorned with statues, a dining hall and a courtyard in the main building.

There is also a racetrack of nearly 200 metres in length, long enough for the typical stadium-length races of 180 metres. Generous gardens surrounded the building, completing the ideal layout for a centre of Greek learning.

A part of the gymnasium 
Römer explains that gymnasia were privately founded by rich people who wanted their villages to become even more Greek in aspect. There, she continued, the young men of the Greek speaking upper-class were trained in sports, learned to read and write, and to enjoy philosophical discussions.

All big cities of the Hellenistic world, like Athens in Greece, Pergamon and Miletus in Asia Minor, and Pompei in Italy, had such gymnasia. “The gymnasia in the Egyptian countryside were built after their pattern. Although much smaller, the gymnasium of Watfa clearly shows the impact of Greek life in Egypt, not only in Alexandria, but also in the countryside," Römer said.

Alexander the Great, she pointed out, had made Egypt part of the Hellenistic world, and thousands of Greek-speaking settlers flocked to the land by the Nile, attracted by the new Ptolemaic empire, which promised prosperity and peace.

In the Delta and Fayoum in particular, new villages were founded, in which the indigenous population lived together with the Greek newcomers. Such villages were equipped not only with Egyptian temples, but also with Greek sanctuaries.
There were also public baths, an institution very popular in the Greek world. The baths soon became places of social encounter in the villages and meeting points for the Egyptian and Greek-speaking inhabitants.

Gymnasia as places of Greek culture and lifestyle were part of this Hellenistic cultural setting. Inscriptions and papyri had already witnessed the existence of gymnasia in the countryside of the Ptolemaic period. They tell of payments for parts of the main buildings being made by rich inhabitants of the villages, and of the men who governed the institutions.

At Watfa, the first building of this kind in Egypt has now been discovered. Watfa, ancient Philoteris, was one of the many villages founded under the first Ptolemies in the middle of the 3rd century BC. In the beginning, it had around 1,200 inhabitants, two thirds of them Egyptians, and one third Greek-speaking settlers.

The German Archaeological Institute has been conducting surveys and excavations at Watfa since 2010. One important aspect of the project‘s work is teaching Egyptian students, in cooperation with a teaching program at Ain Shams University, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Monday, November 6, 2017

Back Home, Emirates: Sharjah Hands Back 400 Ancient Artifacts Smuggled Out of Egypt

The objects, from the Islamic and Pharaonic eras, are currently being examined at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Part of the recovered collection 
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has received a collection of 400 stolen and illegally smuggled artifacts returned to Egypt by the government of Sharjah.

The collection of Egyptian artifacts was seized by the Sharjah police in the United Arab Emirates and sent back to Cairo upon the order of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

According to a ministry statement, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany "appreciates the initiative launched by his highness Sheikh Al-Qasimi and the UAE authorities, which highlights his support for culture and preserving Egyptian heritage, a matter that reflects the strong and good relationship between the two countries."

El-Enany added that, once the artifacts have been unpacked and documented, they will be put on display in a special exhibition at the ministry.

Shaaban Abdel Gawad, director-general of the ministry's Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the objects are very valuable, most of them dating back to the Pharaonic period and some belonging to the Islamic era.

He said they include the following: a collection of painted false doors carved in stone; copper statuettes of ancient Egyptian deities such as Isis and Osiris; a collection of amulets made of faience; and udjat eyes made of copper and decorated with blue glass.

Fragments of diorite statues in the shape of sphinxes are also among the collection. The artifacts are currently being examined and documented at the Egyptian museum, said Abdel Gawad.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Short Story: Aliaa Ismail First Female Egyptian Egyptologist

Egyptian Egyptologist Aliaa Ismail 
From Madrid to Seti I, Aliaa Ismail’s journey takes an in- teresting path between heritage and technology. When the 26-year-old chose to major in Egyptology, she never imagined that she would one day be the onsite manager of one of Egypt’s most important archaeological projects. 

Ismail double majored in architectural engineering andEgyptology at the American University in Cairo (AUC). “At AUC, I really got to enjoy Egyptology as it really was something unique and very specific to my heritage. It’s always good to be involved in your heritage,” she says.

Under the supervision of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiqui- ties, the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative utilizes digital technology to preserve cultural heritage. 
Ismail’s role as director of the training center for Luxor’s 3D scanning and documentation is to lead a team of scientists working on cre- ating exact facsimiles of tombs, including Seti I’s tomb, that are, or will soon be, closed to the public for conservation. 

She explains that “3D scanning is basically a method for understanding the surface that you are dealing with. When you look at something, what you see is not what you get.For example, a flat wall is not flat, it has details, it has scratches, very minor things that you cannot see but only feel,” explains Ismail.  “What we try to do is get this data that you can only feel into a form where you can actually see it. Understanding objects in this way allows you to conserve them and to docu- ment them better because it gives you a permanent record as they exist right now.”

Located in a small lateral valley in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, the tomb of Seti I was discovered in October 1817 by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, and quickly made international headlines with exhibits held in London in 1821, and later in Paris. The tomb, which is the largest in the Valley of the Kings, remained closed to tourists for some four decades before be- ing officially reopened in 2016.

In collaboration with the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation in Spain and the University of Ba- sel in Switzerland, the Mapping Project focuses on sustain- ability and knowledge transfer, and depends both on devel- oped technologies and human skills. It began in March 2016 with the recording of the vast Nineteenth Dynasty tomb of Seti I, and will include the development of a new training center for digital technology in conservation at Stoppelaëre´s House, also known as Hassan Fathy’s house. 

“The Factum Foundation would like to have an Egyptian team of up to 10 people onsite in Luxor. What we’ve started doing is training them two at a time, and the ones we have now are brilliant and very recep- tive to understanding new technology,” says Ismail, explaining the eventual results will help enable conservators, scholars and historians to see various layers of each artifact and understand the complex history that comes with it, just by its texture and color.

Although Ismail now gets along well with the team, she says it was a real challenge at first. “I’m leading a team of men and that’s hard in a place like Luxor where women are perceived to [have a lower status] than men,” says Ismail. “I had to establish myself in a manner enabling them to perceive me [positively], and not be threatened by me as a woman, as a boss.”

Friday, November 3, 2017

News, Giza: ScanPyramids Mission Rushed in Announcing 'Discovery of New Void’ in Giza’s Khufu' - Egypt Antiquities Ministry

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities said on Thursday that researchers in the ScanPyramids mission were mistaken in publicly announcing that they "discovered a new void space" inside the Great Pyramid of Giza before first discussing their findings with senior Egyptian and international Egyptologists, who have been commissioned by the ministry to study the issue. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In an article published in the journal Nature on Thursday, an international team of researchers said they have found a hidden chamber in Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The team said “the 30-meter (yard) void deep [they identified] within the pyramid is situated above the structure's Grand Gallery, and has a similar cross-section.The purpose of the chamber is unclear, and it's not yet known whether it was built with a function in mind.”

The researchers explained that they “made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper.”

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that publishing the findings in an ongoing research by ScanPyramids project in a scientific  journal such as Nature Journal before discussing these findings with leading Egyptologists was a mistake.

“The findings of the ScanPyramids research project have to be first discussed scientifically among scientists and Egyptologists and then reviewed by the scientific committee, which was tasked by Egypt's ministry of antiquities to supervise research on the matter. This committee is led by renowned Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass with the participation of the well-known American Egyptologist Mark Lehner and Czech Egyptologist  Murslav Barta,” Waziri added.

“These experts have previously said that the existence of void spaces inside the pyramids is not a new thing and this is a well known fact among Egyptologists," Waziri said. “It was too early at this stage in their study to publish that there was a new discovery,” Waziri added.

An official Egyptian archaeologist, who requested anonymity, told Ahram Online that he believes the mission broke the Egyptian antiquities laws and regulations by announcing findings  to the media through video conference, and, therefore, might be barred by Egyptian authorities from continuing their research.

More News About Pyramid Scan Project

Thursday, November 2, 2017

News: Pharaonic Influences on Display at Egypt Art Show

Paintings by top Egyptian artists shared wall space with hieroglyphs and Pharaonic relics at Cairo's Egyptian Museum this week in an exhibition highlighting ancient influences on contemporary art.

Artists, intellectuals and ambassadors from around the world attended the Saturday night opening of "A night with Art at the Egyptian Museum", organised by the private Art D'Egypte organisation. The exhibition, at the museum on Cairo's iconic Tahrir square, will be open to the public until Tuesday. "We wanted to highlight the link between contemporary art and ancient Egyptian Pharaonic art," Art D'Egypte founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar told AFP.

The modern paintings included abstract portraits and other works by prominent contemporary Egyptian artists such as Adel El Siwi, Mohamed Abla, Ghada Amer, Farouk Hosny and Hoda Lotfi. "This initiative shows that artistic creativity spans millennia reaching today," said Abla, who showed five paintings at the exhibition, reflecting ancient Egyptian influences. "Contemporary art is an extension of art by the Pharaonic ancestors," he said.

The show also includes interactive seminars on ancient Egyptian art and its influences on contemporary artists. Several prominent archaeologists and Egyptologists are to speak, including former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said it was important to preserve Egyptian heritage "because the antiquities belong to the entire world." The ageing Egyptian museum, which is undergoing renovation, was a key tourist attraction before a January 2011 uprising toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.

Visitors would wait in long lines outside its entrance, while the halls inside brimmed with foreign tourists and Egyptian visitors, including students on school trips. But Mubarak's ouster unleashed years of political turmoil and sent tourist numbers plummeting. During the uprising, which was centered in Tahrir Square just outside the museum, looters broke into the building, stealing and damaging several ancient treasures.

The fall in tourist numbers prompted the museum a few months ago to open its doors at night in the hope of attracting new visitors. Among its best-known exhibits are a golden funerary mask and other artifacts from the tomb of 18th dynasty Pharoah Tutankhamun. His belongings are among exhibits set to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, a new facility currently under construction near the Giza Pyramids. Anani said the facility should open at least partially before the end of 2018.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

News, Cairo: Photo Exhibition on Belgian-Egyptian Relations Inaugurated Tuesday Evening

Under the title “150 years of Belgian Royal Visits to Egypt,” Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Belgian Ambassador to Egypt Sibille de Cartier inaugurated on Tuesday evening a photo exhibition highlighting the strong friendship between Egypt and Belgium. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Elham Salah, the head of the Museums Department at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the exhibition has on display a collection of 60 black-and-white as well as colour photos and manuscripts showing the history of Belgian royal visits to Egypt over the past 150 years.

“Spanning a period of more than a century-and-a-half, [the photos] offer a unique glimpse into the history of these royal visits and allow us to revisit the Egypt of yesteryear. 


King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth with King Fouad
They are an illustration of the longstanding and durable relations between the two countries,” De Cartier told Ahram Online.

Sabah Abdel-Razek, director of the Egyptian Museum, said that numerous photographs and rare manuscripts will be on display, most of them coming from the archives of the Belgian Royal Palace and shown for the first time in Egypt.

De Cartier said that Belgian royals have been travelling to Egypt since as early as 1855, whether for official visits or to marvel at the timeless and captivating beauty of the country’s ancient treasures. 

The year 1855 was when King Leopold II, then Duke of Brabant, visited the country for the first time. King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth also visited Egypt on several occasions between 1911 and 1930.

During these visits, the royal family toured Egypt and its treasures extensively. From 1977 to 2012, Prince Albert, the future King Albert II, and Prince Philippe, Belgium’s current sovereign, travelled to the country several times when they headed commercial missions.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Recovered Artifacts, Hurghada: Hurghada Airport Officials Foil Attempt to Smuggle 18th-Century Coptic Icon

The antique religious object was seized at Hurghada International airport as a passenger attempted to smuggle it to Germany. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The trio icon
Antiquities officials at Hurghada International Airport foiled an attempt on Monday to smuggle an antique Coptic icon out of Egypt.

According to Naglaa El-Kobrosly, director of the Antiquities Units in Egyptian Airport, a passenger was attempting to smuggle the 18th century religious object to Germany.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Recovered Artifacts, Paris: France to Return 8 Stolen Ancient Egyptian Artifacts on Thursday

Archived Images
During Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to France, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced that France is set to return to Egypt eight ancient Egyptian artifacts that were illegally excavated and smuggled from the country.

The artifacts were seized in 2010 after they were found in the possession of a French citizen at a train station in France, a source from Egypt’s antiquities ministry told Ahram Online.

The artifacts were seized after the citizen failed to produce a deed proving ownership, and were sent to the Louvre museum for authentication. The artifacts are to be handed to the Egyptian ambassador to France at a gala ceremony on Thursday. Further details on the nature of the artifacts are expected to be announced after their arrival to Egypt, the source said.

News, Cairo: Historic Bab Al-Azab Site to Get Facelift From ARCE-Funded Restoration Project

The Ministry of Antiquities is to start a restoration and rehabilitation project for Bab Al-Azab area in Mediaeval Cairo, the scene of Mohamed Ali Pasha's infamous massacre of the Mameluks. Written By/Nevine El-Aref.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities has approved a project for the restoration of Bab Al-Azab, part of a Ministry of Antiquities plan to restore and develop a series of monuments in Historic Cairo.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director-general of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, said that the Bab Al-Azab restoration project is to be executed in three phases over a 10-month period, with a grant from the American Research Centre in Cairo (ARCE). He explained that the first phase aims to consolidate the monumental structures of Bab Al-Azab, as well as removing the debris and garbage that has accumulated in the vicinity.

The project will include minor restoration work on the two doors of the Bab Al-Azab, along with its woodwork and windows. The blocks of the walls will be maintained and consolidated in an attempt to prevent erosion prior to the start of comprehensive restoration work. The second phase, Abdel Aziz said, includes the full scientific documentation of every structure of the Bab Al-Azab, as well as preparing a plan for its restoration. Studies to rehabilitate the site and bring it back into use will also be provided. The third and final phase consists of workshops and seminars to prepare a plan for the preservation of the buildings. This will involve the establishment of a group of young archaeologists and architects, especially from the local community, to ensure the preservation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the area and its historic structures.

Bab Al-Azab is the gate that once protected the original entrance to the Citadel. It was rebuilt in 1754 by Abd el-Rahman Katkhuda, from which the brass-bound wooden doors date. The gate witnessed the massacre of the Mameluks conducted by Mohamed Ali Pasha in 1811.

Friday, October 27, 2017

News, Giza: Ptolemaic Crown Pillar To Be Transported To The Grand Egyptian Museum

The crown pillar, first discovered in 2009, will undergo restoration before exhibition. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Tlifting of The Crown
The crown pillar of King Ptolemy I is set to arrive within hours to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Al-Remaya Square from the Delta town of Samanoud, Tarek Tawfik, Supervisor General of the museum, told Ahram Online.

According to Tawfik, the crown is headed to the museum's laboratory for restoration and maintenance procedures before being placed on display within the GEM exhibition.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained that the crown pillar was uncovered while ministry representatives monitored the digging for the Samanoud City public hospital in 2009.

The piece was subsequently kept in situ until this week, when the hospital embarked upon the construction of an building extension. The ministry thus decided to relocate the crown to the GEM. Ashmawy told Ahram Online that the crown is probably the top of a pillar from the Ptolemaic gate in Samanoud. The surviving pillar and crown together are 9 meters tall. The crown alone weighs 10 tonnes.

According to Eissa Zida, Director-General of the GEM's first-aid restoration department, a plan was devised in consultation with other experts to remove the crown from the pillar. The decision, intended to ensure the artifact's secure transportation, was made in accordance with the Samanoud antiquities authority, the Ministry of Antiquities' engineering department, and the restoration department at the GEM.

Zida asserted that the team implemented the latest technological and scientific techniques while the lifting, packing, and transporting the crown. King Ptolemy I was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great who ruled Egypt starting in 323 BC, assuming the local title of pharaoh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

News: Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue Not on UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger - Ministry

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has released a statement denying reports on social media that Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue has been placed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Jewish Synagogue

Yasmin El-Shazly, the General Supervisor of the Department of International Organisations for Cultural and the International Cooperation, said in the statement that the site was declared endangered by the World Monuments Fund, a non-profit NGO that is not part of UNESCO.

El-Shazly said that according to the rules and regulations of this fund, any person or entity can nominate any archaeological building to be placed on the list of this fund without a scientific study proving that the building is in danger.

“The Egyptian government gives equal importance to all its monuments and heritage sites, whether Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Coptic or Islamic,” El-Shazly asserted.

El-Shazly said that the Egyptian government has allocated EGP 100 million to finance the restoration of the synagogue, which started in August and will last for eight months. El-Shazly added that this affirms the Egyptian government's keenness to protect and preserve the synagogue as part of Egypt’s heritage and identity.

Waadalah Abul-Ela, the head of the Projects Department at the antiquities ministry, said that the work on the synagogue aims to restore its architecture and fine decorative elements, as well as the lighting and security systems. The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is located in Nabi Daniel Street in downtown Alexandria and is the oldest synagogue in the city.

It was originally built in 1354 but was partially destroyed by the Napoleon expedition in 1798 in order to build a defensive wall from the Kom El-Dikka area to the Mediterranean. In 1850, the synagogue was reconstructed with contributions from the royal family.

Monday, October 23, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Coptic Tombstone Unearthed at Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor

The object is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian archaeologists in Luxor have stumbled upon a decorative Coptic tombstone buried on the eastern side of the Sphinxes Avenue, under Al-Mathan Bridge. The tombstone is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.

The exact date of the object has not yet been ascertained, nor the identity of the deceased. However, Mostafa Al-Saghir, director of the Sphinxes Avenue, said experts are now studying the tombstone find out.

The excavations in the Sphinxes Avenue are part of a Ministry of Antiquities programme to restore the area and transform it into an open-air museum. The avenue was the location for the procession of the Festival of Opet, which included priests, royalty and the pious, who walked from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. Some 1,350 sphinxes, with human heads and lion bodies, lined the 2,700-metre- long avenue, and many of them have been now been restored.

The avenue was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I to replace an earlier one built in the 18th Dynasty, as recorded by Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple. Hatshepsut built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of the avenue during her reign, demonstrating its longevity as a place of religious significance.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

News, Cairo: Attempt to Smuggle 19th Century Antiques to Lebanon Foiled By Egyptian Authorities

The Collection Subjected to Smuggling
The Badr City Antiquities Unit of Egypt's Customs Authority foiled an attempt Wednesday night to smuggle a collection of six 19th century porcelain pots and two metal jardinière to Lebanon. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Ahmed Al-Rawi, head of the Seized Antiquities Unit at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained that the items were seized at Badr City's dry land port, confiscated, and sent to the ministry because they fall under the legal category of Egyptian antiquities, which are protected by the Antiquities Law 117 of 1983 and its later amendment in law 3, 2010.

Ahmed Fatouh, Director of the Antiquities Units in Dry Land Ports, said that the collection includes a vase decorated with flora and fauna as well as a rose-colored tea set of five cups, complete with plates and a sugar container, which depict a European woman surrounded by plants.

Director of the Badr Antiquities Unit, Mamdouh Abu Amar, said that also among the confiscated lot were two metal jardinière bearing the monogram of Egypt's King Farouk. Illegally transported antiquities and heritage items are a common find at Egyptian ports.

El-Rawi told Ahram Online that authorities at Cairo International Airport recently seized original scripts for a well-known Egyptian radio program, "Tasali," which aired in the 1970s and 1980s and was presented by famous Egyptian anchor Inas Gohar.