Saturday, April 28, 2018

News, Luxor: Karnak Temple Will Soon Be Accessible to The Disabled - Egypt's Antiquities Minister at Luxor Ceremony

The southern axis of Karnak, which links it to the Avenue of Sphinxes, is also set to open for the first time. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In recognition of both World Heritage Day and Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali's declaration of 2018 as the year of Egyptians with disabilities, Egypt's Antiquities Ministry on Friday announced that Karnak Temple would soon be accessible to the disabled.

Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany and Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr toured around Karnak Temple and its southern axis in order to examine the latest work at the site. The visit was attend by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, top ministry officials, members of Egypt's Parliament and ambassadors of foreign countries to Cairo.

El-Enany told Ahram Online that special visitors' pathways were created throughout the temple to ease the visits of those with physical disabilities. Special signs for the disabled were also installed. The additions make Karnak Temple the first archaeological site in Egypt to be more friendly to those with special needs. The project was carried out in collaboration with an NGO named Helm (Dream), which advocates on behalf of disabled Egyptians.

El-Enany also inspected ongoing work to link the temple's southern axis with the Avenue of Sphinxes. The southern axis runs north to south and extends from the courtyard of the Karnak cachette in front of the seventh pylon all the way to the 10th pylon. Waziri noted that this is the first opening of the southern axis to tourists.

Mostafa Al-Sagueer, director of the Karnak Temple and the Avenue of Sphinxes development project, said that the project is in full swing in hopes of opening soon. He added that the ministry carried out the project in collaboration with the Engineering Authority of Egypt's armed forces.

Friday, April 27, 2018

News, Luxor: Ramses II Colossus Revealed in Egypt's Luxor After Restoration

The colossus of Ramses II was unveiled at Luxor Temple as part of Ministry of Antiquities celebrations of the World Heritage Day. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Ministry of Antiquities celebrations of World Heritage Day extended to Luxor as Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr inaugurated a new display at Luxor Museum after the transfer of 122 artefacts from the King Tutankhamun collection at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the ministry, said that the new display includes of 186 artefacts that were recently discovered by an Egyptian archaeological mission at Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank. The objects include a collection of ushabti figurines (statuettes), painted mummy masks, anthropoid sarcophagi jewelleries, and a beautifully carved statuette of Isis Nefret, the singer of the god Amun.

El-Enany and Badr then went to Luxor Temple to unveil the colossus of King Ramses II after restoration. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the colossus once adorned the façade of Luxor Temple but collapsed during a destructive earthquake in antiquity.

He continued that the restoration and reconstruction of the colossus took almost six months in collaborate with the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces and Luxor Governorate who provided the restoration material required.

Waziri added that the statue was found broken into 14 blocks of different sizes. The largest two were the head of the statue and the base, representing 40 per cent of the original colossus. The colossus is carved in black granite and weighs 65 tons at a height of 11.7 metres. It depicts Ramses II standing wearing the double crown, his left leg in front of him.

Ahmed Orabi, general director of Luxor Temple, said that the colossus was found during excavation works carried out by Mohamed Abdel Kader in 1958 to 1960, which also uncovered other colossi. 

This colossi is the second to be restored by the Ministry of Antiquities. The first was completed last year. It is carved in black granite, weighs 75 tons and stands at a height of 11 metres. It depicts Ramses II wearing the double crown, his left leg in front of him. Beside him stands a 1.5 metre statue of his wife, Queen Nefertari.

Monday, April 23, 2018

News, Cairo: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities Will Not Remove Historical Pulpits From Mosques

The ministry has denied as unfounded reports that it would remove 55 pulpits from mosques in Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In a statement, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has denied that it will remove 55 historical pulpits from Islamic mosques in Egypt, describing the reported news as unfounded.

Secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri said the ministry has not and will not remove any historical pulpits from Islamic mosques in Egypt. It only transferred the lanterns of Al-Refaie Mosque after seven of them were stolen but recovered three weeks later in January 2017.

It also removed one pulpit of Abu Bakr Mozher Mosque after parts of the metal decorations of its door were stolen a week ago.

Waziri pointed out that in January 2017 the Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities decided to document all artefacts inside Islamic mosques in an attempt to protect and preserve them.

The lanterns of Al-Refaie Mosque were taken to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), scheduled to be partly open by the end of 2018.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

New Discovery, Upper Egypt: Rare Oririan Temple and Marble Head of Marcus Aurelius Unearthed in Luxor and Aswan

Egyptian archaeologists made the surprise discoveries recently at the temples of Karnak and Kom Ombo. Wriiten By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian archaeological missions in Upper Egypt have made two rare discoveries, unearthing a marble head of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Aswan and an unusually positioned Osirian temple in Luxor.

The Luxor discovery was made at the southern side of Karnak Temples’ tenth pylon, with archaeologists revealing architectural elements of a Late Period shrine dedicated for god Osiris-Ptah-Neb.

The well-preserved find consists of an entrance, foundation remains, columns, inner walls and ruins of a third hall located at the eastern side. Paving stones from the shrine floor were also uncovered, along with other extension structures built during a later period.

Essam Nagy, head of the archaeological mission, described the discovery as important because the shrine is not located on the eastern or northern side of the Amun-Re temple in line with the ancient Egyptian belief. Rather, it is on the southern side, pointing to the importance of the Osirian belief at that time.

Also uncovered were a collection of clay pots, remains of statues, and a winged frame relief decorated with offering tables bearing a sheep and a goose. The relief, Nagy said, bears the name of kings Taharka and Tanut Amun, the last ruler of the 25th Dynasty.

In Aswan, meanwhile, an Egyptian mission working to reduce the subterranean water level at Kom Ombo Temple uncovered a marble head of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Aymen Ashmawi, head of the ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the head depicts Emperor Aurelius with wavy hair and beard. He describes the head as "unique", saying that statues of the Roman ruler are rare. The head is now in the archaeological store, awaiting restoration and preservation work.

Monday, April 16, 2018

New, Giza: Luxor Museum's Tut Collection Moved to Grand Egyptian Museum.

A collection of 122 artifacts from the King Tutankhamun collection previously housed at the Luxor Museum was successfully transported to its new home in the Grand Egyptian Museum late Tuesday night. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A gilded bust representing the cow goddess Hathor
The collection includes baskets, boxes, a wooden chair, a bed and a chariot, among other pieces. Among the most treasured, is a gilded head of the goddess Hathor, according to Tarek Tawfik, Supervisor General of the GEM.

A number of other artefacts shed light on funerary ritual practices and daily life during Tutankhamun's roughly ten-year reign.

Eissa Zidan, head of restoration at the GEM, told Ahram Online that all pieces had been restored before transportation and were packed over a period of nine days and according to the latest scientific techniques.

He added that a Japanese team of archaeologists helped the Egyptian team in packing and transporting Tutankhamun's funerary chariot in a specially-designed vehicle to protect against vibrations.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, located on the Giza plateau, is set to open later this year.

Friday, April 13, 2018

News, Giza: Portuguese President de Sousa And Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Tour Giza Pyramids

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany gifted the Portuguese president with a replica of King Khufu's funerary boat. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
El-Enany, De Sousa and Tawfik at the GEM
Accompanied by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and his diplomatic delegation toured the monuments of the Giza plateau and both Egyptian museums on Friday.

At the plateau they visited the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, and the panorama area where El-Enany spoke to President de Sousa and his delegation on the greatness of ancient Egyptian civilization.

De Sousa and the delegation expressed their fondness for Egypt's distinguished heritage and insisted on documenting their visit by taking photos in front of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx.

The group also toured the Grand Egyptian Museum's conservation centre and lab for wooden artifacts which currently houses the recently transferred King Tutankhamun collection.

They also visited the lab for heavy artefacts, which houses the colossi of Kings Amenhotep III and Menkaure, which will soon be displayed in the museum's grand staircase and atrium, respectively.

The Portuguese president and antiquities minister also viewed the royal mummies' hall and the Golden King collection at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. El-Enany gifted de Sousa with a replica of King Khufu’s boat crafted by the replicas unit at the ministry.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Discovery, Cairo: New Discovery in Matariya Shed Light on The Shape of King Psamtek I Colossus

A frieze of falcons found in the temple
The 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's colossus reveal its original size and shape. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Egyptian-German excavation mission at Matariya, Heliopolis, uncovered roughly 4,500 fragments of King Psamtek I's quartzite colossus, parts of which were first discovered last year at the nearby Souq Al-Khamis archaeological site.

Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian antiquities department at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said that these fragments, along with the previously discovered 6,400 pieces, allow researchers to calculate the original size and shape of the colossus, which was deliberately destroyed.

One of the uncovered fragments 
“The new fragments confirm that the colossus once depicted King Psamtek I standing, but it also reveals that his left arm was held in front of the body, an unusual feature. A very carefully carved scene on the back-pillar shows the kneeling king Psamtek I in front of the creator-god Atum of Heliopolis,” Ashmawy told Ahram Online.

He added that the majority of the fragments were found in south of the colossus' pedestal. The temple area was left open, Ashmawy added, probably during the Fatimids Era when the temple walls were dismantled to be reused in several Islamic buildings.

Dietrich Raue, Head of the German mission, explained that excavation work was accompanied by a geomorphological and geophysical survey which revealed many fragments of a quartzite gate belonging to Ramses II and (1279-1213 BCE, 19th Dynasty) and Nektanebo I (379/8–361/0 BCE, 30th Dynasty) near the latter's temple in Matariya.

Raue pointed out that the geophysical survey had indicated a number of areas with a large number of fragments of the former temple. Within the four ruined walls of the temple, he said, some exceptional finds were made.

Among them were a fragmented frieze of falcons, part of a gate of Merenptah (1213-1203 BCE, 19th Dynasty) as well as parts of a colossal Ramesside sphinx carved in red granite.

“It seems evident that Nektanebo I added his building to a major temple built at an earlier date,” Raue told Ahram Online. The archaeologist asserted that excavation work in the area has led to the discovery of new room units from the mid-Ptolemaic era.

Some fragments reveal the known practice of reusing of older pharaonic temple items from previous periods during the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. The work was accompanied by archaeobotanical and archaeozoological studies for the identification of plant and animal remains at the site.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Discovery, Siwa Oasis: Remains of Graeco-Roman Temple Discovered Near Egypt's Siwa Oasis

An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has uncovered the remains of a Graeco-Roman temple while carrying our excavation work at the Al-Salam archaeological site, about 50km east of the Siwa Oasis. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Aymen Ashmawi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the mission uncovered the front part of the temple as well as parts of its foundations, its main entrance and one-metre thick stones from its outer wall. The outer wall leads to a front courtyard with entrances to chambers. 
Ashmawi said he expects the rest of the temple to be excavated this year. The head of the archaeological mission Abdel-Aziz El-Demery said that during the removal of the debris from the site, the mission uncovered architectural elements including upper lintels decorated with scenes, as well as parts of corner pillars decorated with the egg-and-dart architectural device common in the Graeco-Roman era.

El-Demery added that the mission also uncovered the remains of pots, coins, and a statue of a man with Greek facial features, as well as two limestone statues of lions, one of which is headless.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Our Exhibitions Abroad, USA: Under The Spell of Egypt

North America fell under the magic of the Ancient Egyptians this week, with two exhibitions being inaugurated in St Louis and Los Angeles, reports Nevine El-Aref.
St Louis and the City of Angels were seized by Egyptomania this week when the “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World” and “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibitions opened in the cities this week.

The St Louis International Airport, streets, shops, buses and hotels were all plastered with posters of granite colossi of the goddess Isis, the Nile god Hapi, Ptolemaic royal figures and the head of Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Julius Caesar, half buried in the seabed, for the Egypt’s Lost World exhibition.

Others showed divers coming face-to-face with monuments beneath the waves decorating sections of the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) façade, while a large 3D photograph of one of Napoleon’s sunken vessels dominated the main wall of the museum’s central courtyard and connecting the six grand galleries of the exhibition. St Louis, it felt, had come under the spell of the Ancient Egyptian sunken treasures.

The exhibition displays 293 objects excavated from beneath the Mediterranean. It was inaugurated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and SLAM Director Brent Benjamin in the presence of Egyptian MPs Osama Heikal, head of the Culture, Antiquities and Media Committee, and Sahar Talaat Mustafa, head of the Tourism and Aviation Committee.

Enormous care had been taken in recreating the Alexandrian theme.

The different galleries of the exhibition had been designed to resemble the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, and all the galleries were painted light blue and dark sandy-red to reflect the colours of the sea and sand.

Giant plasma screens showed films documenting the progress of marine archaeologists as they uncovered the mysteries of Alexandria’s ancient Eastern Harbour within the display theme.

A prologue and an epilogue provided information about the underwater missions of the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM) that discovered the treasures and the natural disasters that had led to the submergence of the area more than 1,000 years ago.

Benjamin had no doubt about the block-busting nature of the show in a city that already boasts one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian antiquities. “The first exhibition of these Egyptian treasures is one of the cultural highlights of 2018.

This exhibition will attract and enthrall St Louis inhabitants as well as their neighbours,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that he expected one million people to visit the exhibition during its six-month duration.

The museum has permitted only 200 visitors per hour in order to protect the monuments and provide people with a positive experience. “This week, for example, we succeeded in selling 1,000 tickets in only one day,” Benjamin said.

He described the exhibition as “very important for American audiences as it combines both archaeology and underwater aspects at one time. We grew up watching the TV specials of [French diver] Jacques Cousteau, and here they are combined together which makes the exhibition more compelling to Americans,” Benjamin told the Weekly.

He said the exhibition was a good opportunity for those who had not had the chance to visit Egypt, as it gave them an idea of Egypt’s great civilisation. It also encouraged others to visit Egypt. “As the minister said, these exhibitions are good ambassadors of Egypt,” Benjamin said.

Frank Goddio, head of the IEASM and leader of the underwater archaeological missions that recovered the artefacts, said the exhibition was an ideal opportunity to encourage people to visit Egypt and to explore its art and culture.

He told the Weekly that the aim of sending the exhibition to the United States was to open the new discoveries to the widest public and to encourage visitors from the United States.

He explained that the interior design of the exhibition was totally different from earlier outings in Paris and London. It had a different sonography focusing more on museological techniques and history than on a spectacular ambience, he said... READ MORE.