3,700-year-old skeletons of woman, fetus discovered in Egypt's Aswan
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Waziri explained that the grave is almost intact and was found in a small cemetery previously used by nomadic people who moved to Egypt from the desert hinterland of its southern neighbour, Nubia, during the Second Intermediate Period (c 1750-1550 BCE).
He added that studies have shown that at the time of her death the woman was about 25 years old and was very close to giving birth. He added that the baby’s skeleton was found in the mother's pelvic area and had already settled in a "head down" position, suggesting that both mother and child may have died during childbirth.
Preliminary analysis of the mother’s remains revealed a misalignment in the woman’s pelvis, most likely the result of a fracture that had healed incorrectly. It is possible that this abnormality had caused problems during labour leading to death.
The mother’s skeleton was resting in a contracted position and was wrapped in a leather shroud. Two pottery vessels accompanied her on her journey to the afterlife: one was a small Egyptian jar, beautifully made and worn down by years of use; and the other was a fine bowl with a red polished surface and black interior, produced by these nomadic communities following a Nubian style.
Waziri mentioned that the mission also found an unexpected offering in the grave, consisting of many unfinished ostrich eggshell beads and blank fragments. The reason behind this offering is unclear; it is possible that in life the woman was a well-regarded bead maker and her family placed an amount of un-worked material in the grave to honour her memory.
Monday, November 12, 2018
One of the inscriptions credits the creator God Atum as being responsible for the flood of the Nile, likely dating to the Late Period (664-332 BC). Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A German-Egyptian archaeological mission working in Matariya, ancient Heliopolis, has uncovered a number of inscribed stone fragments from the 12th and 20th dynasties and the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt.
The discovery was made during excavation work carried out on debris piles located near a limestone burning installation near 4th and 2nd century workshops in the south-eastern section of the innermost enclosure of the Sun Temple.
Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities and the head of the Egyptian team, explained that work in the area has yielded much evidence that shows the reusing of the main temple of Heliopolis, with fragments of small statues found in the temple inventory from other historical periods. The work was accompanied by archaeological and archaeo-zoological studies.
Dietrich Raue, the head of the German team, said that the mission has excavated the area located to the east of the obelisk of Matariya, where it found a mud brick enclosure and a limestone staircase leading to a higher level by passing a channel with a false door, which was probably connected to rituals that took place in the innermost section of the temple at the obelisk.
Raue told Ahram Online that an inscription crediting the creator God Atum as being responsible for the flood of the Nile was also found. The inscription likely dates to the Late Period (664-332 BC). Many of these structures bear traces of reuse and destruction by fire.
Khaled Abul-Ela, director of the Inspectorate of Ain Shams and the Matariya archaeological site, said that a shelter has been constructed to protect the blocks on display at the open-air museum in Matariya.
The work was carried out under the supervision of the Project Department Sector at the ministry and supported by the cultural preservation programme of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.
The open-air museum houses basalt reliefs and reliefs of the Heliopolis temple for Atum of Nektanebu I, limestone reliefs and inscriptions from the Ramesside era, as well as selected finds from the necropolis of Heliopolis.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced on Saturday a new discovery made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation work carried out since April at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in the Saqqara Necropolis. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Cairo governor Ahmed Rashid attended the announcement, along with members of parliament and 30 ambassadors from all over the globe to highlight the role that antiquities play in promoting the country and its unique heritage.
El-Enany explained that the mission uncovered three plain New Kingdom tombs that had been used during the Late Period as a cat necropolis, along with four other Old Kingdom tombs, the most important of which belongs to Khufu-Imhat, the overseer of the buildings in the royal palace.
This tomb can be dated to the late fifth and the early sixth dynasties.
He also pointed out that the Egyptian mission selected the site to excavate because there was a high probability that a collection of Old Kingdom tombs could be uncovered around the ramp of King Userkaf pyramid complex.
In 2008, the mission stopped digging and instead devoted all of its work to the studying, documenting and restoration of some of the discovered tombs, though all projects completely stopped after 2013.
“This will be the first of three upcoming new discoveries in other governorates in Egypt to be announced before the end of 2018,” said El-Enany.
Mostafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that the Egyptian mission succeeded in unearthing the first ever scarab mummies in the Memphis necropolis, as two large mummies of scarabs were found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black.
Studies on these scarabs show that they are wrapped in linen and in a very good preservation condition. Another collection of scarab mummies was also found inside a smaller and squared limestone sarcophagus decorated with one painted black scarab.
Tens of cat mummies were also unearthed, along with 100 wooden statues of cats and a bronze one dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet. A collection of wooden gilded statues depicting the physical features of a lion, a cow, and a falcon was also unearthed.
Painted wooden sarcophagi of cobras with mummies found inside them were also discovered along with two wooden sarcophagi of crocodiles.
Within the debris, the mission succeeded to unearth around 1000 amulets made of faience dedicated to different deities, including Tawesert, Apis, Anubis, Djehuty, Horus, Isis, Ptah Patek, and Khnum, as well as other faience amulets in the shape of the Udjat eye, the white and red crowns, and the Wadjat column.
Three alabaster canopic jars and writing tools, such as ink pots with pens, were found along with several papyri featuring chapters from the Book of the Dead. Names of two ladies, Subek Sekt and Mafy, were also found engraved on a false door for the first time ever.
Sabri Farag, the Director General of the Saqqara Necropolis, said that a collection of baskets and ropes made of papyrus was also found along with 30 clay pots, a headrest, and alabaster and bronze jars inside a wooden sarcophagus.
A large number of decorated stone reliefs and blocks, along with parts of false doors, were also found with two blocks representing a part of the lintel of the tomb of Ankh Mahur, one of the Old Kingdom viziers.
Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) is the sponsor of the event, in accordance with the newly launched commercial sponsorship regulation, according to the request it submitted to the ministry of antiquities.
Engineer Naguib Sawiris, the Executive Chairman of OIH, affirmed the company’s interest to develop archaeological sites to show the exceptional richness of Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world towards its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world.
Among the attendees are ambassadors of Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Cyprus, Mexico, Italy, Malta, Hungary, France, Ireland, Armenia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Japan, Austria, and Bella Russia. Saudi Arabia and Georgia’s vice-ambassadors have also attended, as well as Denmark’s general councilor and the cultural attachés of the Czech Republic, Georgia and USA. The heads of the American Research Centre in Cairo and UNESCO were also among the attendees.
Multiple ambassadors have participated in several archaeological events over the last month, including the Abu Simbel Temple solar alignment phenomenon and tours around the archaeological sites in the New Valley and Saint Catherine in South Sinai.