Wednesday, September 20, 2017

News: No Unauthorized Egyptian Artifacts at Louvre Abu Dhabi - Cairo

The Egyptian cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center has denied media reports that Egyptian pharaonic antiquities have been sold or smuggled to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Louvre museum, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel,
surrounded by sea water. The Louvre Abu Dhabi opens
its doors to the public on November 11, 2017
In an official statement on Tuesday, the IDSC said that the antiquities ministry has said that Egypt has not sent any antiquities to make a debut at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to be officially inaugurated in November.

Images have been circulating on social media showing a number of Emirati officials inspecting pharaonic antiquities inside the museum, raising speculation that Egypt had given up the items.

The ministry clarified that the antiquities pictured were from archaeological collections already in the Paris Louvre. The Paris branch of the museum currently includes about 50,000 pieces in its Egyptian collection, dating from 4,000 BC to the fourth century AD.

"Egypt has no right to interfere to stop the antiquities from being presented based on the law," the IDSC statement added, pointing that the acquisition of any antiquities by international museums was "legal."

"The antiquities were transferred outside the country legitimately before the issuing of a 1983 law that banned the trade in antiquities," the IDSC said, adding that prior to the passing of the law, countries that conducted excavations in Egypt had the right to have a share in the antiquities found. This is not the first series of denials by officials on the issue.

On Monday, the head of the Egyptian museums department at the antiquities ministry, Elham Saleh, denied the rumors that the Abu Dhabi items had been smuggled out of Egypt, calling on the media to ensure the accuracy of their reports.

Egypt has been making efforts to retrieve smuggled artifacts from foreign countries. It has called upon other countries to prevent illegal exchange, transfer, import or re-export of antiquities within their territories. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a 2007 agreement between the UAE and France.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Short Story: Goldsmith’s Tomb Uncovered

The 18th Dynasty tomb of the goldsmith of the god Amun-Re has been uncovered in the Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank, reports Nevine El-Aref.

Despite the heat wave that hit Luxor on Saturday last week, hundreds of Egyptian, Arab and foreign journalists, the crews of TV channels and photographers, as well as foreign ambassadors to Egypt, flocked to the Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on the west bank of the Nile to explore the newly discovered tomb of the goldsmith of the ancient Egyptian god Amun-Re.

Although the tomb belongs to a goldsmith, its funerary collection does not contain any gold. Instead, it houses a collection of stone and wood ushabti figurines of different types and sizes, mummies, painted and anthropoid wooden sarcophagi, and jewellery made of precious and semi-precious stones.

“It is a very important discovery that sheds light on the necropolis’ history and promotes tourism to Egypt,” Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany told Al-Ahram Weekly. He added that although the tomb was not in a very good condition because it had been reused in a later period, its contents could yield clues to other discoveries.

“It contains a collection of 50 limestone funerary cones, 40 of which are evidence of the presence of four other official tombs,” El-Enany asserted.

He added that the discovery of the goldsmith’s tomb had come to light in April when the same Egyptian excavation mission had uncovered the tomb of Userhat, a New Kingdom city councillor. While removing the debris from the tomb, excavators had stumbled upon a hole at the end of one of the tomb’s chambers which had led them to another tomb.

“More excavations within the hole revealed a double statue of the goldsmith and his wife depicting his name and titles,” El-Enany said, adding that the find was significant because of the high number of artefacts found intact in the tomb.
In the courtyard of the tomb, he said, a Middle Kingdom burial shaft had been found with a family burial of a woman and her two children. “The work has not finished,” El-Enany said, adding that the excavation would continue in order to reveal more of the tomb’s secrets as another hole had been found within the burial shaft that could lead to another discovery.

“I believe that due to the evidence we have found we could uncover one, two, or maybe other tombs in this area if we are lucky,” El-Enany said.

Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr attended the ceremony as well as MPs, the Greek and Cypriot ambassadors to Egypt, the Chinese cultural attaché and the Swiss head of mission.

Mustafa Waziri, head of the excavation mission and director of Luxor antiquities, said that the tomb had got its number (Kampp 390) as German Egyptologist Frederica Kampp had registered the tomb’s entrance but had never excavated or entered it.

The tomb, he continued, belongs to a goldsmith named Amenemhat and could be dated to the second half of the 18th Dynasty. It includes an entrance located in the courtyard of another Middle Kingdom tomb numbered Kampp150. The entrance leads to a square chamber where a niche with a dual statue depicting the tomb’s owner and his wife is found.

The statue shows the goldsmith sitting on a high-backed chair beside his wife who wears a long dress and a wig. Between their legs stands a little figure of one of their sons.

The tomb has two burial shafts, a main one for the tomb’s owner and the second one located to the left of the tomb’s main chamber. The main shaft is seven metres deep and houses a collection of mummies, sarcophagi and funerary masks carved in wood along with a collection of ushabti figurines. The second shaft bears a collection of 21st and 22nd Dynasty sarcophagi which deteriorated during the Late Period.... READ MORE.

News, Cairo: Metro Station Police Foil Security Guard's Attempt to Steal Artifact from Coptic Museum

The museum worker had hidden the stolen piece under his clothes. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Police arrested a man today at Mar Girgis metro station in Old Cairo, on suspicion of stealing an artefact from the Coptic Museum, general-secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Amin, announced.

Amin told Ahram Online that the alleged criminal was a security guard at the museum, and during his shift he chopped off a wooden decorative element from a door panel from the church of St Barbara.

The man hid the stolen piece inside a plastic bag under his clothes and left the museum after finishing his shift.

The police arrested him at the metro station, which is a short walk away from the museum.

Elham Salah, head of the museum department within the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online the case was sent to the general-prosecutor and the stolen item was now in police possession during investigations.

According to Coptic tradition, St. Barbara lived in the Levant during the third century AD, and who tortured and killed after she became a Christian.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

News, France: Egyptian Embassy in Paris Celebrates Bicentennial of Abu Simbel Temple Discovery

El-Enany Delivers His Speech at The Petite Palais
The ceremony was attended by French elites, the French minister of defence, and a number of foreign ambassadors. Written By / Nevine El-Aref.

In a gala ceremony held on Wednesday night at the Petite Palais in Paris, Egypt’s embassy in France celebrated the 200-year anniversary of the discovery of the Abu Simbel temples. The ceremony was attended by French elites, the French minister of defence, and a number of foreign ambassadors in Paris.

During the ceremony, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, delivered a speech relating the history of the temple salvage operation in collaboration with UNESCO, in 1962 during the building of the High Dam. He also highlighted the archaeological value of both temples and the efforts exerted by the Egyptian government to preserve the country's heritage and to speed up all archaeological projects put on hold in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution.

At the end of his speech, El-Enany invited the attendees and all French citizens to visit Egypt and to explore and admire its unique heritage. A replica exhibition was held on the margins of the ceremony, where a replica of King Tutankhamun’s chariot and models of both Abu Simbel temples were displayed.

Also on display were bronze busts of three people who played a major role in the Nubia salvage operation: minister of culture during the salvage operation Tharwat Okasha, Egyptologist Selim Hassan, and French Egyptologist Christian Noblecourt. 
These busts were created by the antiquities ministry’s replica production unit and were borrowed by the foreign ministry for the celebration. The busts will be returned to their original displays at the Abu Simbel Visitor Centre after the exhibition is closed.

Tharwat Okasha (1921-2012) participated in many cultural heritage projects, especially rescuing the Abu Simbel temples. He played a pivotal role in the international campaign to save the monuments of Nubia. 

Selim Hassan (1893 -1961) was the head of the Egyptian mission which evaluated the impact of the construction of the High Dam on the monuments of Nubia. He published many reports and much research on the topic.

Christiane Desroches Noblecourt (1913-2011) was the first French woman to lead an archaeological excavation (in 1938). She was also known for making an appeal for international support to save the monuments of Nubia. She is the author of many publications on Egyptian civilisation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Short Story: Fox Grotto Reopens

The Fox Grotto Museum near Marsa Matrouh has been officially reopened after seven years of closure. Nevine El-Aref attended the ceremony.
On Egypt’s Mediterranean coast near the town of Marsa Matrouh stands the Fox Grotto Museum welcoming visitors and summer holidaymakers. After seven years of closure for restoration and development, the museum, the place where German army field-marshal Erwin Rommel, the so-called “Desert Fox,” hid in the area’s cliffs and planned German military operations against the British during World War II, was finally reopened by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Matrouh governor Alaa Abu-Zeid this week.

Rommel was one of Germany’s leading field commanders in World War II, and he was famous for his courage, determination and leadership. He fought the 12-day Battle of Alamein against the British from 23 October 1942, only to retreat on 4 November in the face of an onslaught by British troops. According to a plaque at the Cave Museum, Rommel died in October 1944, having been accused of plotting against the life of German dictator Adolf Hitler and given the choice of either standing trial or quietly committing suicide to ensure the safety of his family. Rommel chose the latter course, and his death was announced as having been due to a heart attack.

The cave is located in front of Rommel Beach in Marsa Matrouh, and it was originally cut out of the rocky cliffs during the Roman period as a storage space due to its position near an ancient seaport. When the German troops entered Al-Alamein, Rommel selected the cave as his headquarters because it was hidden in the cliffs overlooking the harbour. In 1977, the idea of transforming the cave into a museum was launched as a way of paying tribute to Rommel’s career. However, the plan was not put into effect until 1988, when it was opened to the public in order to display a collection of Rommel’s personal possessions, many of them donated by his son Manfred, as well as weapons, shells and military equipment used during World War II.

The museum is not like any other in Egypt, as it is cave-shaped with showcases installed within its walls. Some artefacts are exhibited freely on the rocks. It contains Rommel’s full-length leather coat, clothes trunk, photographs, field telephone, compass, military attire, maps he drew himself, battle plans and medals he received. Copies of a newspaper produced by Rommel’s troops in Africa during the war called Al-Waha (Oasis) are also on display, as well as boxes housing the files of German soldiers from the time.

“The reopening of the Cave Museum highlights the aim of the Ministry of Antiquities to promote tourism through opening new attractions as well as increasing archaeological awareness among people in general,” El-Enany told the Al-Ahram Weekly. He described the development of the museum as “a positive example of collaboration between the ministry and the governorate.” The Matrouh governorate had allocated a budget of LE2.5 million to restore the cave.... READ MORE.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Amun-Re Goldsmith Tomb Uncovered in Draa Abul Naga Necropolis on Luxor's West Bank

The tomb was discovered along with a number of others by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on 
September 9, 2017 AFP 
In a gala ceremony held in Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's West Bank on Saturday, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced the discovery of an 18th Dynasty tomb of god Amun-Re’s goldsmith, Amenemhat (Kampp 390), and a Middle Kingdom burial shaft for a family. Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr attended the ceremony as well as members of parliament, the Greek and Cypriot ambassadors to Egypt, as well as China's cultural attaché and the Swiss head of mission.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri. The newly discovered tomb includes an entrance located in the courtyard of another Middle Kingdom tomb, Kampp 150. 

The entrance leads to a squared chamber where a niche with a duo statue depicting the tomb owner and his wife is found on one end. The statue shows Amenemhat sitting on a high backed chair beside his wife who wears a long dress and wig.

Between their legs stands, on a smaller scale, a small figure of one of their sons. Waziri told Ahram Online that the tomb has two burial shafts: the main one for the tomb’s owner and his wife. It is seven metres deep and has a collection of mummies, sarcophagi and funerary masks carved in wood along with a collection of ushabti figurines. 

The second shaft was uncovered to the left of the tomb’s main chamber and bears a collection of 21st and 22nd dynasty sarcophagi subject to deterioration during the Late Period.

In the open courtyard, the mission stumbled upon a collection of Middle Kingdom burial shafts, where a family burial of a woman and her two children was unearthed. It includes of two wooden coffins with mummies and a collection of head-rests.

Osteologist Sherine Ahmed Shawqi, who studied the mummies’ bones, explains that early studies on these mummies show that the woman died at the age of 50 and that during her life she was suffering from cavities that led to abscesses in her jaw and a bacterial disease in her bones. "This woman probably cried extensively as the size of her carbuncular are abnormally enlarged," Shawqi said, adding that inside the coffin the head-rest of the deceased woman was found as well as a group of pottery vessels.

Studies on the mummies of her two children show that they were two adult males of age ranging between 20 to 30 years old. Both mummies are in a very good state of conservation with the bones still having mummification liquids.

Waziri asserted that one of the male mummies shows that he was suffering from cavities during his life while the second shows that it was probably put later in the same coffin because the bones were bare. 

Archaeologist Mohamed Baabash, who is a member of the excavation team, said that during excavations the mission stumbled upon several funerary objects, some of which belong to the tomb owner.

Among the discovered artifacts are limestone remains of an offering table; four wooden sarcophagi partly damaged and decorated with hieroglyphic text and scenes of different ancient Egyptian deities; and a sandstone duo statue of a trader in King Tuthmose III’s temple named “Mah.” 

A collection of 150 ushabti figurines carved in faience, wood, burned clay, limestone and mud brick was also unearthed. The mission also unearthed a collection of 50 funerary cones, 40 of which are evidence of the presence of other tombs belonging to four officials.

The exact location of the latter has not been yet found. These officials are Maati, Bengy, Rourou and vizier Ptahmes. The other stamps belong to Neb-Amun, the grain harvester and supervisor of Amun's grain storehouses, whose tomb is probably TT145, and Nebsenu, the high priest of Amun whose tomb is probably Kampp 143.
  • More about tombs of Dra Abu El-Naga CLICK HERE
  • All related posts about the city of Luxor CLICK HERE

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Short Story: Documenting The Palace

The Palace of Prince Omar Tosson in Cairo’s Road Al-Farag district is to be documented for the first time, reports Nevine El-Aref.

In the Road Al-Farag district in Cairo stands the 19th-century Prince Omar Tosson Palace, its architecture largely hidden behind four modern school edifices.

The palace was nationalised after the 1952 Revolution like other former royal palaces and buildings in Egypt, and it was converted into a secondary school. Subsequently it was badly neglected.

The palace was originally built after 1886 and comprises a basement and two upper floors. The basement has a long corridor leading to the Nile Corniche where a yacht was once docked to transport the prince on his journeys outside Cairo.

The first floor has a main hall with several chambers to host visitors, a library, dining rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and rooms for servants. The second floor houses the private rooms of the prince’s family and a special wing for him with separate bathrooms and side rooms.

The palace has two gardens, the first outdoors and the second indoors as a small winter garden. There is a small extension building once used for storage. The ceilings of the rooms in the palace are particularly distinguished, being carved in wood and bearing gilded decorative elements.

The palace was registered on Egypt’s Heritage List of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in 1984, but it was still badly neglected. Several restoration projects were drawn up, but none was implemented.

However, all this is in the past, as today steps towards the palace’s restoration are being taken by the Ministry of Antiquities and Cairo University’s Construction Engineering Technology Laboratory.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the palace project aimed to document it using the latest technology and 3D laser scanning to analyse the architectural and decorative elements of the palace as well as its environment... READ MORE.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

News, Giza: Chinese Cultural Attaché in Egypt Visits Grand Egyptian Museum

Tawfik with Yuewen at the GEM
Chinese cultural attaché to Egypt Shi Yuewen visited the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza on Tuesday. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Yuewen visited the museum’s laboratories and witnessed restoration work being carried out on artefacts that are to be among the museum's collection, Tarek Tawfik, supervisor-general of the GEM, told Ahram Online.

The museum, which will see a soft open in 2018, will hold the Tutankhamun halls and a number of gigantic ancient Egyptian colossi, such as the colossus of King Ramses II, which was transported to the GEM from Ramses Square in downtown Cairo in 2006.

Yuewen said that the upcoming period will witness increased cooperation between Egypt and China in the archaeological field.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Re-Opening Museum, Marsa Matrouh: Rommel's Cave Museum in Egypt to Be Re-Opened Friday After Years of Restoration

The cave in Matrouh was used by Axis general Erwin Rommel during World War II as a makeshift base. Written Nevine El-Aref.

Rommel’s Cave Museum in Egypt's Matrouh will be re-inaugurated on Friday after being closed for seven years for restoration and development.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Governor of Matrouh Major General Alaa Abu Zeid will reopen the site, which was used by Axis general Erwin Rommel during World War II as a makeshift base.

The restoration and development of the cave was carried out by the antiquities ministry in collaboration with Matrouh governorate.

“I really appreciates the collaboration as the governorate has provided the required budget to restore the museum, as well as offering the ministry a part of Misr Public Library to establish another museum for antiquities that would relate the history of Matrouh through displaying all the artefacts found within its sands,” El-Enany told Ahram Online.

He added that the library museum is scheduled to be inaugurated before the end of 2017.

El-Enany pointed out that the opening of Rommel’s Cave Museum highlights the aim of the ministry to promote tourism to Egypt through opening new attractions as well as increasing archaeological awareness among Egyptians in general.

There are also plans to implement evening opening hours at the site.

Elham Salah, head of the ministry’s Museums Department, told Ahram Online that Rommel’s Cave Museum contains a collection of weapons, shells and military equipment used during World War II, as well as military attire, maps showing battle plans, copies of a newspaper produced by Rommel’s troops in Africa during the war, and files on German soldiers.

She explains that the museum was closed for restoration and development in 2010, and early this year the ministry resumed restoration work at the cave. The conservation of its artefacts was carried out by a team of skilful restorers led by Sameh El-Masry.

Salah pointed out that the development work included changing the museum displays and installing new lighting and security systems.

“Rommel’s Cave is one of the area’sA natural caves in the rocky cliff, which has existed since Roman times, and has an entrance and exit on the Mediterranean,” Salah told Ahram Online.

In 1977, she said, the idea of transforming the cave into a museum was launched as a way of paying tribute to Rommel’s career. However, the plan was not put into effect until 1988, when it was opened to the public in order to display a collection of Rommel’s personal possessions, many of them donated by his son Manfred, as well as weapons, shells and military equipment used during World War II.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Discovery, Western Desert: New Roman Tombs Discovered in Egypt's Dakhla Oasis

The Funerary Mask & One Of The Discovered Ostraca
Five mud-brick tombs uncovered in Beir Al-Shaghala necropolis in the Western Desert. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities has uncovered five Roman tombs during excavation works carried out in Beir Al-Shaghala site in Dakhla Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert.

Ayma Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, explained that the tombs are built in mud brick and have different architectural style.

The first tomb has an entrance leading to a rectangular hall with two burial chambers while the second has a vaulted ceiling and its entrance leads to a burial chamber.

The third tomb is a pyramid-shaped tomb. The mission has succeeded in uncovering its upper part while the lower part is still buried in sand. 

The fourth and fifth tombs share one entrance and each tomb has a separate burial chamber with a vaulted ceiling. Ashmawy pointed out that the mission's excavations in the area will continue.

Bei'r Al-Shaghala Necropolis, Some Of The Clay Pots Discovered,
The Tomb With Vaulted Ceiling & The Tomb With Pyramid Shaped End
Gamal Al-Semestawi, general director of antiquities of the Middle Egypt, said that a number of artifacts were found inside the tombs, including the remains of a funerary mask depicting a human face painted in yellow, a set of pottery vessels of different shapes and sizes, as well as two ostraca, one of which contains hieroglyphic text while the second bears text written in Hieratic.

A clay incense burner and remains of a small sandstone sphinx, 14 centimetres by 12.7 centimetres tall, have also been found within the tombs.

Magdi Ibrahim, director general of Dakhla Oasis and head of the mission, said the mission succeeded in its six previous excavation seasons to discover eight Roman tombs in a good state of conservation and with similar architectural design. They are composed of a rectangular hall and two side chambers with sandstone vaulted ceilings. The hall has a mud brick ceiling.

Al-Shaghala area is located to the west of Mout city almost 3 kilometres from Dakhla Oasis in a mid-point between three other archaeological sites.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

News, Giza: Egyptian Antiquities Ministry Inspects Khufu's Boat After Accident Causes 'Mild' Damage To Beam

The accident occurred at the site where the ancient boat is being removed from its burial pit. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref. 
The crane used in lifting up the beams from the pit
A team of archaeologists and restorers were dispatched on Monday to the Giza Plateau to inspect work achieved at Khufu’s second boat project, and to investigate the condition of a damaged beam.

Since 2010, a Japanese-Egyptian team has been working to lift, restore and reconstruct the ancient boat, 4,500 years after it was buried as part of King Khufu's funeral rites. So far, 745 pieces of the 1,264 pieces of the whole boat have been removed from the excavation pit.

Ayman Ashmawi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the boat beam was damaged by accident when a crane malfunctioned, leading it to come into direct contact with a beam within the pit.

the crane lifting up a beam inside the pit
"A very small part of the beam was subjected to a very mild deterioration which does not have any impact on the beam itself and could be easily restored during the restoration work carried out by the efficient and skillful Japanese-Egyptian team," Ashmawi asserted, adding that his observation and the team escorted him during his inspection tour confirm the report submitted by the project team.

Ashmawi told Ahram Online that a committee from the Projects Department at the ministry is to be assigned to re-inspect the beam in order to make another report. He also said that the whole case is now under an administrative investigation in order to find out if there was any employee failure related to the incident.

Eissa Zidan, director-general of first aid restoration at the project, explained that the pit houses around 1,264 wooden beams in 13 different layers. The majority of the beams are in a very bad conservation condition while a minority are almost fully decomposed.

A total of 732 excavated pieces have so far been restored, Zidan said, and a collection of 560 pieces have been transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza plateau.


There are plans to lift and restore all the beams in an attempt to reconstruct the boat and put it on display beside the first boat discovered in 1954 by Egyptian historian Kamal El-Malakh and restored by well-known restorer Ahmed Youssef.

Monday, August 21, 2017

News: The Fight to Preserve Architectural Heritage of Egypt's Alexandria

Confronting the demolition of Alexandria’s historical building is a multi-layered task, argues prominent architect and founder of the Alexandria Preservation Trust Mohamed Awad. Written By/ Dina Ezzat.

The Zogheb palace, which was originally owned by a Syrian-Italian family and built
in 1877, and is one of the oldest buildings on Fouad street, is pictured in
Alexandria, Egypt Feb. 22, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
A beautiful four-floor early 20th century apartment building is being knocked down on Fouad Street at the heart of Alexandria, much to the consternation of inhabitants who have lived through what was arguably the city’s belle époque.

Another apartment building overlooking the corniche of Alexandria, in El-Shatby neighbourhood, has also been evacuated in anticipation of a demolition that architectural heritage preservation activists are campaigning against on social media.

“I am not sure if the campaign will succeed,” lamented Mohamed Awad, the prominent architect who has dedicated years to the preservation and documentation of the architectural heritage of Alexandria’s city centre.

Awad told Ahram Online that the problem is that neither building had ever been put on the list of historic buildings that he helped compose during his days as the head of the Alexandria Preservation Trust (APT).

The list includes 1,135 buildings – 33 of which have exquisite architectural decoration – 63 zones, and 38 streets. Fouad Street, at the very heart of the city centre, is obviously on the list.

However, in the technical sense, preserving a historic street would not necessarily involve a prohibition on knocking down all its old buildings – especially if the owners of the building manage to provide municipal authorities with a valid reason for the demolition.

According to Awad, this reason could be a technical argument, such as fears about the building's possible collapse, or just a "sufficiently convincing argument" that the owner needs to replace a four-floor building that has two apartments on each floor with a higher structure that can accommodate more apartments.

Since he started his work as head of the APT over 40 years ago, Awad has seen the demolition of numerous historic buildings in Alexandria, notable for their architectural value, the events they witnessed or the inhabitants they had accommodated.

Awad particularly laments the demolition of Villa Aghion in 2014. The villa was constructed in the early 1920s by prominent French architect Auguste Perret, “whose gems in France are protected by UNESCO.”

Awad also grieves over the fate of the Villa Cicurel, which was demolished in 2015 and carried the name of one of the most prominent Jewish families of early 20th century Egypt, who owned an elegant department store chain. The villa was constructed in the early 1930s by two prominent French architects; Leon Azema and Jacques Hardy.

“These are just two examples, but we have seen other historic buildings demolished despite being included on the preservation list and despite elementary court rulings [against the demolition],” Awad said..... READ MORE.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Recovered Artifacts, RED SEA: Attempt To Smuggle 18th Century Artifacts Foiled At Egypt’s Hurghada Port

Egyptian authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle six 18th century artifacts at a port in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Ahmed Al-Rawi, the head of the Central Administration of Seized Antiquities Unit at the antiquities ministry, says that the seized artifacts were in the possession of a Saudi citizen.

The artifacts include a cane with a handle carved in stone bearing the shape of a man with a long beard wearing the Jewish cap (kippah), as well as five stone reliefs engraved with Hebrew text and other decorative elements.

A book of 29 papers written in Hebrew was also among the seized collection, with early studies suggesting that they could be the commandments of Judas Iscariot.Al-Rawi asserted that the artifacts were seized after approving their authenticity in accordance with law 117/1983.

  • All Previous Recovered Artifacts Posts Here 
  • Saturday, August 19, 2017

    News, Cairo: World Heritage Committee Praises Efforts To Preserve Historic Cairo

    The UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) praised on Tuesday the progress achieved by Egypt in preserving Historic Cairo, and proposed recommendations for the preservation efforts. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    In its annual report on the Urban Regeneration of the Historic Cairo Project (URHC) published on Tuesday, the WHC praised "serious steps" taken by Egypt to develop the area and "preserve its architectural and urban heritage."

    The WHC welcomed "steps that have been taken to start and plan a major [project to restore Historic Cairo] under the control of the Ministry of Antiquities and the scope of its urban, cultural, economic and social goals aimed at revitalising the old city structures, and a one-year work programme to undertake studies and define an overall master plan."

    The WHC report praised the progress carried out by Egypt "in conformity with the recommendations of the committee... in terms of putting in place both short and long-term measures to address the urgent problems facing the urban fabric of the old city and its socio-economic structures."

    The report also acknowledged efforts by Egyptian authorities to remove illegally erected structures in historic Cairo and raise awareness among local residents of the archaeological importance of the area.

    The WHC also welcomed proposals to put in place a new management structure for the URHC, which would include the formation of a new body that could be instrumental in driving the URHC Project forward.

    The committee recommended that Egypt give priority to the work of the URHC project "to achieve its goals and submit the draft master plan and establish benchmarks so that progress can be monitored and defined over time."

    Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, general director of the URHC, told Ahram Online that the Ministry of Antiquities is scheduled to submit an update report on the state of conservation in Historic Cairo for review by the WHC at its 43rd session in 2019.

    Abdel-Aziz also said that Egypt will invite a joint World Heritage Center and ICOMOS monitoring mission to view the progress on the project and the impact of recent administrative measures.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    New Discovery, Minya: Three Ptolemaic Tombs Uncovered in Egypt's Minya, Contents Suggest A "Large Cemetery"

    Three new discoveries in El-Kamin El-Sahrawi point to a large cemetery spanning the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    One Of The Newly Discovered Sarcophagi 
    (Photo: Nevine El-Aref)
    Three rock-hewn tombs from the Ptolemaic era have been discovered during excavation work in the El-Kamin El-Sahrawi area of Minya governorate, the Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday.

    The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities working in the lesser-known area to the south-east of the town of Samalout. The tombs contain a number of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as a collection of clay fragments, according to ministry officials.

    Ayman Ashmawy, head of the ministry's Ancient Egyptian Sector, said that studies carried out on the clay fragments suggest the tombs are from the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. "This fact suggests that the area was a large cemetery over a long period of time," said Ashmawy. Ashmawy describes the discovery as "very important" because it reveals more secrets from the El-Kamil El-Sahrawi archaeological site.

    During previous excavation work, the mission uncovered about 20 tombs built in the catacomb architectural style, which was widespread during the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. Ali El-Bakry, head of the excavation mission,told Ahram Online that the three newly discovered tombs have a different architectural design from the previous ones.

    One of The Rely Discovered Burial Shafts
    &
     The Child Sarcophagus 
    The first tomb is composed of a perpendicular burial shaft engraved in rock and leading to a burial chamber containing four sarcophagi with anthropoid lids. Nine burial holes were also uncovered inside.

    The second tomb consists of a perpendicular burial shaft and two burial chambers. The first chamber is located to the north and runs from east to west, with the remains of two sarcophagi, suggesting that it was for the burial of two people.

    A collection of six burial holes was also found among them, one for a small child. "This was the first time to find a burial of a child at the El-Kamin El-Sahrawi site," El-Bakry said. He added that the second room is located at the end of the shaft and does not contain anything except of remains of a wooden coffin.

    Excavation Works at the third tomb have not yet been finished. El-Bakry said examination of the bones shows them to be from men, women and children of different ages, supporting the notion that the tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city, and not for a military garrison as some suggest.

    Excavation work started in 2015 when the mission unearthed a collection of five sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as the remains of a wooden sarcophagus. The second session began in October 2016, with five tombs were uncovered. Four of them have similar interior designs, while the fifth consists of a burial shaft. Work is under way to reveal more secrets at the site.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    News, Cairo: Egyptian Museum Celebrates Flooding Of The Nile

    Free Arabic and English guided tours at the Egyptian Museum are being organised to celebrate the ancient flooding of the Nile festival. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    The Ostrava Exhibited As The Piece Of The Month
    To celebrate Flooding of the Nile Day, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square is organising two free guided tours for evening visitors.

    Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, revealed that the tours would be in Arabic and be held 18 and 24 August, during the museum’s evening open hours.

    Salah said that guided tours in English would be provided on request during the same hours of the Arabic tours. Sabah Abdel Razak, director general of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, explained that the tours would go through all exhibited artifacts connected to the Nile, such as boats and the Nilometer.

    The museum”s August piece of the month is a limestone Ostrava depicting the Nile god Hapi.

    The flooding of the Nile is an important ancient Egyptian festival celebrating the natural cycle of the Nile flood. It was celebrated by ancient Egyptians as an annual holiday for two weeks starting 15 August, and known as Wafaa El-Nil.