Thursday, December 29, 2016

Short Story: Grand Egyptian Museum Design Awarded

A journey towards ancient Egyptian culture will be the main theme of the Grand Egyptian Museum’s exhibition design, writes Nevine El-Aref.

In the halls dedicated to hosting the collection of the golden boy king Tutankhamun at the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza, officials from the Ministry of Antiquities and local and international media people gathered this week to mark the announcement of the company that has won the bid to produce the new museum’s exhibition design.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enany announced that the German company Atelier Brückner had won the tender launched six months ago to start building the exhibition design of the GEM.

The Ministry of Antiquities had launched a tender almost six months ago among 20 international and local companies. A committee that included Egyptian and foreign experts in architecture, museology, law and administration had evaluated the work of the tendering companies and made a short list of four from the United States, France, Canada and Germany. Atelier Brückner then won the bid.

“The soft opening of the GEM is scheduled for mid-2018, but we are working hard to reach December 2017,” Al-Enany said, adding that the official opening was planned for 2022.

Supervisor-General of the GEM Tarek Tewfik said that the winning company was an outstanding global company in the field of designs for exhibitions and museums. It has implemented 316 projects in different countries and won more than 200 international awards in the field.

The company is to design both the grand staircase hall and the two halls dedicated to display Tutankhamun’s funerary collection at the GEM. The grand staircase hall will put on show a collection of 100 royal colossi, blocks and reliefs, among them the gigantic colossus of Ramses II transported in 2006 to the GEM from Ramses Square in downtown Cairo.

The halls of Tutankhamun’s collection will display the funerary collection of the boy king, which includes 5,000 artefacts among them 3,000 objects that have never been put on display before. These items, Tewfik said, were stored in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square. He told Al-Ahram Weekly that the new halls were 7,000 metres square and would be divided into four areas each representing a chamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

“This is the suggested idea from which the main design of the Tutankhamun halls will be created,” Tewfik said, adding that the cost of the design was included in the overall cost of the GEM project.

“We were very honoured to be invited to attend this bidding process, and of course to finally win it. We will do our best to perform in the best possible way to make the dream come true,” Uwe Rudolf Brückner, founder and creative director of Atelier Brückner, told the Weekly.

 The company is a leading design office for museums and exhibitions, architecture, expo pavilions, brand and visitor centres. “As a general planner we cover all design phases and disciplines — exhibition design/fit out, architecture, scenography, graphics, lighting, media and content — through all design phases,” Brückner said. “We have created 11 different designs for museums as well as a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions worldwide.”... READ MORE.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

News, Cairo: Endowments Ministry to Exhibit Its Treasured Collection at Al-Manial Palace

Rare manuscripts, documents and antique copies of the Quran from the ministry's collection will go on display for the first time. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Manial Palace
The treasured collection of Egypt's ministry of endowments is to go on display at Al-Manial Palace in Cairo, with many historic documents and religious texts on show to the public for the first time.

Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa conducted an inspection tour of the various palace halls ahead of the exhibition, which is a collaboration between the ministries of antiquities and endowments.

Gomaa said the exhibition will include priceless endowment documents and rare versions of the holy Quran never before put on show. Also to be displayed at the palace — which was built for Prince Mohamed Ali — are photographs of two Qurans that belonged to the Prophet Mohamed's companions Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and Osman Ben Afan. The texts themselves are being exhibited at Al-Sayeda Zeinab library.

Another Quran going on display is more than 900 years old. Gomaa said that text includes a summary of the number of times each letter of the alphabet appears in the Quran. A document outlining the regulation of endowments will also be on display, said Gomaa. "It asserts that the endowment is not a sum of money without an owner. On the contrary, no one could sell or buy it," he said.

He went on to explain that the exhibition will also display a collection of maps showing endowments all over the world. The most distinguished document is an atlas dating back to 1918, which shows all endowments in Egypt, with information on their location and surface area.

Gomaa said the choice of Al-Manial Palace as a venue for the exhibition was "perfect", because its architecture, interior design and decorations suit very well the topic of the exhibition.  Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany asserted that the halls dedicated to the exhibition are now ready to recieve the objects for display.

While no start date for the exhibition has been confirmed, the organizers say it will be opening soon. El-Enany also called on the ministry of endowments to organize further activities at archaeological sites in order to highlight them and encourage tourism. Elham Salah, head of the museums department, and Aalaa Al-Din, head of Al-Manial Palace, escorted both ministers during the tour.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

News: Ticket Discounts at Ancient Egyptian Sites for Holidays, Through January

Antiquities ministry announces 20% discount on Luxor Pass and Annual Visitor Pass. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Nefertari لإomb (Reuters)
Egypt's antiquities ministry has announced a 20 percent discount on passes allowing access to archaeological sites around Egypt over the Coptic Christmas period and New Year, and through the month of January.

The discounts, which apply to the Luxor Pass and Annual Visitor Pass, are aimed at encouraging more foreign visitors to visit Egypt and celebrate the feast and New Year at archaeological sites, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany told Ahram Online.

The move is also intended to lure more Egyptian visitors to archaeological sites, thus helping to boost awareness of their distinguished cultural heritage. Somaya Benyameen, head of the ministry's financial department, told Ahram Online that the Luxor Pass provides access to all archaeological sites and museums in Luxor for a period of five consecutive days. 

Benyameen said there were two main categories of Luxor Pass, with varying prices for foreign visitors. One category, including entry to the royal tombs of Queen Nefertari and King Seti I, costs $200 or €180 before the discount, with a student rate of $100 or €90. The second category, which excludes access to the two royal tombs, normally costs $100 or €90, with students paying $50 or €45.

The Annual Visitors Passes, meanwhile, include all open archaeological sites and museums across Egypt, with several options available. The first is for foreign diplomats and foreigners who work in international and multinational companies in Egypt. With the tombs of Queen Nefertari and King Seti I, this costs before the discount $340 or €310. Without the two royal tombs, the price drops to $240 or €220.

The second option is for foreign residents in Egypt, normally costing $390 or €360 with the two tombs, and $290 pr €260 without them. Annual passes are also provided for Egyptians and Arab residents in Egypt, costing just EGP 400, or EGP 100 for university students. School pupils and Egyptians over 60 of age are allowed free entry.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Back Home, Jordan: Egypt Receives Over 300 Smuggled Artifacts from Jordan

The artifacts, which include stone statues and ancient coins, will be sent to the Egyptian Museum's depot for renovation.
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities said it received on Sunday 340 artifacts that were smuggled out of the country and intercepted by Jordanian customs last year.

Jordanian authorities had informed their Egyptian counterparts in late 2015 that the artifacts were discovered in a shipment that arrived from the Red Sea port of Nuweiba, according to Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the head of the ministry's Antiquities Department.

"The artifacts, which include stone statues and ancient coins, will be sent to the Egyptian Museum's depot for renovation," Abdel-Gawad added.

The Jordanian and Egyptian governments signed in 2015 an agreement of joint cooperation to conserve and recover stolen cultural properties and combat illegal trade in artifacts.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

News, Cairo: Work Continues at National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation Ahead of January Soft Opening

Renovation work is underway at the temporary exhibition hall at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), which overlooks Ain El-Sira lake in Fustat, ahead of the museum’s soft opening day scheduled for mid January. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany embarked on a tour on Tuesday around the different sections of the hall to inspect the latest work. During his tour, El-Enany told Ahram Online that the soft opening, scheduled for 10 January, includes the opening of the temporary exhibition hall, which will have on display an exhibition on handicrafts and Egyptian industries along the span of history under the title “Crafts and Industries through the Ages.”

The soft opening will also include the inauguration of the service area, which includes a cinema, theatre and a cafeteria. Saeed Mahrous, supervisor-general of the NMEC, told Ahram Online that the exhibition will have on show a collection of some 400 artefacts showcasing the traditional Egyptian techniques used in the making of clay, jewellery, textiles and wood carvings.

Mahrous says the objects were chosen from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Coptic museum in Old Cairo, the Museum of Islamic Art in Babul Khalq, as well as the Textiles Museum in Al-Muiz Street, the Alexandria Jewellery Museum and Al-Fustat store galleries.

The exhibition will also illuminate the continuation and development of ancient crafts into modern times. “This exhibition is a step towards NMEC’s third and final stage along the road to opening, which includes the museum’s 23,000 square metre exhibition hall,” concluded El-Enany. “The exhibition... will be organised by the chronology and geography of the artefacts,” said Saeed, adding that a multimedia electronic guide will be available to visitors.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Discovery, Aswan: Archaeologists Find Compelling Evidence for New Tombs at Qubbet Al-Hawa Site in Aswan

The Newly Discovered Wall
An ancient Egyptian encroachment wall uncovered below the visitors’ pathway at Qubbet Al-Hawa suggests additional tombs to be found. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

During excavation work carried out below the visitors’ pathway in the northern part of the west Aswan cemetery, at Qubbet Al-Hawa site, archaeologists from the University of Birmingham and the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) Qubbet Al-Hawa Research Project (QHRP), stumbled upon what is believed to be an ancient Egyptian encroachment wall.

Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities Mahmoud Afify told Ahram Online that the wall is two-metres high and is part of the architectural support of the known tombs of the first upper terrace, including those of Harkhuf and Heqaib who were governors of Elephantine Island during the Old Kingdom.

Given the landscape of Qubbet Al-Hawa, he explained, the support wall helped to secure the hillside and thus lower lying tombs that were accessible by a causeway leading to a second terrace.

Nasr Salama, general director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, described the discovery as “stunning,” adding that it is now only a matter of time until new tombs are uncovered within the important cemetery.

Qubbet Al-Hawa Site
“This find is likely to change our understanding of the ancient funerary landscape of Qubbet Al-Hawa,” said Essam Nagy, co-director of the QHRP and director of the EES office in Cairo, adding that the project's future plan is to follow the wall over its entire length in coming field seasons

Eman Khalifa, director of the pottery project within QHRP, said that early studies on the discovered pottery shreds embedded within the mortar used to build the wall show the exact dating of the wall.

The studies, she continued, reveal that the crushed pieces include parts of carinated bowls executed in style typical of the reign of King Pepi II from the Sixth Dynasty (c 2278-2184 BC), together with pieces of Marl Clay jars typical of the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom. “Thus indicating the expansion of the cemetery during the latter part of both periods,” Khalifa pointed out.

Mission director Martin Bommas of the University of Birmingham said that the find was part of the project's successful first field season, which included the recent discovery of the long sought causeway of Sarenput I, first governor of the area at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Back Home, UK: Stolen Relief of Queen Hatshepsut Recovered from London

The limestone relief was stolen from Luxor and smuggled out of the country in 1975. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities received from London on Tuesday a limestone relief that was stolen from Queen Hatshepsut’s temple in El-Deir El-Bahari in Luxor and illegally smuggled out of the country. 

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the ministry’s Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the relief was stolen from the temple in 1975 and resurfaced earlier this month at a small auction hall in Spain, where is was bought by a British antiquities dealer.

Abdel-Gawad said that, in collaboration with the British Museum and Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Antiquities proved Egypt’s rightful ownership of the relief and repatriated it.

He explains that the relief was stolen from one of the most important and distinguished ancient Egyptian temples of the New Kingdom, and that it will be returned to its original place in the temple.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Back Home, UAE: Egypt Antiquities Ministry Receives Two Stolen Islamic-Era Lamps from UAE

Officials Examine Recovered Lamps
(Photo: Nevine El-Aref)
The Ministry of Antiquities officially received on Thursday two Islamic-era Egyptian lamps that were recovered last week from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Written By/ Nevine El-Aref

The antiquities ministry received the lamps in a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters on the Nile Corniche in Cairo.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the lamps were stolen from the store gallery of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in 2015, along with two other lamps.

The thieves replaced them with replicas.

Abdel-Gawad explained that one of the two lamps recovered from the UAE belonged to the 19th century Prince Soleiman Agha Selehdar, while the other belonged to The Mamluk Sultan Al Nasir Hassan (1334–1361).

The third of the stolen lamps belonged to 14th century Mamluk Sultan Barquq and was recovered from London in 2015. The fourth lamp is still missing.

  • To Read All Back Home Antiquities Posts Click Here 
  • Sunday, December 18, 2016

    News: Security Measures Tightened at all Egypt's Archaeological Sites and Museums - Official

    Antiquities authorities are tightening security measures at archaeological sites in the aftermath of Sunday Cairo church bombing. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    Mostafa Amin, general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, has ordered on Thursday security tightened at all archaeological sites and museums across Egypt in the wake of Sunday's deadly bombing in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Cairo, which left 25 dead and more than 40 injured.

    Amin told Ahram Online that he ordered all top officials in the ministry to coordinate efforts with the Tourism and Antiquities Police, National Security Agency, the Armed Forces, and the Civil Defense Authority in order to respond to any potential attack at heritage sites.

    “All archaeological sites and museums are safe and well protected by police and security personnel,” Amin asserted.

    Friday, December 16, 2016

    News: Sex changes, Ancient Egypt and Contemporary feminism at the Brooklyn Museum

    Mummy Mask of Bensuipet, Deir el-Medina,Egypt
    (around 1292–1190 BC)cartonnage 
    (Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum)
    Recent research explains why women masqueraded as men on their coffins.

    Can contemporary feminism help us understand ancient Egypt? 
    Absolutely, according to a new long-term collection exhibition opening at the Brooklyn Museum today, 15 December. A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt (through 2018)—part of the museum’s exhibition cycle A Year of Yes, which celebrates the tenth anniversary of its Elizabeth A. 

    Sackler Center for Feminist Art—answers “a long-term problem that puzzled Egyptologists before feminist ideas were present”, says the show’s curator, Edward Bleiberg.

    The riddle: why are ancient Egyptian women sometimes depicted with male attributes, such as red skin, and referred to in masculine pronouns on their coffins?
    The answer could come from the Egyptologist Kathleyn M. Cooney, whose research factored in sexuality and gender. Through the “use of colour symbolism and language, women can overcome the difficulty that the ancient Egyptians believed women would have to be reborn into the next world”, Bleiberg says. 

    Amarna King (around 1352-1336 BC), limestone, paint, 
    gold leaf, gift of the Egypt Exploration Society 
    (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)
    This obstacle was the idea that only males could generate a foetus, which they passed to females during intercourse. Thus a woman would need to be “changed into a man briefly, so that she could recreate herself, and changed back into a woman, so she could be reborn”, Bleiberg explains.

    The show demonstrates this concept with a coffin from the museum’s collection (around 1292-1190 BC), which portrays the deceased with male skin (conventionally red) on the coffin’s exterior—addressed by four gods using a masculine pronoun—and with female skin (conventionally yellow) on the mummy’s mask.

    Around 230 objects from the museum’s collection are on view, including pieces never before exhibited, like a collar with Atum, a male god who created the world all on his own. 

    There is also a statuette of Atum holding his erect phallus in his hand, which is a feminine word in Egyptian. “This is the way [he created the world]—quite literally, masturbating,” Bleiberg says.

    Other objects, like two wooden statues, show that females are once again treated as women when they enter the afterlife, despite their portrayal with male attributes on their coffins. 

    Statuette of a Woman (around 1390-1353 BC), wood 
    Photo: Jonathan Dorado, Brooklyn Museum
    There are also statues of Osiris and Isis, the original male-female pair who miraculously conceived their son Horus despite Osiris being killed and dismembered. “Once you enter into [the ancient Egyptian] system within their understanding of reproduction, then everything else they do makes perfect sense,” Bleiberg says.

    But contemporary viewpoints like feminism can be a key to understanding this system. “In the course of my own career as an Egyptologist, I’ve seen the way second-wave feminism has impacted the way we interpret Egyptian material,” Bleiberg says. 

    “When I was in graduate school in the [1970s], the way we asked questions and answered questions about the role of women in ancient Egypt was completely different from the way it is now.” 

    Who is asking the questions is also important, he adds, noting that half of his classmates were women, unlike in earlier generations of Egyptologists.

    “It’s really a different world than it was 40 years ago,” Bleiberg says. “We’re just so much better able to appreciate the contributions of all people than we were before.”

    Thursday, December 15, 2016

    Short Story: A Historic Agreement

    The United States and Egypt signed a historic agreement this week aimed at thwarting the trafficking of antiquities, with artifacts being recovered from the US, Switzerland and the UAE, writes Nevine El-Aref.

    For the first time, the United States has signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egypt to impose restrictions on the importation of illicit antiquities into the US from Egypt. The MoU outlines the types of objects that require legal permits to enter the US and also involves law-enforcement training to assist in recognizing artifacts and antiquities that may be illegally smuggled into the country.

    It was signed earlier this week in Washington by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Since 1983, the US has signed bilateral agreements with 16 countries, half of them in Central and South America. Egypt is the first Middle Eastern and North African country to sign such an agreement with the US.

    According to the MoU, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the Ministry of Culture, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the US government would have to return to Egypt any material on a designated list.

    It would also need to use its best efforts to facilitate technical assistance in cultural resource management and security to Egypt under available programs particularly in the public and/or private sectors as well as inform the Egyptian government of all seized Egyptian artifacts once they enter American territory through diplomatic channels.

    Abdel-Gawad said that Egypt should strengthen mechanisms to promote best practices in cultural resource management and should encourage coordination among the country’s cultural heritage, tourism, and religious authorities, as well as its development agencies, in order to ensure the enforcement of laws that protect heritage sites from encroachment, unsanctioned appropriation, looting, and damage.

    Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enany described the MoU as “very important” because it would help Egypt protect its priceless heritage and support the country in its fight against illicit antiquities trading and smuggling.

    Within the framework of MoU, the Egyptian Embassy in Washington has already repatriated four artifacts that were stolen and illegally smuggled out of Egypt to the US. The objects date to the Late Pharaonic Period and include a mummified hand, a painted child sarcophagus, a gilded mummy mask, an anthropoid lid of a wooden sarcophagus decorated with different religious scenes, as well as a painted linen mummy shroud decorated with a collar.

    These artifacts, Abdel-Gawad said, were seized as part of an extensive, five-year antiquities trafficking operation launched by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities named "Operation Mummy's Curse" in 2009. The mummy hand had arrived in a parcel at Los Angeles International Airport in January 2013 as a sci-fi movie prop. But officials noticed that the hand was part of an ancient Egyptian mummy, he said.

    According to the National Geographic magazine’s website, investigations in Operation Mummy’s Curse were led by US Homeland Security Investigations and the ICE in 2008 when federal authorities were alerted to an artifact offered for sale by New York-based antiquities dealer Mousa Khouli.

    “The artifact appeared identical to an object in the hands of a man in a photograph accompanying a 2003 article on the looting of the ancient site of Isin in Iraq,” the National Geographic wrote, adding that some 7,000 artifacts from countries including Egypt, Iraq, and Yemen were ultimately seized, along with more than $80,000 and a 9mm handgun.

    “Four men were eventually indicted in the case, with antiquities dealer Khouli sentenced to six months home confinement, up to 200 hours of community service, one year of probation, and a $200 fine. A collector, Joseph Lewis II, had all charges dismissed following a 12-month deferred prosecution agreement with the government,” the Website said.

    In April 2015, ICE handed over dozens of other artifacts to Egypt, including a nesting sarcophagus the agency had recovered from a garage .... READ MORE.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2016

    News: Egyptian Antiquities Minister Cancels Luxor Museum Celebration After Coptic Cathedral Bombing

    The minister will inaugurate Monday an exhibition to mark Luxor Museum's 41st anniversary, but the celebration to follow has been cancelled after Coptic Cathedral bombing. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany will inaugurate a temporary exhibition to mark the 41st anniversary of Luxor Museum on Monday but the planned celebration afterwards has been cancelled after Sunday's bombing at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo.

    El-Enany condemned recent terrorist attacks, including an explosion this morning at the St Mark Cathedral in Abbasiya that killed at least 25 people, as well as Friday's attack targeting police safeguarding a mosque in Giza's Haram district.  "Both attacks are criminal acts that violate the principles of all religions and moral values in targeting innocents and soldiers protecting the nation," El-Enany told Ahram Online.

    He expressed his condolences to Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the ministers of defence and interior, as well as the families of the victims and all the Egyptian people. El-Enany cancelled the celebration marking the 41st anniversary of Luxor Museum, but the temporary exhibition, in planning for several months ago, will open as scheduled. The minister will also inspect several archaeological sites in Luxor.

    Elham Salah, head of the Ministry of Antiquities' Museums Department, said that the exhibition is to last 60 days and put on show a collection of 40 ancient Egyptian artefacts that were unearthed at King Amenhotep III Temple on Luxor's west bank.

    Houring Sourouzian, director of the Conservation Mission of the Amenhotep III Temple Project, said that among the most important objects on show are the seated double life-sized statue of King Amenhotep III discovered during excavation work carried out in 2009 at the entrance of the Great Peristyle Court of the temple, and the red granite fragment depicting a scene showing a Nubian prisoner.

    The exhibition will also feature a collection of amulets, stelae, scarabs and remains of clay vessels of different sizes and shapes. Luxor Museum was originally opened to pubic in 1976 and was subsequently developed and enlarged twice, in 1989 and 2003. It is an air-conditioned museum on two levels and is designed to create individual vistas at strategic positions to encourage an organised, uninterrupted flow of visitors.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2016

    News: New International Fund for Protecting Heritage in Armed Conflict Areas

    The creation of a US$100 million international fund to safeguard endangered cultural heritage in areas of armed conflict was one main outcome of this week’s Abu Dhabi Conference. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    On the initiative of French president François Hollande and Abu Dhabi crown prince sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, an International Conference for the Protection of Endangered Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Areas (ICPECHACA) was held late last week under the patronage of UNESCO in Abu Dhabi.

    The two-day Conference brought together heads of state and ministers from over 40 countries affected by heritage loss due to armed conflicts, alongside key players involved in the field of heritage preservation, international public and private institutions, museums and private donors engaged in the field of cultural heritage, as well as experts working in the field.

    After various speeches, commentaries and presentations, the Conference launched a Declaration on the Protection of Endangered Heritage that endorsed the creation of a new International Fund for the Protection of Heritage with an initial contribution by France of US$30 million and the objective to collect US$100 million in the future. It also recommended a follow-up conference in 2017 to help assess the implementation of the initiatives outlined in the Abu Dhabi Declaration.

    According to a UNESCO press release, Hollande said that the “Fund will provide much-needed resources to protect heritage under attack and will be managed in close collaboration with UNESCO and respect UNESCO Cultural Conventions and international norms.”

    “One year ago, we adopted the Paris Climate Agreement at the COP21 Conference for the preservation of our planet and for future generations. Today, we adopt this Abu Dhabi Declaration, with concrete measures and new tools to protect the legacy of our ancestors. This is a call to action, as there is no greater responsibility than that of building bridges between the past and the future of humanity,” Hollande said…. READ MORE.

    Monday, December 12, 2016

    News, Luxor: Antiquities Minister Cancels Visit to Luxor After Cathedral Bomb

    Temporary exhibition at Luxor Museum to proceed but inauguration celebration has been cancelled. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany cancelled a scheduled visit to Luxor on Monday in the wake of the bomb attack at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral a day earlier which killed at least 23 people.

    El-Enany had been scheduled to inaugurate a temporary exhibition marking the 41st anniversary of Luxor Museum, and to visit a number of antiquities sites in the governorate.

    The minister had initially announced on Sunday that the inauguration would go ahead and only a celebration following the event would be cancelled.

    El-Enany has condemned the bombing at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral complex, as well as a similar bomb attack on Friday which killed six police personnel in Giza.

    "Both attacks are criminal acts that violate the principles of all religions and moral values in targeting innocents and soldiers protecting the nation," he told Ahram Online.

    Elham Salah, head of the Ministry of Antiquities' Museums Department, said that the temporary exhibition at Luxor Museum is to last 60 days and put on show a collection of 40 artifacts that were unearthed at King Amenhotep III's temple on Luxor's west bank.

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

    News, Giza: German Company to Design GEM Exhibit Scenario

    German company Atelier Bruckner has won a tender with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to design the display scenario at the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which overlooks the Giza Plateau. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    Atelier Bruckner is a leading global company in the field of architectural designs for exhibitions and museums.

    The company has implemented 316 projects in countries around the world and has won over 200 international awards in its field.

    The Ministry of Antiquities had launched a tender for the job for 20 international and local companies, 10 of which applied for the tender.

    Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany had appointed a professional committee, including scientists and experts, to evaluate which company would be best suited for the job.

    The committee narrowed down the selection to four companies, of which Atelier Bruckner came out on top.

    Friday, December 9, 2016

    New Discovery, Luxor: Statues of Lioness Goddess Sekhmet Unearthed in Luxor's Kom El-Hettan Excavation

    Egyptian archaeologists excavating the Mortuary Temple of King Amenhotep III in Luxor have unearthed a number of statues of the goddess Sekhmet, daughter of the ancient Egyptian sun god Re, project director Hourig Sourouzian told Ahram Online on Thursday. Written By / Nevine El-Aref.

    Sekhmet Bust
    "They are of great artistic quality" Sourouzian said of the statues, which were found in four parts, including three busts and one headless torso, in the Kom El-Hettan archaeolical area on Luxor's west bank. Sourouzian oversees the work of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, which is working to save the remains of the more than 3,000 year-old temple and eventually restore its dispersed artifacts to the site, to be presented in their original layout.

    The project director said her team found the Sekhmet pieces in very good condition, buried in the temple's hypostyle hall—a roofed hall supported by columns. Several other statues of the goddess have been found previously on the same site.

    According to Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet was charged with defending her father Re against enemies. The many statues of the goddess in the temple of Amenhotep III would also have been intended to protect the ruler from evil and disease, Afifi told Ahram Online.

    Headless Bust of Goddess Sekhmet
    "All statues of the goddess are now stored in warehouses supervised by the Ministry of Antiquities for security reasons,” Afifi said, adding that when excavations at the temple site are completed and the site is opened to visitors, the statues will be placed back in their original setting. In addition to the statues of Sekhmet, Sourouzian's team have uncovered large pieces of sphinxes carved in limestone, as well as a small torso of a deity in black granite, within the vicinity of the funerary temple's third pylon. 

    “The sphinxes are in bad state of preservation and will need to be treated before being exposed,” she said. Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany is set to travel to Luxor on Monday, to inspect the newly discovered statues and attend the opening of a temporary exhibit to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Luxor Museum.

    The exhibition will display a collection of 40 artifacts discovered by archaeologists on the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project. The artifacts will include a collection of amulets, Greco-Roman coins, remains of clay pots and religious stelae—stone tablets or columns erected as tombstones or boundary markers.