Thursday, September 29, 2016

News: 'Revealer of Secrets': Zahi Hawass's New TV Show on Archaeology to Launch in October

Former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass launches TV programme on archaeology October 20, in an effort to promote tourism and raise cultural awareness in Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Beginning October 20, Egyptian audiences will be treated to a new programme on Egyptian archaeology hosted by former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass, titled "Kashef Al-Asrar" (Revealer of Secrets). In collaboration with renowned Egyptologists, the programme will launch on Egyptian satellite channel Al-Ghad.

At a press conference held on Wednesday at a luxurious hotel on the banks of the Nile in Cairo, Abdel Latif El-Manawi, head of Al-Ghad channel, told attendees that the programme will broadcast first to the Arab region, before being launched abroad.

El-Manawi describes the programme as an effort to raise cultural awareness in Egypt, as well as promote the country abroad, encouraging tourism by displaying its distinguished heritage and the customs and traditions of ancient Egyptians—industry, fashion, and cultivation systems, to name a few.

Hawass tells Ahram Online that the idea of the programme is to link several topics from ancient Egyptian civilisation to the present time, showing the evolution of cultural practices.

For example, he continues, if an episode covers customs of fashion and jewellery, the first segment will show how the ancient Egyptians dressed while the second gives insight into the world of contemporary Egyptian fashion, with input from well-known Egyptian designers.

“I've had the idea for such a programme in mind for many years, but due to the high budget required, I kept the idea dormant,” Hawass says, adding that in 2007 the required budget for such a programme was EGP 11 million. Ultimately El-Manawi was the only producer able to bring the dream to life on almost half the budget.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Discovery, Matariya: New Discovery Points to A King Ramses II Temple in Matariya

Ramses Anointing Divinity
New discoveries at the Matariya archaeological site near Heliopolis suggest the existence of a temple from the 19th dynasty of Ramses II. Posted By/ Ahram Online.

The Egyptian-German Archaeological Mission at Matariya archaeological site discovered new evidence that may lead to a temple of King Ramses II.

Dr Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, stated that this evidence was found about 450 metres to the west of the obelisk of King Senusret I in Matariya. 

It was discovered when the mission stumbled upon a number of blocks from the temple courtyards and fragments of the temple statuary.
Sundisc from Ritual Scene
Afifi explained that a new group of large blocks was yielded in the southern part of the area. They show King Ramses II anointing a divinity. His name is rendered by a rather rare variant “Paramessu.”

Dr. Aymen Ashmawi, the co-director of the mission, said that the recent find was part of the decoration of the innermost rooms of the temple. Further groups of relief fragments attest that King Ramses II was the builder of this temple.

"It confirms the hypothesis that Ramses II showed special interest in Heliopolis in the later decades of his long reign of almost 70 years," Dr Ashmawi said.

In addition, Dr. Dietrich Raue, the co-director of the mission, reported that in the second area of excavations – located in the southeast of the innermost enclosure of the temple – houses and workshops from a mid-Ptolemaic stratum are under excavation. 

Other discoveries in the area include faience amulets and metals, Dr. Raue reported.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Re-Opening, Luxor: Ramses II Eastern Temple is Open to Public after Restoration

Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of antiquities, has just opened officially Ramses II eastern temple in Karnak temples complex. 

The temple was restored by Egyptian restorers who did mechanical cleaning to some walls as well as putting together fragments of stones and statues including a statue of Osiris. 

The restoration also included removing the old black cement used for previous restorations and restoring columns and walls using modern reversible techniques.

The Ramesses II temple is located at the far eastern side of the present day Amun temple complex in Karnak. Built around the Unique Obelisk, the temple consists of a gateway and pillared hall with a central false door. Two side doors led to the obelisk. In front of the temple is a later addition of a porch, which has now fallen.

The eastern temple of karnak, also known as “Temple of Amon-Re, Who hears Prayers” was originally built by Ramses II and decorated between year 40 and year 46 of Ramses II’s reign. 

The temple was later modified by Taharqa (690 BC - 664 BC) and Ptolemy VIII (170 BC – 163 BC). The masonry has revealed that the temple hides previous structures. This former edifice could be the work of Horemheb.

The columns of the hypostyle hall, which have probably been in place since the Thutmosis Period and were transformed by the Ramesside intervention, suggest also that a Thutmosis structure was still there.

Sdm nht is the principal epithet—but not the only one—which indicates that the king as the god listens to the prayers in this sector of the Karnak Temple complex. Some tenuous indications suggest that divine justice, as corollary of the listening of the prayers, could have been applied in the temple by means of a processional bark before the Ptolemaic Period; during the reign of Ptolemy VII, there are indications that justice was administered in the temple.

News, Cairo: Egyptian Museum's 'Piece Of The Month' Contest Looks To Military History For October

A Group of Lancers
This month's contest on Facebook highlights the role of the Egyptian army during ancient history. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

To mark the anniversary of the 6 October victory in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian Museum has selected nine artifacts from its collection that highlight the Egyptian army in ancient times to be put to the vote on Facebook for its “October piece of the month.”

The director-general of the museum, Sabah Abdel-Razek, explained that the selected objects show the role of the Egyptian army during ancient times and the weapons they used in their battles against invaders.

The selected artifacts are diverse and include a group of Egyptian lancers carved in wood from the tomb of Prince Mesehti in Assiut; a limestone statue of the 11th dynasty Theban Antef, chief general of King Mentuhotep II, seated and wearing a wig; and an alabaster statue of the 18th dynasty King Tuthmosis III, who created the largest empire that ancient Egypt had ever seen, conducting seventeen army campaigns.

Tutankhamun's Ostracon
Tuthmosis Statue
The statue shows the king kneeling offering nu pots and wearing the nemes, the famous pharaonic striped headdress, and the ureaus, the snake ornament worn by Egyptian pharaohs. Another artifact included is one of King Tutankhamun’s eight shields, which shows the king holding a scimitar ready to kill two lions.

Also included are the head of Nakhtmin, chief general from the reign of Tutankhamun, and a statue of Nakhtmin and his wife Tiy, seated with an offering table in front of them. 

Two limestone ostraca from the 19th and 20th dynasties are also among the selected objects. One shows King Ramses IV on his chariot catching Syrians and Africans, with a lion attacking another Syrian captive. On the back of the ostracom a bull is depicted.

The second depicts King Ramses IX with two prisoners. Beside him the god Amun holds out a falcon and gives him an ankh and was sceptre in support. Coins representing military victory and the courage of the army are also featured.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Short Story: A Cruise Fit For A King

Was Khufu’s second solar boat intended for a Nile cruise rather than to transport the pharaoh through all eternity, asks Nevine El-Aref.

Conservation work of the newly uncovered beam from Khufu’s
second boat (photos: Khaled El-Fiki)
The newly revealed wooden beam with pieces of metal on it that has been taken from the pit of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s second solar boat on the Giza Plateau has raised controversy over the original use of the boat.

Was it intended to transport the deceased king throughout eternity as was once thought? Or was it simply a Nile cruiser?

Why did the beam with metal pieces on it not exist in the first boat, now on display in a special museum on the Giza Plateau? What was the function of the pieces? Are they oar-holders, as has been suggested? Or were they used to link ropes like those found in the Middle Kingdom port of Marsa Wadi Gawasis in Sinai?

There is no evidence available that might serve to answer these questions, but scientific consultant to the Khufu’s second solar boat project Mohamed Mustafa Abdel-Meguid told Al-Ahram Weekly that Egyptologists were actively seeking a solution. “The discovery of Khufu’s boats on the Giza Plateau in 1954 raised controversy over their original usage in antiquity, but the recently uncovered beam with the metal pieces on it in the king’s second boat pit has added even more mystery,” Abdel-Meguid said.

Over half a century after the discovery of the first boat, scholars are still debating its purpose. Some say the vessel is a solar barque that Khufu would have used in his persona as the sun god Re during his daily voyages across the sky and that it was never intended for use on water. 

Others say the ship was a funerary craft to transport Khufu’s mummy on the Nile to the Giza necropolis, or a ceremonial vessel used by the king on pilgrimages to holy sites.

“Like much else surrounding this magnificent creation, its function remains an enigma,” Abdel-Meguid said, adding that the newly found beam in Khufu’s second boat added more mystery to the enigma. The beam was unique, he said, and nothing like it had been found in Khufu’s first boat or in other ancient boats discovered elsewhere. 

“Although the remains of boats found in Marsa Wadi Gawasis in Sinai contain copper pieces, these are of different shapes and sizes,” he said, adding that the metal pieces found in Khufu’s second boat were C and U-shaped, while the ones at Marsa Gawasis were rounded and used to tie the sail ropes and fix the beams together.... READ MORE.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

News, Luxor: Archaeological Conference, Second Hall of Tomb of Karakhamun to Open in Luxor

A conference on current archaeological research on tombs and temples of the 25th and 26th dynasties in Thebes is to be held in Luxor on Sunday. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany is set to inaugurate on Saturday a number of archaeological sites, as well as the second round of the “Thebes in the first millennium BC” conference in Luxor. The conference is organised by the South Asasif Conservation Project in conjunction with the Ministry of Antiquities and the Egypt Exploration Society.

Mahmoud Afifi, head of the ancient Egyptian department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the conference will feature presentations from 46 Egyptian and international scholars and has attracted close to 200 participants. The main focus of the conference, he said, is current archaeological research on tombs and temples of the 25th-26th dynasties in the Theban area.

Papers on other Egyptian sites and monuments of the Kushite and Saite periods are also invited from all areas of research including archaeology, art history, history, chronology, religion, linguistics, and anthropology. The conference will also feature discussion panels to facilitate communication.

The conference will be accompanied by field trips to archaeological sites related to the period, including the Kushite and Saite tombs of the South Asasif necropolis, North Asasif Necropolis and Karnak temple. On the fringe of the conference, Afifi said, the minister of antiquities is to inaugurate the Second Pillared Hall of the tomb of Karakhmun, a high-ranking official of the 25th dynasty, after its restoration.

The tomb of Karakhamun is the first fully reconstructed room in the ruined Kushite tomb re-discovered by the South Asasif Conservation Project, directed by Dr. Elena Pischikova, in 2006.

Pischikova said that the Egyptian-American mission is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with important discoveries in the tombs of Karabasken, Karakhamun and Irtieru, as well as well as a massive amount of conservation and reconstruction work. One of the main goals of the project is the conservation and reconstruction of ancient monuments in their original location and opening them to Egyptian and foreign visitors... READ MORE.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Short Story: ‘The Story of Egypt’ - A look At A Gender-Bending Society Where Women Could Rule

Joann Fletcher, the author of “The Story of Egypt,” has an unusual academic specialty: “world mummification and funerary archaeology.” No doubt her area of expertise partly explains why her book focuses so heavily on ancient monuments and archaeological matters at the expense of anecdotal history and general observations about society and culture.

Nonetheless, “The Story of Egypt” is, for all its dryly factual tone, passionately revisionist throughout. Fletcher repeatedly presents evidence that a woman could become a full-fledged pharaoh by succeeding a husband or ruling in conjunction with one. Among earlier historians, the cross-dressing Hatshepsut was regarded as a shocking anomaly when she assumed the kingship, but Fletcher shows that sexual identity, at least among the ancient Egyptian ruling class, was as fluid as it is becoming in our own 21st century. For example, Nefertiti — whose sculptured face is one of the most recognizable icons of antiquity — was also regarded as a true pharaoh and not just a consort to her husband, Akhenaten. Royal women were sometimes even represented with fake beards and male accoutrements.

Consider, too, that “The Sayings of Ptahhotep” — a self-help manual of moral philosophy as well as the earliest book to survive from antiquity — sternly advises its readers “not to have sex with a lady-boy.” Such a stricture usually indicates a widespread practice. Even the pharaoh Pepi II, despite three sister-wives, apparently preferred clandestine evenings with his general, Sasanet. To me, most shocking of all is the fate of the beautiful Nitocris.

As some readers will know, Tennessee Williams’s first published work — it appeared in Weird Tales magazine when he was 16 — was titled “The Vengeance of Nitocris” and retells the clever way its romantic heroine destroys the people who had literally torn her beloved brother to pieces. In fact, Fletcher tells us, new archaeological evidence proves Nitocris to have been a man, although mistakenly “considered female for the last two and a half thousand years.” Similarly, the Sphinx was also long regarded as female — I certainly always believed the ­eerie monument to be so — but initially it bore the face of the male pharaoh Khafra.

While Fletcher’s subtitle declares that Egypt’s was “the civilization that shaped the world,” her book doesn’t really make that case. But, amid the dry wadis of data, one does find all kinds of neat details: “The Stone Circle of Nabta Playa is a far smaller version of Stonehenge. But at more than 2,000 years older, it is the world’s oldest known calendar.” The average life span in those days was a shockingly brief 35 years. Egypt’s first known cat was “buried with its male owner at Mostagedda around 4000 BC.” The legendary King Narmer has traditionally been credited with uniting Egypt’s northern half with its southern “to create the world’s first nation state.”

His consort Neithhotep is the first named woman in history. Narmer apparently met his death by, of all things, being carried off by a hippopotamus. Fletcher notes, “while this may simply be a euphemism for the forces of chaos the hippo represented, it may possibly have been a historical fact.”…. READ MORE.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

News: Egypt's Fifteenth Edition of The Cahier De Karnak Out

The Ministry of Antiquities launched the fifteenth edition of the Cahier de Karnak in collaboration with the French Egyptian Center for Karnak Temple studies. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Within the framework of the ministry of antiquities efforts to encourage scientific publicaltion, the fifteenth edition of the Cahiers de Karnak  was released.

The new edition is the product of cooperation between the ministry and the French-Egypitan Center for Karnak Temples Studies.

Hussein Bassir, director general of Scientific Publication at the ministry, told Ahram Online that  this edition is devoted to studies and research on a variety  topics related the Temples of Karnak.

Bassir explained that the periodical, which is issued annually, usually features a variety of studies in French and English, in addition to summaries translated into Arabic.

Cahiers de Karnak also carried studies of stelae and chapels such as the chapel dedicated to the god Khonsu between the Mut Temple and the Nile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Re-Opening, Minya: Upper Egypt's Malawi Museum to Reopen Thursday

The Malawi Archaeological Museum in Minya is to be officially reopened on Thursday by Minister of Antiquities after three years of rehabilitation work. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
One of The Museum Collection
The Malawi Archaeological Museum in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya has been a hive of activity over recent weeks, with curators, restorers and exhibition design specialists all busy at work to meet the museum’s scheduled re-opening on Thursday

Workers are cleaning the dust from gigantic colossi, and curators are placing labels at the foot of artefacts as others install descriptive panels beside showcases. Restorers are on the scene inspecting the condition of every object.

“Finally after three years of rehabilitation work the Malawi Museum is in the limelight again, with a little twist,” head of the Museums Department at the Ministry of Antiquities Elham Salah said.

She said the two-storey museum building had been overhauled and its indoor decoration and design renewed. The first floor was formerly dedicated to displaying the museum’s treasured collection and the second floor for administration.

Curator Organising Artifacts in Showcases
But the new design concept of the museum no longer depended on placing artefacts next to each other to illustrate ancient Egyptian civilisation, she said. Instead, it provided a broader educational service to visitors and sent out messages that would raise archaeological awareness and loyalty towards Egypt.

It informed Egyptian visitors about how their ancestors had built such a great civilisation through showing daily life, industries and culture, she said.

“This is a new philosophy that the ministry of antiquities is adopting in order to turn the country’s regional museums into more educational, cultural and productive institutions,” Salah said, adding that the idea was for these museums to help educate people about culture, religions and politics.

Egypt’s regional museums had sometimes not fulfilled their true potential because they had often displayed objects without a thematic storyline. This had meant that they had not always attracted their fair share of visitors.

“Every regional museum should reflect the city or town in which it is located,” Salah said, explaining that in the new Malawi Museum, for example, the exhibition design provided clear information about the history of Malawi and Minya and the role these had played in Egyptian civilisation.

The museum has a permanent exhibition of 425 artefacts, some of them from its former collection while the rest have been carefully selected from the Al-Ashmounein and Al-Bahnasa storerooms in the Minya Museum.

The exhibition is divided into sections displaying Minya residents’ daily lives in ancient times and the utensils they used in their houses for cooking as well as the tools they used to make goods and those used for cultivation and trading.

The museum has sections on clay pots and pans, textiles, medicines and writing styles. Panels explaining the development of tools in the area are on display, as is information on how the ancient Egyptians used natural and artificial light. Jewellery is on display in one section of the new museum, shown through a display of make-up containers, wigs, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Ancient Egyptian religious rituals are highlighted in the new museum, since Minya was a main centre of the monotheistic religion introduced by the pharaoh Akhenaten in ancient times. A collection of mummified animals is also on display to show visitors that the ancient Egyptians not only worshipped animals but were also very fond of them…..READ MORE.

Monday, September 19, 2016

News: Maintenance Work Complete at Qalawoun Complex After Rising Water Levels Caused Damage

The Qalawoun complex is among the magnificent structures erected during the Mameluk period in Egypt. Writen By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The Ministry of Antiquities has concluded maintenance work at Cairo’s Sultan Qalawoun complex on El-Muizz Street, where damage was caused by a rising level of subterranean water due to a blockage in one of the water pipes.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director-general of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told Ahram Online that the maintenance work started a month ago after subterranean water under the Qalawoun complex increased beyond its normal level.

Abdel-Aziz said the ministry took steps to identify the cause of the problem, discovering that the rise in water levels was due to blockage in one of the drinking water pipes.

Wadalla Abul-Ela, the head of the Projects Department at the ministry, said that the pipe was cleared and the level of subterranean water has returned to normal. The Qalawoun complex is among the magnificent structures erected during the Mameluk period in Egypt. 

The complex, built by Sultan Qalawoun on a plot of land by the western Fatimid Palace in 1284, consists of three buildings; a Madrassa (school) a Mausoleum, and a Bimaristan (hospital). An archaeological engineering committee from the ministry is currently reviewing every inch of the complex to identify and repair water damage, including fixing cracks in the walls, reducing the level of humidity and cleaning out salts accumulated on the walls.

Abul-Ela pointed out that in 2007, the ministry restored the Qalawoun complex with a budget of EGP 37 million.  The restoration work included the consolidation of the complex's walls and soil as well as the restoration of its wood works and decoration.
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Short Story: Games from Ancient Egypt

Amira El-Noshokaty investigates the children’s games today’s Egyptians have inherited from their ancestors.

It is sometimes said that if you really want to know about a nation, look at the attention it pays to its children. As people flock to see the relics of ancient Egyptian civilisation at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo they could do worse than look carefully at the children’s toys and board games amid all the grand statues and other objects.

These items reveal a lot about the civilisation that made them, particularly in the excellence and attention to detail shown in them.

According to a recent book, Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders by Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi and Alex de Voogt, the “culture of board games in Egypt has long been a topic of interest for archaeologists, anthropologists and lay people alike, the climatic conditions of the Nile Valley allowing the preservation of perishable materials.”

On the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in the corridor that leads to the display of the funerary items found in the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, there are some very interesting ancient Egyptian royal toys.

There is the toy box of Tutankhamun himself, a white wooden box with a round handle so that the royal baby does not hurt himself when handling it. The box is very like those used today for children to keep their toys in while tidying up their rooms.

The display also contains a small wooden toy in the shape of a monkey, its arms and legs being mobile so the monkey can move up and down. Next to the monkey are two cone-shaped objects representing toy bread from ancient Egypt. There are also children’s rattles made of rope and palm leaves to keep infants safely entertained. Like a modern rattle in concept, these ancient ones are softer and more eco-friendly…. READ MORE.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Recovered Artifacts, Mexico: Egyptian Statuette Recovered from Mexico is Authentic - Antiquities Ministry

The Recovered Ushabti Figurine
Nevine El-Aref writes: After a week of studies and analysis, the Ministry of Antiquities has confirmed the authenticity of an Ancient Egyptian Ushabti figurine newly recovered from Mexico.

Shabab Abdel-Gawad, the head of the Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the statuette was found one month ago by Mexican citizen at his newly purchased house. The citizen handed over the statuette to the Egyptian embassy in Mexico.

After its return to Egypt, the artifact was studied by an archaeological committee of curators and restorers from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

Abdel-Gawad says that the artifact, which has been dated to the 19th dynasty, was smuggled out of the country following illegal excavation.

The statuette is carved in wood and engraved with hieroglyphic text showing the deceased name “Ra-Nes” and that "he was honest". The artifact is currently undergoing restoration at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

News: Egyptologist Hawass Tours the United States to Promote Tourism in Egypt

Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass embarked on a tour around the United States to promote tourism to Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Hawass and Mekhemar
Renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass embarked on a tour around the United States to promote tourism to Egypt.

The first leg of his trip was in Los Angeles, where Egypt's Consul General Lamia Mekhemar organised a gala reception at Egypt's consulate. The event was attended by a number of Egyptian and American politicians, actors and other prominent figures.

Among the attendees were actors Peter Weller, David Gordon and Jacqueline Bisset, as well as Fox channel director David Hill and Egyptian actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa Mahmoud Kabil.

During the reception, Hawass delivered a lecture on ancient Egyptian civilisation and the new development project of Giza Plateau, and called on Americans to visit Egypt.

"Egypt is very safe and the return of tourism is a call to whole world to help in the restoration of the country's unique heritage," Hawass said, inviting all the actors in attendance to participate in the upcoming Cairo International Film Festival, to which the actors agreed. The second leg of his trip will be in San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

News, Giza: Egypt's Antiquities Minister Attends Lifting of Newfound Beam of Khufu's Second Boat

The newly found wooden beam may be the oars holder of King Khufu's second solar boat.

El-Enany, yoshimora,Zidan inspecting the beam at the laboratory
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Sakuji Yoshimura, director of the Japanese restoration team, were witness Wednesday to the lifting of a newly-discovered wooden beam of Khufu's second solar boat from its pit located to the north of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The beam is eight metres long, 40 centimetres wide and four centimetres thick, with a number of U and L shaped metal pieces scattered over its surface. After lifting it, the beam was taken to the laboratory created on the Giza Plateau by the Egyptian-Japanese Khufu Second Boat Project. 

El-Enany, Yoshimura and restorers inspected the beam, which will be subject to preliminary restoration in order to reduce its humidity to 55 per cent before it is then treated to consolidate its strength.

El-Enany and Zidan inspecting the beam
 inside the pit
"This may be the beam that once held the oars of Khufu's second boat," Eissa Zidan, director of restoration in the project, told Ahram Online, adding that the beam was found during excavations carried out inside the pit on the boat's eighth layer. 

He explained that it is too early to decide the original function of the beam, but that experts are sure that it is unique and not found in Khufu's first solar boat, now on display in a special museum on the Giza Plateau.

"What we can expect for now is that the beam may be the oar holder and the metal pieces may be frames to hold the oars and prevent friction with the boat body," Zidan said. He added that further study and excavation inside the pit would help Egyptologists know more about the beam.

El-Enany described the discovery as “very important” in revealing secrets about Khufu's boats. He said the Japanese excavators and restorers were working hard with their Egyptians colleagues to protect one of Egypt's most distinguished treasures. 

He pointed out that when all the beams are lifted and restored the team would reconstruct the boat and put it on display with the first solar boat at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau.

El-Enany at the pit witnessing the lifting
Until now, Mamdouh Taha, supervisor of the Khufu second boat project, said a collection of 700 wooden beams were recovered from the pit and 681 of them were restored in situ. A collection of 404 of the restored beam were transported to the GEM store waiting to be reconstructed.

The initial discovery of the second pit was in 1954. The first boat was removed piece by piece under the supervision of restoration expert Ahmed Youssef, who spent more than 20 years restoring and reassembling the boat.

The second boat remained in situ inside its pit until 1987 when it was examined by the American National Geographic Society in association with the Egyptian Office for Historical Monuments.

In 2009, a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University headed by Yoshimura offered to remove the boat from the pit, restore and reassemble it and put it on show to the public.

El-Enany, Zidan and Taha inspecting other parts of the boat
The team cleaned the pit of insects and inserted a camera through a hole in the chamber’s limestone ceiling in order to examine the boat’s condition and determine appropriate methods of restoration. After the lifting Wednesday, El-Enany embarked on an inspection tour around the Giza Plateau to check on work in progress amid the Plateau Development Project.

Ashraf Mohi, director general of the Giza Plateau, told Ahram Online that the development work aims at transferring the entrance to the Plateau to the Fayoum Road, where a visitor centre would be constructed to host visitors and give them information about the plateau and the monuments its displays before starting their visits.

The project, he continued, would also create a route for a taftaf (small electric train) to take visitors in a tour around the plateau's distinguished monuments. New administration and inspectorate buildings would be constructed through the project, as well as a new lighting and security systems.

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Discovery, Alexandria: Roman and Islamic-Era Artifacts Accidentally Unearthed in Alexandria

Four Roman and Islamic-era artifacts were discovered at the garden of the American Consulate in Alexandria and handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities. Written By/ Nevine El Aref.

The Ministry of Antiquities received four artifacts that were accidentally unearthed beneath the American Consulate in Alexandria, including three roman marble columns and an Islamic-era water well holder.

Ali Dahi, the director-general of the ministry’s Archaeological Collection Administration, told Ahram Online that the objects were found in the garden of the American Councillor during routine maintenance work.

The column and the water well holder
The American Consul immediately reported the find to the ministry, who in turn assigned an archaeological committee to determine the authenticity of the objects.

Dahi said that the artifacts are genuine and are now in the possession of the ministry, which referred them to the Kom El-Shokafa archaeological inspectorate for restoration and documentation. 

Dahi added that the artifacts are well preserved.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Missions working in Egypt, South Asasif Conservation Project: The Discovery of The Burial Chamber and Sarcophagus of The Mayor of Thebes and Forth Priest of Amun, Karabasken (TT 391) (25th Dynasty)

The monumental red granite sarcophagus of Karabasken discovered by the team is a unique example of a Kushite sarcophagus in an elite tomb.

The descent to the burial chamber was found in the center of the cult room, which features six niches on the north and south walls and remains of the false door on the west wall. Excavation work in this area has revealed an angled descent, 900cm long and 225cm wide, leading to a burial chamber (574cm x 354cm x 406cm). 

The burial chamber was filled with flood deposit up to the ceiling. Clearing of the burial chamber uncovered a monumental red granite sarcophagus occupying almost the whole space of the room.

The dimensions of the sarcophagus are as follows: Height 241cm ( base 163cm, lid 77cm), Length 306cm, Width 130cm, Thickness of the base 18cm. The base of the sarcophagus is a rectangular box with a rounded head end. The lid is vaulted with a convex upper surface and an almost flat lower surface.

It is decorated with a single horizontal band 27cm in width. No inscriptions were found on the exterior surface of the sarcophagus.

The base and the lid show deliberate damage in the head area and on the left side close to the foot end. This is evidence of two attempts to break into the sarcophagus. The interior of the sarcophagus was flooded after the first attempt.

The architectural features of the descent and the burial chamber were evidently designed to lower down and house a large sarcophagus contemporary to the original tomb. The royal features in the burial apartment and sarcophagus of Karabasken are a manifestation of the Kushite revival of past traditions and assimilation of royal and temple features in the elite tombs of this period.