Sunday, December 16, 2018

News: Egypt's Antiquities Council Signs Contract with Orascom to Update Tourist Facilities at Giza Pyramids

The company will provide buses and golf carts for transport inside the plateau, will train horse and camel drivers and give them a uniform, and will create WiFi services, signs, maps and other facilities. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities has signed a contract with Orascom Investment to allow the latter to provide and operate the facilities at the Giza Plateau, under the supervision of the council.

The signing of contract came after almost a year of negotiations, and after the approval of the cabinet, and aims to upgrade the services available to visitors to the pyramids.

Mustafa Waziri, the general-secretary of the council, told Ahram Online that the facilities and services include a promotional campaign for the site, and operating the parking area located outside the archaeological site just in front of entrance on the Fayoum Road.

Vehicles will be prohibited from entering the site, and the company will instead provide 20 golf carts and 30 buses for visitors, operated with renewable energy, to circulate inside the site. It will also run the services at the site visitor centre, which consists of a collection of shops, cafeterias and a cinema.

“The films on display at this cinema will be revised and have the approval of the Supreme Council of Antiquities before they are shown,” Waziri said. He added that Orascom will also install 20 mobile toilets and a medical centre for first aid facilities in different areas in the plateau which would be selected and approved by the council.

It will also provide new services such as mobile application for the site, free Wi-Fi services, signage, visitor maps, and kiosks for photographs and paintings of visitors. A cleaning company will be provided, as well as a security one to safeguard the services area.

“The Tourism and Antiquities Police and the Supreme Council of Antiquities guards are the only ones to secure the general site, the visitors and the archaeological site,” said Waziri, adding that the security provided by the company is only to safeguard the places where services are provided.

He explained that according to the signed contract the company will train craftsmen, camel and horse owners, peddlers, and photographers in order to upgrade their skills to deal with tourists and visitors, and will buy them new horse carts to replace the out-dated ones. A special place will be allocated for them, as well as a uniform.

Waziri said that it is the first time such services to visitors are provided through a specialised Egyptian company in order to facilitate a visiting route inside the plateau within a complete system that respects the archaeological environment and antiquities laws and regulations.

He underlined that the contract allots half the revenue from the services provided to the council. “If the company does not succeed to make any benefits, it has to pay an agreed minimum amount to the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“The Supreme Council of Antiquities has the authority to select and hire any authority to review the financial account of the company and supervise the execution of all articles in the contracts, in order to guarantee the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ rights,” Waziri said, adding that the council also has the right to end the contract at any time should the company breach any of its obligations stipulated in the contract.

He added that the council is the only body that received the revenues from the tickets and bus services inside the plateau which will be part of the ticket price. The Supreme Council of Antiquities is the authority with full responsibility for the archaeological site.

Exclusive Video: Inside the Newly Discovered Tomb in Sakkara


Exclusive video showing Dr. Mostafa Waziry talking about the discovery and the tomb. 
Who is the tomb owner? What was his job? The description of the tomb contents? What is yet to be discovered?


Saturday, December 15, 2018

New Discovery, Saqqara: 'Exceptionally Well-Preserved' Tomb of Fifth Dynasty Royal Priest Discovered in Egypt's Saqqara

An Egyptian archaeological mission has uncovered an “exceptionally well-preserved” tomb belonging to a Fifth Dynasty royal priest at Saqqara, the antiquities ministry has said. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The mission at the Sacred Animal Necropolis in Saqqara discovered the tomb of a royal purification priest named “Wahtye” from the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re, Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany announced. A large number of foreign and Arab ambassadors and members of Egypt’s parliament attended an event announcing the new discovery.

El-Enany said that the tomb is exceptionally well-preserved and painted, with walls decorated with colourful scenes depicting the owner of the tomb with his mother, wife and family as well as a number of niches with large coloured statues of the deceased and his family. El-Enany describes it as “the most beautiful tomb” found this year.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the head of the excavation mission, said that the mission was able to reach the facade of the tomb during its second excavation season in November, but was not able to enter it then as the doors were sealed.

Excavations continued, and after removing the debris from the tomb’s façade, a lintel on top of the tomb’s door was revealed, inscribed with three hieroglyphic lines: the name and different titles of the owner, who was the royal purification priest, the supervisor of King Nefer-Ir-Ka-Re and the inspector of the holy boat.

Waziri added the tomb’s walls have several coloured inscriptions showing the name of the wife of the tomb’s owner (Weret Ptah), and many scenes featuring the deceased with his mother (Merit Meen) and his family, as well as scenes depicting the fabrication of pottery and wine, making religious offering, musical performances, boats ailing, the manufacturing of the funerary furniture, and hunting. Inside the tomb there are 18 niches displaying 24 large coloured statues carved in rock and depicting the owner of the tomb and his family.

Meanwhile, the lower part of the tomb contains 26 small niches with 31 statues of a yet unidentified person standing, or in the seated scribe position. “This statue might be of the deceased or a member of his family,” Waziri said.

Sabry Farag, the general director of the Saqqara archaeological site, said that the tomb consists of a rectangular hall about 10 metres long from north to south, 3 metres wide from east to west, and about 3 metres high, with a basement at the end of the tomb. Waziri said that the tomb contains five burial shafts, all of which will be excavated, in addition to two false doors, one belonging to the deceased and the second to his mother.