Friday, August 7, 2015

News, Ismailia: Ismailia Museum Inaugurates Exhibit of Antiquities Unearthed during Suez Canal Excavation

A temporary exhibition on the Suez Canal excavations in 1859 was inaugurated Yesterday. Written by Nevine El-Aref.

The Ismailia Museum
A 30-day-exhibition entitled "Antiquities on the banks of the Suez Canal" opened Tuesday at the Ismailia Museum, in accordance with the Ministry of Antiquities’ celebration of the official opening of the new Suez Canal waterway.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty opened the ceremony along with Major General Yassin Taher, the governor of Ismailia, a number of top governmental officials, and a representative from the Army.

El-Damaty said that the exhibition includes of 16 artifacts that were unearthed during both the digging of the Suez Canal in 1859 by a French archaeological mission and the recent excavation work carried out by an Egyptian team.

"We chose the Ismailia Museum to host such an exhibition because it is the first regional museum to be constructed in Egypt with funds from the Suez Canal International Organisation," El-Damaty told Ahram Online, adding that the museum is witness to a very important historical era in Egypt.

Along with the exhibition opening El-Damaty also inaugurated the restoration of the Ismailia Museum garden with plans to develop it into an open-air museum. The development will cost two million Egyptian pounds.

Elham Salah, head of the museum’s exhibit, said that among the most important objects on display at the exhibition are remains of a sandstone obelisk unearthed at the original digging of the Suez Canal at Al-Qantara East, a discovery which led Fernand de Lesseps to change the path of the canal. This obelisk was given by King Ramses II to his father king Seti I, and his grandfather king Ramses I, to be erected at the Horus temple in the area of Tel Habouwa at Al-Qantara East.

A distinguished Middle Kingdom granite sphinx uncovered at the Tel Al-Maskhouta area during excavation for Al-Ismailia canal is also on show, as well as an anthropoid marble sarcophagus of a person called Jedhur from the Ptolemaic era. 

The relief of King Ramses II before Ra-Hur-Akhti
Salah pointed out that this sarcophagus is a distinguished example of how the art styles of the ancient Egyptians were mixed with those of the Greeks.

Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, supervisor of the development of archaeological sites at Al-Suez Canal region told Ahram Online that one of the most important objects of the exhibition is the triod statue of Tel Al-Maskhouta. The triod is carved from marble and depicts King Ramses II between deities Re-Hur-Akhty and Kheber-Re.

He added that the statue was unearthed by Francois Philipe, director of works and construction at the Suez Canal Organization. Abdel Maqsoud said that in 1876 Philipe also unearthed a sandstone relief of king Ramses II giving offerings to Ra-Hur-Akhty in Tel Al-Maskhouta. 

"The mosaic depicting sections of Greek legends unearthed at Al-Sheikh Zuwayed area in 1913 is also among the exhibition collection," Abdel Maqsoud said.

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