Monday, October 30, 2017

Recovered Artifacts, Hurghada: Hurghada Airport Officials Foil Attempt to Smuggle 18th-Century Coptic Icon

The antique religious object was seized at Hurghada International airport as a passenger attempted to smuggle it to Germany. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The trio icon
Antiquities officials at Hurghada International Airport foiled an attempt on Monday to smuggle an antique Coptic icon out of Egypt.

According to Naglaa El-Kobrosly, director of the Antiquities Units in Egyptian Airport, a passenger was attempting to smuggle the 18th century religious object to Germany.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Recovered Artifacts, Paris: France to Return 8 Stolen Ancient Egyptian Artifacts on Thursday

Archived Images
During Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to France, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced that France is set to return to Egypt eight ancient Egyptian artifacts that were illegally excavated and smuggled from the country.

The artifacts were seized in 2010 after they were found in the possession of a French citizen at a train station in France, a source from Egypt’s antiquities ministry told Ahram Online.

The artifacts were seized after the citizen failed to produce a deed proving ownership, and were sent to the Louvre museum for authentication. The artifacts are to be handed to the Egyptian ambassador to France at a gala ceremony on Thursday. Further details on the nature of the artifacts are expected to be announced after their arrival to Egypt, the source said.

News, Cairo: Historic Bab Al-Azab Site to Get Facelift From ARCE-Funded Restoration Project

The Ministry of Antiquities is to start a restoration and rehabilitation project for Bab Al-Azab area in Mediaeval Cairo, the scene of Mohamed Ali Pasha's infamous massacre of the Mameluks. Written By/Nevine El-Aref.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities has approved a project for the restoration of Bab Al-Azab, part of a Ministry of Antiquities plan to restore and develop a series of monuments in Historic Cairo.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director-general of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, said that the Bab Al-Azab restoration project is to be executed in three phases over a 10-month period, with a grant from the American Research Centre in Cairo (ARCE). He explained that the first phase aims to consolidate the monumental structures of Bab Al-Azab, as well as removing the debris and garbage that has accumulated in the vicinity.

The project will include minor restoration work on the two doors of the Bab Al-Azab, along with its woodwork and windows. The blocks of the walls will be maintained and consolidated in an attempt to prevent erosion prior to the start of comprehensive restoration work. The second phase, Abdel Aziz said, includes the full scientific documentation of every structure of the Bab Al-Azab, as well as preparing a plan for its restoration. Studies to rehabilitate the site and bring it back into use will also be provided. The third and final phase consists of workshops and seminars to prepare a plan for the preservation of the buildings. This will involve the establishment of a group of young archaeologists and architects, especially from the local community, to ensure the preservation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the area and its historic structures.

Bab Al-Azab is the gate that once protected the original entrance to the Citadel. It was rebuilt in 1754 by Abd el-Rahman Katkhuda, from which the brass-bound wooden doors date. The gate witnessed the massacre of the Mameluks conducted by Mohamed Ali Pasha in 1811.

Friday, October 27, 2017

News, Giza: Ptolemaic Crown Pillar To Be Transported To The Grand Egyptian Museum

The crown pillar, first discovered in 2009, will undergo restoration before exhibition. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Tlifting of The Crown
The crown pillar of King Ptolemy I is set to arrive within hours to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Al-Remaya Square from the Delta town of Samanoud, Tarek Tawfik, Supervisor General of the museum, told Ahram Online.

According to Tawfik, the crown is headed to the museum's laboratory for restoration and maintenance procedures before being placed on display within the GEM exhibition.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained that the crown pillar was uncovered while ministry representatives monitored the digging for the Samanoud City public hospital in 2009.

The piece was subsequently kept in situ until this week, when the hospital embarked upon the construction of an building extension. The ministry thus decided to relocate the crown to the GEM. Ashmawy told Ahram Online that the crown is probably the top of a pillar from the Ptolemaic gate in Samanoud. The surviving pillar and crown together are 9 meters tall. The crown alone weighs 10 tonnes.

According to Eissa Zida, Director-General of the GEM's first-aid restoration department, a plan was devised in consultation with other experts to remove the crown from the pillar. The decision, intended to ensure the artifact's secure transportation, was made in accordance with the Samanoud antiquities authority, the Ministry of Antiquities' engineering department, and the restoration department at the GEM.

Zida asserted that the team implemented the latest technological and scientific techniques while the lifting, packing, and transporting the crown. King Ptolemy I was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great who ruled Egypt starting in 323 BC, assuming the local title of pharaoh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

News: Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue Not on UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger - Ministry

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has released a statement denying reports on social media that Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue has been placed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Jewish Synagogue

Yasmin El-Shazly, the General Supervisor of the Department of International Organisations for Cultural and the International Cooperation, said in the statement that the site was declared endangered by the World Monuments Fund, a non-profit NGO that is not part of UNESCO.

El-Shazly said that according to the rules and regulations of this fund, any person or entity can nominate any archaeological building to be placed on the list of this fund without a scientific study proving that the building is in danger.

“The Egyptian government gives equal importance to all its monuments and heritage sites, whether Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Coptic or Islamic,” El-Shazly asserted.

El-Shazly said that the Egyptian government has allocated EGP 100 million to finance the restoration of the synagogue, which started in August and will last for eight months. El-Shazly added that this affirms the Egyptian government's keenness to protect and preserve the synagogue as part of Egypt’s heritage and identity.

Waadalah Abul-Ela, the head of the Projects Department at the antiquities ministry, said that the work on the synagogue aims to restore its architecture and fine decorative elements, as well as the lighting and security systems. The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is located in Nabi Daniel Street in downtown Alexandria and is the oldest synagogue in the city.

It was originally built in 1354 but was partially destroyed by the Napoleon expedition in 1798 in order to build a defensive wall from the Kom El-Dikka area to the Mediterranean. In 1850, the synagogue was reconstructed with contributions from the royal family.

Monday, October 23, 2017

New Discovery, Luxor: Coptic Tombstone Unearthed at Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor

The object is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian archaeologists in Luxor have stumbled upon a decorative Coptic tombstone buried on the eastern side of the Sphinxes Avenue, under Al-Mathan Bridge. The tombstone is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.

The exact date of the object has not yet been ascertained, nor the identity of the deceased. However, Mostafa Al-Saghir, director of the Sphinxes Avenue, said experts are now studying the tombstone find out.

The excavations in the Sphinxes Avenue are part of a Ministry of Antiquities programme to restore the area and transform it into an open-air museum. The avenue was the location for the procession of the Festival of Opet, which included priests, royalty and the pious, who walked from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. Some 1,350 sphinxes, with human heads and lion bodies, lined the 2,700-metre- long avenue, and many of them have been now been restored.

The avenue was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I to replace an earlier one built in the 18th Dynasty, as recorded by Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple. Hatshepsut built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of the avenue during her reign, demonstrating its longevity as a place of religious significance.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

News, Cairo: Attempt to Smuggle 19th Century Antiques to Lebanon Foiled By Egyptian Authorities

The Collection Subjected to Smuggling
The Badr City Antiquities Unit of Egypt's Customs Authority foiled an attempt Wednesday night to smuggle a collection of six 19th century porcelain pots and two metal jardinière to Lebanon. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Ahmed Al-Rawi, head of the Seized Antiquities Unit at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained that the items were seized at Badr City's dry land port, confiscated, and sent to the ministry because they fall under the legal category of Egyptian antiquities, which are protected by the Antiquities Law 117 of 1983 and its later amendment in law 3, 2010.

Ahmed Fatouh, Director of the Antiquities Units in Dry Land Ports, said that the collection includes a vase decorated with flora and fauna as well as a rose-colored tea set of five cups, complete with plates and a sugar container, which depict a European woman surrounded by plants.

Director of the Badr Antiquities Unit, Mamdouh Abu Amar, said that also among the confiscated lot were two metal jardinière bearing the monogram of Egypt's King Farouk. Illegally transported antiquities and heritage items are a common find at Egyptian ports.

El-Rawi told Ahram Online that authorities at Cairo International Airport recently seized original scripts for a well-known Egyptian radio program, "Tasali," which aired in the 1970s and 1980s and was presented by famous Egyptian anchor Inas Gohar.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Discovery, Sakkara: Head of Queen Ankhnespepy II Statue Discovered in Giza's Saqqara

The Discovered Head of The Queen
The wooden piece, probably depicting sixth-dynasty queen Ankhnespepy II, has been unearthed near her pyramid. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A French-Swiss archaeological team have unearthed the head of a wooden statute of Queen Ankhnespepy II (6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, around 2350 BC), near her pyramid in the Saqqara area in Giza.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the head is of almost-human proportions, and is around 30cm high. The ears are decorated with wooden earrings.

Professor Philippe Collombert, the head of the Geneva University mission, said that the head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen's pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered early this week.

Over the last two weeks, he said, the mission has uncovered the upper part of a granite obelisk that may belong to the queen's funerary temple, as well as the pyramidion of what may be an undiscovered satellite pyramid.

Collombert said that the head is not in good condition and will be subjected to restoration and documentation.

"It is a promising area that could reveal more of its secrets soon," Waziri told Ahram Online, adding that the mission is to continue its excavations in an attempt to discover the satellite pyramid and the rest of her funerary complex and collection.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Discovery, Abu Sir: Parts of A Ramses II Temple Uncovered in Giza's Abusir

Cartouche of Ramesse II. Courtesy of the Czech Institute of Egyptology
The newly uncovered temple in Abusir necropolis helps piece together the activities of Ramses II in the Memphis area. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Parts of a temple to King Ramses II (1213-1279 BC), along with reliefs of solar deities, have been uncovered by an Egyptian-Czech mission during excavation work in Abusir necropolis in the the governorate ofGiza

Mohamed Megahed, deputy to the mission director, told Ahram Online that the temple is located in an area that forms a natural transition between a terrace of the Nile and the floodplain in Abusir. He added that the temple is 32 by 52 metres and behind it was a large forecourt along with two identical and considerably long storage buildings to the right and left side of the complex.

Studies carried out so far, Megahed explained, show that it can be assumed that stone columns lined the side walls of the court, which was enclosed by mud brick walls that were in at least some places painted blue. The rear end of the court, a ramp or staircase leads to an elevated stone sanctuary whose back part was divided into three parallel chambers.

“The remains of this building, which constitutes the very core of the complex, were covered with huge deposits of sand and chips of stone of which many bore fragments of polychrome reliefs,” Professor Mirsolave Barta, director of the Czech mission, told Ahram Online. He pointed out that the fragments not only show the decorative scheme of the sanctuary, but also function to help date the entire complex.

A relief on which is engraved the different titles of King Ramses II was also found, as well as another connected to the cult of solar deities such as Re, Amun and Nekhbet.

“The discovery of the Ramses II temple provides unique evidence on building and religious activities of the king in Memphis area and at the same time shows the permanent status of the cult of sun god Re who was venerated in Abusir since the 5th Dynasty and onwards to the New Kingdom,” Barta asserted.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

News: Roma to Promote Tourism to Egypt

CAIRO – An agreement has been signed between the Italian club AS Roma and an Egyptian tourism office in Italy for launching a promotional campaign for tourism in Egypt.

This campaign will be the sponsor of the match between Napoli and Roma played on Saturday, using the match as an excellent platform to internationally promote tourism to Egypt.

The Italian player of Egyptian origins, Stephan Sha'arawy, will be the featured model of this campaign, as he will hand out the awards to the winners, giving them the chance to travel to Sharm El-Sheikh, Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam and Marsa Matrouh.

The Italian promotional campaign is hanging banners all around the Italian stadium about the best Egyptian cities, presenting a promotional video about Egypt on the main four mega-screens in the stadium.

For more publicity, promotional campaigns will be broadcasted on Italian television channels, such as Sky Clacio, a channel that has more than 5 million subscribers, and also on the official Italian club’s television Roma TV.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Discovery, Sakkara: Old Kingdom Pyramid Peak Discovered in Sakkara

A granite pyramid peak, probably belonging to Queen Ankhnespepy II, was unearthed in Sakkara. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Uncovered Pyramidion
A Swiss-French archaeological mission directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva has unearthed a large granite pyramidion, or pyramid peak, probably belonging Queen Ankhnespepy II, in the Sakkara necropolis.

This is the second discovery in a week by the Swiss-French mission, according to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.

The team previously unearthed the largest obelisk fragment ever discovered from the Old Kingdom, measuring 2.5 meters tall. This week's discovery measures 1.3 metres high and 1.1 metres wide on its sides. Its upper part is partly destroyed, but shows that it had been covered by metal foil, either gold or copper.

“The surface of the pyramidion’s lower part is not clean, as if it had been reused, or better, as if it had been left unfinished,” Collombert pointed out, adding that the area under the pyramidion is clearly smooth, and also shows the usual carved recesses that permit its fixation of top of the pyramid.

“We think that it is the pyramidion of the satellite pyramid of Queen Ankhnespepy II, as it was found near the place where we should expect the satellite pyramid to have been located,” Collombert told Ahram Online. He asserted that this fragment comrpised the only part of this secondary pyramid yet to be found. The queen's main burial pyramid was discovered in Saqqara in 1998.

The Head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, Ayman Ashmawy, said that the mission is progressing well this archaeological season, and that the new discovery suggests the team will soon locate the queen's complete funerary complex. Queen Ankhnespepy II (ca. 2288-2224 BC) was a 6th Dynasty consort of King Pepy I and the mother of King Pepy II.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

News, Luxor: Free Visit to Tutankhamun's Tomb, 17 October

To celebrate 200 years since the discovery of the King Seti I tomb, a free visit to King Tutankhamun's tomb will be available to Seti tomb visitors 17 October. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Ministry of Antiquities is offering visitors to King Seti I tomb in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor's west bank a free visit to the neighbouring King Tutankhamun's tomb.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the free visit would be only for one day, Wednesday, 17 October, for King Seti I visitors. He explains that the free visit to the Tutankhamun tomb comes within the framework of the ministry's celebration of the 200the anniversary of the discovery of the King Seti I tomb.

King Seti I ruled during the 19th Dynasty and his tomb is among the deepest and longest of all tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It is 100 metres long and was uncovered by Italian archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni in October 1817.

The tomb later became known as the "Apis tomb" because a mummified bull was unearthed in a side room off the burial chamber.

News, Giza: Tutankhamun's Second Bed Transferred to New Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza

The second ceremonial bed of King Tutankhamun was escorted on Monday from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza, in preparation for its soft opening in mid-2018.

The bed was moved using a specially made hydraulic vehicle to prevent any vibrations that might cause damage, with a team of 20 archaeologists supervising the process, said Tarek Tawfik, the GEM's general supervisor.

The first gilded bed and a funeral chariot from Tutankhamun's tomb were transferred last May as part of a plan to move 1,000 artifacts to the GEM.

The Grand Egyptian Museum had been scheduled to open in 2015, but its construction has been delayed due to the expense involved, amounting to more than $1 billion.

Located at the foot of the Giza Pyramids, the GEM is not yet complete. However, when it finally opens it will display the collections of the current Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square, including many objects that are kept in storage.

The new complex is expected to host more than 100,000 relics, including 4,500 items of Tutankhamun treasure discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Discovery, Cairo: The Lower Part of 26th Dynasty King Psamtik I Colossus Uncovered in Cairo's Matariya

The lower part of a statue of Psamtik I has been unearthed in Souk Al-Khamis area in Matariya district following earlier discoveries in March. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian-German Archaeological Mission uncovered most of the remaining parts of the recently discovered colossus of 26th Dynasty King Psamtik I (664-610 BC) while excavating at the temple of Heliopolis in the Souk Al-Khamis area of Matariya district in east Cairo.

Aymen Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department and leader of the Egyptian excavation team, told Ahram Online that the joint mission has unearthed around 1,920 separate quartzite blocks comprising the lower part of King Psamtik I colossus.

The mission is composed of archaeologists from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the Georg Steidorff Egyptian Museum at the University of Leipzig and the University for Applied Sciences, Mainz. 

"Early studies carried out on the newly found blocks of the colossus reveal that most comprise parts of the pharaoh's kilt, legs and three toes," Ashmawi pointed out. The studies also suggest that the buried colossus was constructed in a standing position, not a seated one, he stated.

The excavations were focused around the location in which the upper body of Psamtik's colossus had been found back in March 2017, according to Dietrich Raue, the head of the German archaeological team which participated in the mission. 

The statue's first part was found just to the north of its more recently uncovered lower part. Evidence suggests the sculpture had been destroyed at an uncertain date and its fragments scattered around a 20-meter diameter area.

Wider Discoveries

The team also uncovered numerous granite blocks that belong to other statues, including one of King Ramses II, the god Rahurakhti, and others yet unidentified. Ashmawy noted that the mission will continue to uncover more of the colossus' lower part during the next archaeological season. The coming find could reveal a total of 2,000 fragments and blocks.

Among the most prominent parts of the uncovered section, he said, is the back pillar engraved with the sacred Horus-name of Psamtik I, "a fact that confirm that the discovered colossus is that of King Psamtik I, and not King Ramses II as some suggested." Upon initial discovery, some archaeologists had believed that it may have belonged to King Ramses II, but the engravings on its back pillar dispelled that hypothesis.

The mission also found a gigantic fragment of the Eye of Horus which was likely a part of a larger statue of deity Rahurakhti. Ashmawy asserted that studies on the newly discovered eye fragment show that this statue could have been up to six meters tall, making it the tallest statue of the deity known from ancient Egypt.

Among the pieces of king Psamtik I's statue, Raue explained, the mission found a collection of red granite fragments of a King Ramses II statue engraved with his Horus name. Also found in the debris were fragments of a Late Period statue decorated with depictions of gods and demons in the style of the Horus-the-saviour stelae and statues. This kind of statue was commonly used in ancient Egyptian temples and believed to hold healing powers for ill individuals. At the northern edge of the area, Raue said, a poorly preserved eight-ton fragment was also extracted. Due to its deteriorated state, Egyptologists were not able to determine its exact dating or to whom it belongs.

Eissa Zidan, head of the restoration department at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), told Ahram Online that the newly discovered fragments of king Psamtik I's colossus were transported to the museum for cleaning, restoration and archaeological documentation. After a full study of the artifacts, Zidan noted, a plan will be devised to reconstruct the parts of the colossus and put it on display at the GEM.

The upper part of the colossus, which includes of the torso and a large part of the head and crown, is currently on display at the museological garden of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. Until its discovery last spring, it had sat under the water table in Souk Al-Khamis neighborhood, an area heavily congested with housing.

Al-Matariya was once Egypt's capital city, in which most Egyptian kings erected their monuments within its temples for about 2400 years. Because of the area's proximity to continued human settlement, the site was heavily destroyed in subsequent millenia, from Late Roman times onward to the Mameluk era and until today. Blocks of the area's ancient temples were re-used to build various monuments in Old Cairo, such as Bab el-Nasr and others.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

New Discovery, Saqqara: Archaeologists Unearth Largest-Ever Discovered Obelisk Fragment From Egypt’s Old Kingdom

Waziri and Collombert on Site
A Swiss-French archaeological mission at the Saqqara necropolis, directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva, has unearthed the upper part of an Old Kingdom obelisk that belonged to Queen Ankhnespepy II, the mother of King Pepy II (6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, around 2350 BC). Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Collombert said that the part of the obelisk that was unearthed is carved in red granite and is 2.5 metres tall; the largest fragment of an obelisk from the Old Kingdom yet discovered. “We can estimate that the full size of the obelisk was around five metres when it was intact,” he said. 

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the artefact was found at the eastern side of the queen’s pyramid and funerary complex, which confirms that it was removed from its original location at the entrance of her funerary temple.

“Queens of the 6th dynasty usually had two small obelisks at the entrance to their funerary temple, but this obelisk was found a little far from the entrance of the complex of Ankhnespepy II,” Waziri pointed out, suggesting it may have been dragged away by stonecutters from a later period. Most of the necropolis was used as a quarry during the New Kingdom and Late Period.

The Newly Discovered Obelisk 
Waziri said that the obelisk also bears an inscription on one side, with what seems to be the beginning of the titles and the name of Queen Ankhnespepy II. “She is probably the first queen to have pyramid texts inscribed into her pyramid,” Waziri said. He explains that before her, such inscriptions were only carved in kings' pyramids. After Ankhnespepy II, some wives of King Pepy II did the same.

Collombert says that at the top of the obelisk, there is a small deflection that indicates that the pyramidion (the tip) was covered with metal slabs, probably of copper or golden foil, to make the obelisk glint in the sun. The main goal of the mission, which was established in 1963 by Jean-Philippe Lauer and Jean Leclant, is to study the pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom.

Since 1987, the mission has also been excavating the necropolis of the queens buried in pyramids around the pyramid of Pepy I. This year, the mission is continuing work on the funerary complex of Queen Ankhnespepy II, the most important queen of the 6th dynasty.

Ankhnespepy II was married to Pepy I, and upon his death, she married Pepy I’s son, Merenre, from her sister Ankhnespepy I. Ankhnespepy II gave birth to the future King Pepy II. Merenre died when Pepy II was around six years old. Ankhnespepy II then became regent, and the effective ruler of the country, but did not go as far as to become pharaoh, as Hatshepsut did later on. “This is probably why her pyramid is the biggest of the necropolis after the pyramid of the king himself,” he said.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Discovery, Aswan: Ancient Wall Markings of Wild Animals Uncovered in South Aswan

Pre-Dynastic wall markings have been uncovered in Subeira Valley near Aswan. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

During an archaeological survey in the desert of Subeira Valley, south Aswan, an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities stumbled upon pre-Dynastic rock markings.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the markings can be dated to the late pre-Dynastic era, and were found engraved on sandstone rocks. They depict scenes of troops of renowned animals at that time, such as hippopotamuses, wild bulls and donkeys, as well as gazelles. Markings showing workshops for the production of tools and instruments were also found on some of the rocks.

Nasr Salama, director general of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, described the newly discovered markings as "unique and rare" in Egypt. He pointed out that similar markings were previously uncovered at sites in Al-Qarta and Abu Tanqoura, north of Komombo town.

"These markings helped archaeologists to determine the exact dating of the newly discovered ones in Subeira Valley," Salama asserted. He added that 10 new sections of wall markings at around 15,000 years old had been discovered.

Adel Kelani described the discovery as important because it dates to the same period of markings founds in caves in southern France, Spain and Italy, which confirms the idea that art and civilisation during that time spread from Africa to Europe and not vice versa.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

News: Antiquities Ministry Launches Initiative Promoting Museums, Sites at Egyptian Hotels

The ministry is hoping to promote Egypt's archaeological sites and museums via adverts and brochures in hotels. Written B/ Nevine El-Aref.

The ministry of antiquities is launching a new initiative in collaboration with hotels to promote museums and archaeological sites.

Elham Salah, head of the ministry’s Museum Department, told Ahram Online that the initiative started this week at one of Egypt's hotels, where a large advertisement was placed in the lobby.

The banner shows photos of the Museum of Islamic Art’s collection, its opening hours and a map of some of the country's archaeological sites. A collection of brochures about the museum will also be put in every room of the hotel.

"If the initiative proves success it will be extended to all hotels around Egypt," Salah said.

Monday, October 2, 2017

News, Alexandria: Menasce Synagogue in Alexandria to Be Added to Egypt's Heritage List

The synagogue in El-Manshia Square was built by Baron Yacoub de Menasce in 1860. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

According to Mohammed Metwali, general director of antiquities in Alexandria, the synagogue was built by philanthropist Baron Yacoub de Menasce in 1860. The decision by the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ board of directors comes after inspection and investigation of the synagogue’s architectural and archaeological conditions.

Mohamed Abdel-Latif, a deputy minister of antiquities and head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Department within the ministry, told Ahram Online that the decision came within the framework of the ministry’s keenness to add all Egyptian monuments to the country’s heritage list, regardless of era or religious affiliation. “All the monuments, whether ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Coptic, Islamic, on Egyptian land are the country’s properties and unique heritage,” he said.

Abdel-Latif explained that the registration of the synagogue, which is located in El-Manshia Square, will make it an official historical site under the antiquities protection law, law no. 117 of 1983, and under its amendments in law no. 3 of 2010. This legislation guarantee the ministry’s full responsibility for and protection of the site.

The decision comes after the Permanent Committee of Islamic Antiquities reviewed the scientific reports submitted by the archaeological committee which inspected the synagogue and noted its good architectural condition. The rectangular-shaped building is surrounded by a stone wall with a decorative element.

The main façade of the synagogue has two rows of windows and the interior is divided into two sections. The floors are paved with ceramic tiles, while the ceilings have domed shapes. Menasce was the first of four Menasce men who headed the Alexandrian Jewish community.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

New Discovery, Minya: Gypsum Head of King Akhenaten Statue Unearthed in Egypt's Minya

A British-Egyptian archaeological mission from Cambridge University has discovered a gypsum head from a statue of King Akhenaton (around 1300 BC) during excavation work in Tel El-Amarna in Egypt’s Minya governorate. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The head – which is 9cm tall, 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide – was unearthed during excavation work in the first hall of the Great Atun Temple in Tel El-Amarna, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri told Ahram Online.

Waziri says the discovery is important because it sheds more light on the city that was Egypt's capital during the reign of King Akhenaten, the 10th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty whose reign was among the most controversial in ancient Egyptian history.

The Cambridge University mission is led by archaeologist Barry Kemp, who started excavations in Tel El-Amarna in 1977 at several sites including the grand Aten Temple, the Al-Ahgar village, the northern palace, and the Re and Banehsi houses, according to director-general of Antiquities in Middle Egypt Gamal El-Semestawi.

The mission has also carried out restoration works at the Small Atun Temple and the northern palace.

Tel El-Amarna, which lies around 12 kilometers to the southwest of Minya city, holds the ruins of the city constructed by King Akhenaten and his wife Queen Nefertiti to be the home of the cult of the sun god Aten. The ruins of this great city include magnificent temples, palaces and tombs.