Wednesday, October 31, 2018

News, Cairo: China Signs Its First MoU with Egypt in the Archaeology Field


China's vice-president also visited Luxor and the Giza Plateau. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Amid his short visit to Egypt, China's Vice-President Wang Qishan witnessed the signing, along with Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Antiquities and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the archaeological field.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany signed the MoU with Chen Xingcan, director of the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in order to strengthen cooperation in the archaeological field, the training of archeologists and museologists, as well as increasing archaeological awareness among both Egyptian and Chinese citizens.

Starting November, the first Chinese archaeological mission will start work in an archaeological site in Egypt, including conducting an archaeological survey, excavation, and restoration and documentation works. Accompained with El-Enany, Qishan also embarked on tours at Luxor and the Giza Plateau where he admired the beauty of the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

In Luxor, he visited Luxor and Karnak Temples as well as the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. At the Giza Plateau, he visited King Khufu’s pyramid and the Sphinx. Minister of Antiquities El-Enany accompanied the China vice-president at both sites.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Discovery, Luxor: 3,000-Year Old Tattooed Mummy Belonged to Top Official or Elite Woman, Studies Reveal


Four years after its discovery in Deir El-Madina on Luxor’s west bank, it has been revealed that a unique tattooed 3,000-year-old mummy belonged to an elite woman or a top official. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says the discovery is important because this is the first time an Egyptian mummy has been found to have figurative tattoos.

Waziri said that previous tattoos found on mummies were only a line or a dot, not whole scenes like the ones on this mummy and not drawn on several parts of the body.The mummy, Waziri said, has 30 tattoos depicting a wild bull, a Barbary sheep, a lotus flower, a baboon and the udjat eye. They are drawn on the mummy’s upper arm, shoulders, back, and neck.

The nature of the tattoos suggest that the mummy, discovered in 2014 by a mission from the French Institute for Oriental Studies, belonged to a member of the elite. Using state of the art techniques and x-rays, the scientific and archaeological studies carried out on the mummy showed that it belongs to a 25 to 34-year-old woman who lived between 1,300 and 1,070 BC. The studies have also revealed that the large number of tattoos on her body may have been indented to signal prestige or indicate an important religious role.

The mummy is currently stored in tomb TT 291 in Luxor so it can be maintained in an environment similar to which it had been stored for millennia. More studies and research will be carried out in an attempt to reveal the name and position of the tattooed mummy.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Recovered Antiquities, Cairo: 16th Century Edition of Ibn Al-Jawzi Book Seized at Cairo International Airport

A 16th century edition of a book by Muslim scholar Abu Farag Ibn Al-Jawzi (1126 - 1200 CE) has been seized at Cairo International Airport before it could be smuggled out of the country. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Hamdi Hamam, head of the Central Administration for Archaeological Units in Egyptian ports, told Ahram Online that the manuscript was seized at the customs department at Cairo International Airport inside the luggage of a passenger.

Ali Ramadan, director of the archaeological unit at Cairo International Airport, explains that the book is part of a series of books by Ibn Al-Jawzi on history and heritage titled Mirror of Times. The book will be handed to the Ministry of Antiquities to be sent to the Museum of Islamic Art for restoration after the completion of investigations.

The book describes several historical events since the beginning of humanity until the death of its author. The book, comprised of 732 papers divided into three separate parts, is inked in black and red and is decorated with gilded geometric ornaments.

Friday, October 12, 2018

New Discovery, Kom Ombo: Egyptian Archaeologists Discover Stela of Liberation Queens in Aswan

Egyptian Archaeologists discovered a limestone stela in Kom Ombo temple area dated back to Early 18th Dynasty or the Liberation war period. 

Dr. Mostafa Waziry (Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities) said that the stela has a scene in the upper lunette shows two persons making an offering to Queen Tetisheri and Queen Ahmos-Nefertari. The stele shows Queen Tetisheri titles as “Mother of the King” and “Lady of the Two Lands”. 

The importance of this discovery that it shows the activities of the Kings in Upper Egypt to secure their territories during their way with the Hyksos. This discovery is a part of the series of discoveries that could re-date the temple to an older date than it was previously known.

Mohamed AbdBadie said “It is known that Queen Tetisheri is the mother of King Seqenenre and the grandmonth of King Ahmose I and she is the one who inspired them the liberation spirit. Tetisheri was very well respected and dignified by the Egyptians for her great role in the Egyptian history.”

Mr. Abd El-Monem Said, Director of Aswan Antiquities said “The two Queens are of the most important female figures in the history of ruling familes in Egypt and had many stelae and chapels dedicated to them all over Egypt.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Recovered Antiquities, Kuwait: Egypt Receives Coffin Lid Seized at Kuwait International Airport

The ancient artifact, seized at Kuwait International Airport in March, was handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities for dating. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

An ancient Egyptian coffin lid seized in March at Kuwait International Airport has arrived safely in Egypt and was handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities at noon today.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, supervisor-general of the ministry’s Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the lid will be sent to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), where it will be restored and authenticated. Abdel-Gawad thanked the Egyptian foreign ministry, the Kuwaiti foreign ministry, customs authority and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters of Kuwait for their full cooperation in returning the smuggled coffin lid to its homeland.

In March, Kuwaiti authorities announced that officers working at the air cargo terminal at Kuwait International Airport had found a 186-centimetre coffin lid professionally hidden inside a sofa while scanning of a shipment of office furniture sent from Egypt. The coffin lid was confiscated pending further investigation in compliance with the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Kuwaiti customs authorities reported the incident to the country’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature (NCCAL) to determine the coffin’s origin and historical authenticity. The NCCAL set up a committee led by Sultan Gawish, director of museums and antiquities at NCCAL, which included two Egyptian professors of ancient history and antiquities, El-Sayed Mahfouz and Ahmed Said, who work at Kuwait University, to inspect the condition of the coffin and report on its authenticity.

According to the committee’s report, Abdel-Gawad said the seized object is an anthropoid coffin carved in wood in the ancient Egyptian Osirin shape, except that the hands on the coffin are not folded together in the usual way.

The lid is painted without any hieroglyphic inscriptions. Most of the surface is covered with a layer of calcined dirt and petrified rat dung. After examination, the committee recommended to return the lid to Egypt as the thick layer of dirt covering the coffin’s surface made it difficult for the committee to determine its authenticity.

"The cleaning process requires special materials that are not available to the committee,” Mahfouz said, adding that after cleaning, specialists could take a sample from the coffin for radioactive carbon analysis in order to determine its authenticity.

Although the coffin is similar to those from the late Pharaonic period and early Ptolemaic era, he continued, the separation between the body and the base and the way the lid is carved in one piece appears anomalous and requires investigation.