Thursday, February 26, 2015
Elementary studies on the skeleton of SenebKay that was discovered in Abydos last year by the Mission of University of Pennsylvania directed by Dr. Josef Wegner (More details of the discovery HERE) showed 18 injuries on the King's bones as well as vertical cuts in feet, ankles and the lower back beside many injuries on the skull which indicated that the King died in a battle at age between 35 to 49 years old.
The King “Senebkay” was mentioned in Turin papyrus King List as a ruler of Abydos local ruling family for 4 and half years as a part of a family that didn’t last for long (1650-1600 B.C.) contemporary to the period of the Hyksos in Delta.
Dr. Josef Wegner, director of Pennsylvania University mission, said that the visible injuries refers that the King death was severe. Also the sizes of the skull injuries show the sizes of axes were used in that battle of the Second Intermediate Period.
The angle and direction of the King's injuries suggest that he was at a higher place when he was injuries and he was close to his attackers.
The injuries and cuts on the King's ankles, feet and lower back explain how his attackers managed to knock him down on the ground and also that he was killed far from his residence as it seems that he was mummified after a long time of his death.”
The King was probably on his horse when he was attacked and hit at his lower back then ankles till he got on the ground when the attackers brutally killed him with their axes on his skull.
Even though using horses in battles were not common at that time but the ancient Egyptians showed good skills in horse riding during the Second Intermediate Period which is an indication of the great role horses played in the military actions during this period even before the chariots technology in Ancient Egypt.
Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of Ancient Egypt department in the MSA, said “The studies show that the King “Senebkay” was between 172cm to 182cm tall. The pelvic and legs bones suggest that the King used to ride horses a lot.”
Dr. Youssef Khalifa also adds “It is not clear yet if Senebkay died in a battle against the Hyksos, who were occupying Lower Egypt at that time, or not.
If future studies proved it so this will make him the first warrior king who fought for liberation even before “Senakhtenre” the founder of 17th Dynasty and the grandfather of “Ahmos” who defeated the Hyksos.”
Our Treasures Abroad: Ancient Egyptian seal believed to show Ramesses the Great is discovered in a charity shop costing £12
You get excited over the discovery of a vintage coat or pretty vase in a charity shop. But one treasure hunter has come across an ancient Egyptian seal that could be more than 3,000 years old, among people’s discarded junk.
Archaeologist James Balme, who paid just £12 ($19) for the seal on a charity website, believes it bears the cartouche of Ramesses the Great, who ruled Egypt between 1,279 and 1,213BC. In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. He came across the ancient artefact while trawling the website of a charity shop in Hertfordshire.
The carved stone has hieroglyphs carved into one side that can be used as a seal, and a scene on its reverse, showing a man sitting down with an eagle over his head and a scarab beetle at his feet.
Mr Balme, who also works as a television presenter, believes that it is the scene that makes the object so unusual – and he has sought the opinion of experts to work out just how rare his £12 ($19) find is.
The seal still has traces of red ochre as well as grains of sand embedded deep inside the carved lines of the object. The hieroglyphics on the flat face of the stone should be able to be translated in the coming weeks telling us more about the history of the stone,’ he told MailOnline.
‘As [it seems that] the cartouche is the royal seal of Ramesses II then it is plausible that the figure seated could be that of Ramesses himself. 'This is a real mystery at the moment but an exciting one nonetheless.’ Sometimes amulets were given in the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs, as a symbol of good luck.
Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents. They were also regularly worn by pharaohs and the oval surrounding their name was meant to protect them from evil spirits in life and in death. Egyptians believed that individuals who had their name recorded, would not disappear after death.
Mr Balme said: ‘The stone is in the form of an Egyptian funerary stele - a kind of tombstone. ‘The front of the stone depicts a pharaoh seated below the wings of Horus [whose] wings [are] offering protection as the pharaoh passes into the afterlife.
‘Alongside him is carved a cartouche of a scarab beetle and the transformation into the sun - a symbol of rebirth in the afterlife. ‘Could the seated pharaoh be that of Ramesses II?’ he asked. Based on the condition of the stone, Mr Balme thinks it shows signs of being buried in sand.
He has also found traces of red ochre, which was used by the ancient Egyptians as a form of paint. ‘The seal also has some slight traces of wax in the carved faces indicating that it may have been used to add a seal to documents,’ he said, adding that more analysis of the object is needed.
Mr Balme spotted the seal on a charity website, noting that it had not had much interest from other prospective buyers. Before purchasing it, he looked into its age and importance.
‘I researched the hieroglyphics as a starting point and found that they are the royal cartouche of King Ramesses II,' he said. While the seal was on display in the shop, it came to his attention on the charity's website, which sells ‘almost anything from clothes to jewellery’.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
New Discovery, Luxor: Statues of Sekhmet, Lioness War Goddess, unearthed at the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III
Statues of Sekhmet, lioness war goddess, unearthed in Luxor
“Discovered at the hypostyle hall of the temple, the statues are very well preserved and represent Goddess Sekhmet in a human body with a lioness head crowned with the sun disc and cobra,” said al-Damaty.
A team of German-Egyptian archaeologists from the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project (CMATCP) came across the statues during a routine excavation carried out at King Amenhotep III mortuary temple in the Kom Al-Hittan area on the west bank of Luxor, according to Damaty.
This is the third time the same mission has discovered sets of statues of Sekhmet, Abdel-Hakim Karar, director of the Upper Egypt Antiquities Department told The Cairo Post Tuesday. “In March 2013, the same mission has discovered 14 statues of the same goddess, while a few years earlier; a set of 64 statues depicting Sekhmet in different shapes and sizes were also unearthed,” according to Karar.
The discovery emphasizes how Amenhotep III’s funerary temple was once filled with Sekhmet statues of different sizes and shapes. It also sheds light on the significant role of Sekhmet during the reign of the pharaoh. “The placement of her statues was for protection, as she was the goddess of war and destruction,” said Karar.
“According to the ancient Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet, depicted in the shape of the fiercest hunter known to the ancient Egyptians, was originally the warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She was considered as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare,” archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Amenhotep III, the ninth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, ruled Egypt from 1386 B.C. to 1349 B.C. and his reign is believed to have marked the political and cultural zenith of ancient Egyptian civilization, said Sabban. He was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten.
Virtual 3D model of more than 5 thousand years old Egyptian homes, discovered during the excavations at Tell el-Farcha in the Nile Delta, prepared by Jacek Karmowski, PhD student of the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.
"We associate the architecture of ancient Egypt primarily with stone construction - due to the most recognizable structures left by this civilization: the pyramids and monumental stone temples" - Jacek Karmowski told PAP. "In fact, the contemporary villages and towns were dominated by houses made of mud bricks" - he added.
Structures built with such bricks are not particularly durable, unlike to those made with stones. Durability of the building material ensured their present, in some cases very good state of preservation. "It must be remembered that the stone architecture is a special, cult type of Egyptian construction, associated with religion and belief in the afterlife" - explained Karmowski.
Work on the reconstruction of non-existent mudbrick structures really began during the excavations - the way of conducting excavations and documenting discovered layers is important. The scientist traced the visible relics of bricks and outlines of houses from the functioning of the settlement with a total station laser and imported to a computer with CAD software - although archaeologists still usually draw on excavations in the classical way, using pencil and paper. With specialized software, he combined these data with photographs taken during field work.
"But this is just the beginning. Then I went to the library and looked for other sources on possible reconstruction of houses. A big help are preserved models of houses from this period and dated a bit later depictions in painting and reliefs, showing different types of residential buildings" - described the archaeologist.
The researcher also studied the ancient Egyptian building tradition. In the Egyptian religious architecture of the Old Kingdom (2686 - 2181 BC), the builders of mirrored less durable materials in stone buildings - including wood and mud bricks. It was another clue. "An important role in the reconstruction had observations made in modern villages, including Gazala, which is near our site" - added Karmowski.
Detailed analyses made by the Polish scientist showed that Egyptians living in the Nile Delta approx. 5 thousand years ago, lived in houses made on regular, rectangular plan, with an area of tens of square meters. Structures were built tightly next to each other. The windows were small and located in the upper part of the wall.
"Their location was probably intended to protect the interior against unwanted intruders, such as scorpions and snakes. On the other hand, a small window clearance allowed for only the necessary amount of light entering the home, so that its interior would not get too heated" - explained the archaeologist.
Lintels and window had support beams - their task was to relieve the empty space, and to protect mud bricks against erosion of and mechanical damage. As is clear from contemporary analogies and archaeological documentation, the lower part of the door had a doorstep, probably placed above the ground level. This type of solution, according to the archaeologist, results from the need to protect homes from water during the periodic river flooding - these occurred in Egypt until the twentieth century, when the Aswan Dam was built. Houses did not have a door - Egyptians used mats to cover door openings instead.
"It was difficult for us to reconstruct the roof - excavations have not provided conclusive information. We turned to modern mud brick buildings again" - said Karmowski. According to the researcher it should be assumed that the roofs were made of light materials such as boards, branches of small trees, reeds or straw. The roofs were flat.
All Photos by J. Karmowski
The site Tell el-Farcha has been studied for sixteen years by the Polish Expedition to the Eastern Nile Delta led by Prof. Krzysztof Ciałowicz of the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University and Dr. Marek Chłodnicki from the Archaeological Museum in Poznań.
The settlement functioned in this place for almost 1000 years, from approx. 3700 to 2700 BC First, there was a strong Lower Egypt local culture centre, then an important centre of power during the formation of a unified Pharaonic state. Tell el-Farcha became famous a few years ago after the discovery of one of the world's oldest brewing centres, two gold statues of rulers dating back more than 5 thousand years, extremely rich temple deposits, which included masterpieces of early Egyptian art - some of them can be seen today in the famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Monday, February 23, 2015
No matter how old a cat is, it seems that it still has those nine lives when it comes to self preservation. A rare artefact from ancient Egypt nearly ended up in a skip recently, as its owners cleared out a relative’s house in Cornwall, England, thinking it was just junk. But believe me, this is certainly one feline you’d regret putting out at night.
Luckily, local auctioneer David Lay salvaged the 2,500 year-old Egyptian cat bronze cat, complete with hoop gold earrings, from the bin after realising its significance. And what’s more, it’s believed that the piece may have once belonged to Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
The statue was initially too hot to touch as it was sitting in front of an imitation fire, and it was assumed it must be a cheap imitation. But Lay took it away to make sure and found the statue not only dated back to the 26th Dynasty, but was likely to have come to Cornwall through an auction house that dealt with the estate of Howard Carter after his death in 1930.
The owner of the house, Douglas Liddell, died in 2003 but had spent a lifetime working at Spink and Son, one of London’s oldest and most respected art and antiquity dealing institutions. Mr Lay organised for the cat found in the house clearance to be taken to the British Museum, where the head of the department of ancient Egypt and Sudan described it as a ‘finely modelled and beautifully proportioned piece’ and dated it to approximately 700-500 BC.
The cat was auctioned at Penzance Auction House yesterday and was expected to fetch between £5,000 and £10,000. But the hammer eventually came down at £52,000 plus buyer’s premium. It has been sold to a London dealer. The ancient Egyptians were certainly way ahead of their time when it comes to social media – their walls were covered in pictures of cats well before Facebook was around.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
The reopening of the pyramid comes in accordance with the antiquities ministry’s strategy involving “a rotation schedule whereby every one or two years, one pyramid is to be closed for cleaning and renovation work, while the other two pyramids remain open to public,” said Damaty in a statement Last Tuesday.
The Pyramid of Khafre will be closed for routine cleaning and restoration starting from April 1, he said. “More than 20 Egyptian and European conservators along with three professional archaeologists have participated in the two-year renovation and cleaning project with a cost estimated at 3.5 million EGP ($493,000,)” director of the Archaeological Sites Development Department Ahmed Mutawa previously told The Cairo Post.
The pyramid is 61 meters high with a square base of 108.5 meters each side and an angle of 51 degrees. The limestone pyramid was built to serve as the tomb of the fourth dynasty Pharaoh Menkaure (2530 B.C.-2500 B.C.) Unlike the other two pyramids, the outer bottom level and the burial chamber of Menkaure’s pyramid were sheathed in pink granite that is still visible.
Head of Giza archaeological site Kamal Waheed told The Cairo Post that the restoration work included the removal of graffiti which visitors had left on the walls of the pyramid’s passageways and burial chamber, the removal of the salt deposits from its walls and the replacement of the outer stairs leading to the Pyramid.
“It also included the installation of a special lighting system which does not damage the drawings and inscriptions while at the same time providing a clear view for visitors,” he added.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Missions working in Egypt, Aswan: American-Belgian archaeological mission turns King Cheops petroglyphic engravings into 3D inscriptions
An Egyptian archaeologist touches up the seam on a relief showing royal
cupbearer or butler Ptah Em-Wia arriving home to greetings from his
juniors in the Sakkara necropolis, south of Cairo , 20 February 2007.
Cheops was a pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty (2613-2494 BC) known as the builders of the pyramids.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said the inscriptions shed light on the activities of King Cheops in Upper Egypt, adding that the archaeological documentation of these inscriptions with a new technology is of great importance.
Dirk Hoag of the Brussels Arts and History Museum said the new technique facilitates the copying of petroglyphs, explaining that the engravings were digitally captured from various angles and merged into accurate three-dimensional models on a computer tablet.
He added that the engravings include a large plate dating back to 3500 BC, a boat led by a falcon, an inscription with the name of Horus and plate bearing the name of King Cheops.
CAIRO: Celebrations of the biannual phenomenon of solar alignment over the Abu Simbel temples in Aswan has been canceled as part of a seven-day mourning in Egypt after 21 Egyptians were killed in Libya Sunday, Aswan governor Mostafa Youssry stated. The celebration was scheduled to be held Feb. 22.
Youssry expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Egyptian people for their grave loss, describing the incident as a “barbaric and an horrendous act of terrorism that is not to be blamed on any religion or philosophy and contradicts the simplest of human values.”
Egypt struck Islamic State group targets in Libya Monday, shortly after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed revenge for the release of a gruesome video posted Sunday by the militant group in Libya showing the beheadings of 21 Coptic Egyptian hostages. Sisi also announced a seven-day mourning period starting Sunday.
Abu Simbel temples date back to the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II (1293-1224 B.C.) and were built and aligned in such a way that the sun’s rays fall perpendicularly to illuminate Ramses II’s seated statue in the temple’s shrine. It is a rare astronomical and engineering phenomenon that happens twice a year; on Feb. 22, the day he ascended to the throne, and Oct. 22, his birthday.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Story of Tutankhamun mask (8): The ministry of antiquities will not use laser to remove the epoxy from Tutankhamun's mask
Rumours abound about the fate and future of the boy-king's beard- though the ministry of antiquities assured the international press that it will by experts. Written by / Nevine El-Aref
The spell of the boy king Tutankhamun continues. Some newspapers reported that the ministry of antiquities is to use laser to remove the epoxy resin used to glue the beard to the king's funerary mask to fix botched restoration work previously carried out.
In a statement the minister of antiquities, Mamdouh Eldamaty, asserted that what has been reported in newspapers is unfounded and that the rumours are fake.
He told Ahram Online that there is now a scientific committee that includes restorers, natural scientists and archaeologists who are discussing several conservation plans in which they will choose the most likely method of success to remove the epoxy and properly restore the mask.
"When the committee approves one of the suggested restoration methods it would be implemented first in a laboratory on a modern sample made of similar material in order to inspect the results before its implementation on the authentic mask," Eldamaty pointed out, asking all reporters to be sure of the information they receive before publishing it. "The ministry is keen on showing the whole truth before the public," Eldamaty concluded.
In January, the boy king Tutankhamun caught the headlines of newspapers worldwide. It was reported that the blue and gold beard of the mask was broken during a cleaning process at the Egyptian Museum and that conservators hurriedly glued the beard back on with epoxy resin, damaging the artefact.
To stop the commotion that was created by the rumours, Eldamaty organised an international press conference in collaboration with a German expert in metal restoration at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square and asserted that the mask is not in danger and is in good condition. A scientific committee was then established to create an optimal conservation plan for the mask
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
CAIRO: Moscow plans to open a new consulate in Hurgada governorate due to the increasing number of the Russian tourists, said Yevgeny Ivanov, head of the consular department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“It is better to talk about improving our consular presence in countries such as Egypt,” he said in an interview to the Russian News Agency (TASS) that was published Saturday. However, he did not mention when the consulate would be opened.
“President Putin has focused on the encouragement of tourism return to Egypt,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in a news conference Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Cairo, adding “Egypt is looking forward to an increase in the number of Russian tourists.”
President Putin expressed his satisfaction with the increase in the number of Russian tourists visiting Egypt, which had exceeded 3 million in 2014, and he noted that continued stability in Egypt contributed to the increase in the influx of holidaymakers.
CAIRO: A temporary exhibition of 33 ancient Egyptian artifacts, some of which are on display for the first time, was inaugurated Thursday by Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty at the Egyptian museum. “Papyri from Karanis” takes place in room 44 on the museum’s ground floor and will last for a month, according to a ministry statement.
Present at the inauguration were German Ambassador to Cairo Hans-Jorg Haber and German papyri expert Cornelia Römer. “The exhibition includes 10 statues made of bronze and terracotta, wooden boxes, along with 11 papyri dating back to Egypt’s Greco-Roman Period [(330B.C.-395A.D.)],” Egyptian museum director Mahmoud al-Halwagy told The Cairo Post Saturday.
The 11 papyri scrolls, which have been stored in the museum’s warehouse, shed light on the daily life of residents of the ancient town of Karanis, some 75 kilometers southwest of Cairo, and also provide intimate view and significant details of ancient Egypt’s relationship with the Greek and Roman Empires, Halwagy added. The 11 papyri are unique and significant as they feature correspondences between family members, medical prescriptions for bone fractures and proper names that were common during that time, he added.
Among the papyri on display is “a love letter written in Greek script by an unknown woman to her husband, a complaint letter of a man who was robbed and another who was attacked and beaten by unidentified assailants along with a letter containing a death notification,” said Halwagy. The city of Karanis, which was established as an agricultural hub by the Greek King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285 B.C.-246B.C.,) prospered towards the end of the third century before the site was abandoned and buried under sands until 1800s, archaeologist Sherif el-Saban told The Cairo Post.
The site was excavated illegally starting from the early 1900s, said Sabban adding that several papyri were found by framers and were offered for sale on the antiquities market. “In the early 20th century, the site was excavated by an archaeology mission from the University of Michigan. Two well-preserved temples, household objects, mud-prick made residential houses along with dozens of papyri, now exhibited at the Kelsey Museum were among the findings,” said Sabban.
Monday, February 16, 2015
A Czech archaeological team and Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology and head of the Egyptology unit at The American University in Cairo (AUC), discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen at the Abusir necropolis, southwest of Cairo.
A statue of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaoh Neferefre
“What is fascinating about the tomb is the inscriptions because they show that this is a completely new member of the royal family of the Fifth Dynasty,” explained Miroslav Barta, director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology and professor at Charles University, Czech Republic, who led the excavations.
Within the tomb, the queen is identified as the “king’s wife” and also “mother of the king.” “We know this based on the inscriptions from her burial chamber, where she is given two specific titles,” remarked Barta. The name, Khentkaus, means “the one closest to our souls,” and two previous queens with this name have already been identified.
The addition of a brand new name, Queen Khentkaus III, in the lineage of ancient Egyptian royalty has undoubtedly stirred enthusiasm on a global scale. “She was a royal spouse,” said Barta, adding, “most likely to King Raneferef,” as she is buried in close proximity to Raneferef’s burial complex.
Burial site of Queen Khentkaus in the Abusir necropolis
He added that tomb inscriptions most often refer to a man; rarely do names and inscriptions refer to women. Despite the fact that, “if you inspect the burial facilities inside these tombs, you would find that the burials of women bear more riches, compared with the males,” he said, noting, “These women were really very important.”
The inscriptions indicate the two phases of Khentkaus’s life as a woman of the royal family. She was married to the king, but, more importantly, she actually gave birth to a boy who later became a king, probably Menkauhor. “In the Fifth Dynasty, there is very rich evidence showing that when you became the king, you looked back and promoted your mother and built for her a more appropriate funerary complex,” said Barta. Research suggests that the transition from wife to mother was accompanied by a notable increase in respect and rank.
Around 30 copper and limestone utensils were discovered at the site
Abusir has proven to be a valuable site for excavation in recent years. One of the most important discoveries from the area was the “Abusir Papyri,” some of the oldest surviving papyri to date that offers detailed information about funerary beliefs and administrative systems. Another collection of exceptionally well-preserved wood and limestone statues have been instrumental in understanding burial practices and societal structures in the Fifth Dynasty.
Burial site of Queen Khentakawess in the Abusir necropolis
Barta, too, is eager about what remains undiscovered, “There are more tombs to be excavated, and we assume some of them, at least, will also belong to some, perhaps, unknown members of the royal family,” he noted, adding that what we know thus far “is probably not the last word. We will know more when our anthropologist comes, which is planned for March or April this year.”
The story of the family history of the Fifth Dynasty will continue to evolve with each new find. Barta sees the discovery of Khentkaus III as another stone in the grand mosaic.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Fatimid dome of Al-Maadawi in Aswan was severely damaged when a crane collapsed on it on Tuesday. written by / Nevine El-Aref
A Fatimid-era dome in Aswan was severely damaged on Tuesday when a crane fell on it during construction work. The crane fell on the Al-Maadawi dome in the Fatimid cemetery, causing several parts of it to collapse.
“It is a great loss,” Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online. He went on to say that the ministry has taken all legal procedures and filed a police report against the crane driver. He said he had assigned an archaeological and scientific committee to inspect the damage and suggest reconstruction solutions.
“Restoration work is to start as soon as the committee has finished its inspection and written its report within two days,” Eldamaty asserted. Other procedures are to be taken to preserve the cemetery and prevent similar accidents, he added.
Eldamaty said the German archaeological mission, which has been working at the site since 2006, is to participate in the restoration work. Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, assistant to the head of the Islamic Antiquities Department, explained that the Fatimid cemetery is one of the most important archaeological sites in Aswan. It is located in front of the eastern gate of the Nubia Museum.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
A unique cruise choice on the Nile, the Steamship Sudan is the most peaceful way to travel on the river. Please note that the majority of guests and crew will be French-speaking, although an English-speaking guide will be provided.
Built in 1885, for King Fouad, this steamship has had many eminent guests over the years. Agatha Christie was inspired to write Death on the Nile after travelling on the boat and decades later, the S/S Sudan provided the set for many of the film’s scenes.
For More Images Visit Our Website
* Vol. 09: Zein Dahabiya, Nile Chateau on the Nile River
* Vol. 10: SB Feddya :A unique way to cruise the Nile
* Vol. 10: SB Feddya :A unique way to cruise the Nile
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