Showing posts with label Zahi Hawass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zahi Hawass. Show all posts

Thursday, September 24, 2020

News Egypt, Hawass: Restoring Nefertiti’s Bust to Egypt is Popular Demand.

Egyptian archaeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass said that Egypt was able to prove that the bust of Queen Nefertiti came out of the country, illegally. Hawass added that it was stolen, and it must be restored.

Hawass expressed that the bust was obliterated and smuggled to Germany.

He pointed out that he is now collecting signatures from Egyptian and foreign intellectuals to restore Nefertiti’s bust to Egypt.

It was stolen and came out of Egypt, illegally. He said: “I want to turn the demand to return Nefertiti’s opinion to popular demand. We don’t want to involve the government in this matter.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

News, Giza: Exploring Egypt's Great Pyramid From The Inside, Virtually

A team of scientists who last week announced the discovery of a large void inside the Great Pyramid of Giza have created a virtual-reality tour that allows users to 'teleport' themselves inside the structure and explore its architecture.
Using 3D technology, the Scan Pyramids Project allows visitors wearing headsets to take a guided tour inside the Grand Gallery, the Queen's Chamber and other ancient rooms not normally accessible to the public, without leaving Paris. "Thanks to this technique, we make it possible to teleport ourselves to Egypt, inside the pyramid, as a group and with a guide," said Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of Scan Pyramids, which on Nov. 2 announced the discovery of a mysterious space inside the depths of the Pyramid.

The void itself is visible on the tour, appearing like a dotted cloud. "What is new in the world of virtual reality is that from now on you are not isolated but there are several of us, you're in a group, you can take a tour with your family. And you can access places which you usually can't in the real pyramid."

While partly designed as a fun experience, the "collaborative immersion" project allows researchers to improve the technologies they used to detect the pyramid void and think about what purpose it may have served. The pyramid, built in around 2,500 BC and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was a monumental tomb soaring to a height of 479 feet (146 metres). Until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, the Great Pyramid stood as the tallest manmade structure for more than 4,000 years.

While there are passage ways into it and chambers in various parts, much of the internal structure had remained a mystery until a team from France's HIP Institute used an imaging method based on cosmic rays to gain a view inside. So-called muon particles, which originate from interactions with rays from space and atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere, are able to penetrate hundreds of metres through stone before being absorbed. That allows for mapping inside stone structures.

"Muon tomography has really improved a lot due to its use on the pyramid and we think that muography will have other applications in other fields," said Tayoubi. "But we also wanted to innovate and imagine devices to allow the wider public to understand what this pyramid is, understand it from within." When looking through their 3D goggles, visitors can see the enormous stones of the pyramid as if they were real, and walk virtually along its corridors, chambers and hidden spaces. As they approach the pyramid from the outside, the tour even includes audio of Cairo's deafening and ever-present traffic.

Friday, November 3, 2017

News, Giza: ScanPyramids Mission Rushed in Announcing 'Discovery of New Void’ in Giza’s Khufu' - Egypt Antiquities Ministry

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities said on Thursday that researchers in the ScanPyramids mission were mistaken in publicly announcing that they "discovered a new void space" inside the Great Pyramid of Giza before first discussing their findings with senior Egyptian and international Egyptologists, who have been commissioned by the ministry to study the issue. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
In an article published in the journal Nature on Thursday, an international team of researchers said they have found a hidden chamber in Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The team said “the 30-meter (yard) void deep [they identified] within the pyramid is situated above the structure's Grand Gallery, and has a similar cross-section.The purpose of the chamber is unclear, and it's not yet known whether it was built with a function in mind.”

The researchers explained that they “made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper.”

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that publishing the findings in an ongoing research by ScanPyramids project in a scientific  journal such as Nature Journal before discussing these findings with leading Egyptologists was a mistake.

“The findings of the ScanPyramids research project have to be first discussed scientifically among scientists and Egyptologists and then reviewed by the scientific committee, which was tasked by Egypt's ministry of antiquities to supervise research on the matter. This committee is led by renowned Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass with the participation of the well-known American Egyptologist Mark Lehner and Czech Egyptologist  Murslav Barta,” Waziri added.

“These experts have previously said that the existence of void spaces inside the pyramids is not a new thing and this is a well known fact among Egyptologists," Waziri said. “It was too early at this stage in their study to publish that there was a new discovery,” Waziri added.

An official Egyptian archaeologist, who requested anonymity, told Ahram Online that he believes the mission broke the Egyptian antiquities laws and regulations by announcing findings  to the media through video conference, and, therefore, might be barred by Egyptian authorities from continuing their research.

More News About Pyramid Scan Project

Thursday, August 3, 2017

News: Zahi Hawass Awarded Golden Gala of Magna Graecia Film Festival in Italy

Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass receives the Golden Gala award of the Magna Graecia Film Festival held in Catanzaro in Italy. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

In a gala event attended by more than 3,000 spectators at the Magna Graecia Film Festival in Catanzaro in Italy, former minister of antiquities and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass was awarded the festival's Golden Gala for his devotion to archaeology.

During the award ceremony, Hawass said that Egyptians and Italians love one another and he believes that Italy and Egypt can rebuild relations.

"I know that there are big problems between our two countries, and I feel very unhappy to not see an Italian ambassador in Cairo or an Egyptian ambassador in Italy, but I believe our two nations can work hard to be able to reestablish a strong relationship," Hawass said, speaking at the Magna Graecia Film Festival in the southern Italian town of Catanzaro.

Hawass spoke at the screening of the film "Il Loto e Il Papiro" (The Lotus and the Papyrus) written by Francesco Santocono and announced that the film will be screened in Egypt at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 10 September.

"I know that many think Egypt isn't a safe place right now, but it's not so," Hawass said, adding that "Our country Egypt, is actually a safe one. In three years I have received 3,000 American visitors and I want Italians to return to Egypt. There's not any danger, I assure you."

He also pointed out that there are several new discoveries that would be announced within the coming months, among them latest results of the Scan Pyramid Project started almost two years ago to explore the interior design of the Khufu pyramid and whether it houses other hidden chambers or corridors, as well as the results of the scan of the Valley of the Kings in September undertaken by an Egyptian-Italian team from Turin University.

Magna Graecia Film Festival has become one of the most anticipated film festivals for Italian cinema lovers. The 2017 edition was dedicated to late renowned Italian actor Marcello Mastroiann.

Monday, July 17, 2017

News, Cairo: AUC Hands Over to Egypt 5,000 Artifacts From Past Archaeological Excavations

The American University in Cairo is to transfer nearly 5,000 Islamic, Coptic, Pharaonic, Greco-Roman artifacts to the possession of the Egyptian state. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

AUC has been in legal possession of these antiquities since the 1960s, ensuring their preservation. “Though we legally possessed these artifacts and scrupulously preserved and protected them over so many years, we took the initiative to transfer these important antiquities to the Ministry of Antiquities because we felt that this should be their rightful home,” said AUC President Francis J Ricciardone. “Egyptology has been one of AUC’s most beloved fields over many years. In collaboration with the ministry, we have always strived to advance the field globally, through both our scholarship and our demonstration of responsible stewardship,” he added.

Former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs Zahi Hawass commended this collaboration. “I am thrilled to know that AUC gave its antiquities collection to the Ministry of Antiquities as a gift,” said Hawass, who had officially stated in 2011, while serving as minister, that all artifacts in AUC’s storage were registered and documented with the ministry.

An Islamic clay lamp
The nearly 5,000 pieces were registered and reviewed in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities. They date from a time when archaeological material, after a stringent review, did not have to remain exclusively in the hands of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation (now the Supreme Council of Antiquities).

The bulk of the materials consisted of fragments of everyday pottery, such as bowls, ulnas, jars and lusterware vessels. Most of the materials could be dated back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Some of the objects in the collection had been legal gifts to the university. 

“The materials from the excavation often seem humble, but they help fill in the blanks to understand what people ate, their social class and trade in the region,” said Distinguished University Professor Salima Ikram and head of the Egyptology unit at AUC’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology.

Clay fragments 
“The pots, for example, can point to how people lived and the technologies used at the time, and can demonstrate artistic influence on ceramic production and decoration.”

Specifically, AUC acquired most of these artifacts during joint excavations in the Fustat area led by the late George Scanlon, professor emeritus in AUC’s Department of Arab and Islamic Civilisations who became a prominent name in the field of Islamic archaeology. “George Scanlon’s work at Fustat was invaluable, as it set the stage for Islamic archaeology in Egypt,” said Ikram. 

“He and his colleagues helped create the discipline, fusing art history, archaeology and texts in an effort to understand the administrative, sacred and secular lives of the inhabitants of Fustat, one of the first Muslim capitals of Egypt.”

Ikram had reviewed the Pharaonic materials in AUC’s possession, while Scanlon was responsible for the Fustat materials. The objects were regularly checked against the list made by AUC and the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation. “The Fustat objects had already been catalogued by Dr Scanlon, who excavated them, so they were fully recorded,” said Ikram. The discovery of these artifacts was shared between Egypt and the American mission at that time.

A ceramic tile 
After this excavation, the diverse antiquities were brought to AUC, and the university came to legally possess these artifacts in accordance with the Egyptian Antiquities Law No 215 for 1951, which previously allowed foreign excavations in Egypt to keep 50 percent of their findings. The remaining 50 percent of the artifacts went to the Egyptian state. Throughout AUC’s period of custody over the collection, the materials were kept under close surveillance, and were securely stored to prevent damage. The special storage room, locked behind two secure doors, was equipped with protected cupboards to ensure the safekeeping of the materials.

The same committee from the Ministry of Antiquities responsible for the recent handover had collaborated closely with AUC over the years to conduct reviews of the collection twice a year, keeping records of the inventory and maintaining photographic documentation.

In May 2017, the Ministry of Antiquities assigned a special committee to review the inventory of antiquities at AUC, comparing it to its own government records. They worked with AUC’s Office of Legal Affairs to ensure that all antiquities were preserved and documented in the handover. “This [transfer] is incredible news, and I hope that any institution that owns antiquities not shown in museums would give them back,” said Hawass.

“AUC President Francis Ricciardone will be remembered in history because of his courage, power and honesty to take this decision,” Hawass added.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Short Story: The Myth of Red Mercury

The myth of red mercury, a substance supposedly found in the throats of ancient Egyptian mummies, is still widespread in Egypt, writes Zahi Hawass.

The stories of tomb robberies are amazing but also tragic. The robbers do not realise that by cutting scenes and reliefs out from ancient temples and tombs they are damaging not only the history of Egypt but also that of the world as a whole.

During the 25 January Revolution, Egypt went through difficult times. On 28 January 2011, over 1,000 people sneaked into the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. That night, the police had left Cairo and the city did not have a single policeman on the streets. We have to thank God for saving the museum, because the people who sneaked inside it did not find the gold room or the room containing the golden mask of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

When we entered the museum the next day, we found many gilded statues thrown on the ground. But the museum as a whole was saved because the mummy room was locked and the building was dark, so the robbers could not find its location. If these people had found the mummy room, the royal mummies could have been destroyed.

“Red mercury”, one of the things the robbers may have been looking for, is a mythic substance for many Egyptians. They believe that in the throats of mummies there is a liquid called red mercury. If someone possesses this liquid, he or she will be able to control the spirits and become rich. Of course, there is no such thing as red mercury, but many people still believe in it all over Egypt. A daughter of a friend of mine called me one day and said that her father had held a zar (a kind of religious ceremony) at his house and brought in a Moroccan magician who had made her father believe that he could summon up the djinn, or spirits, to provide him with red mercury.

The secretary of an Arab prince also once called me and said the prince would like to meet me. I agreed. The prince came and said that he would make the story short. “My mother is very sick, and we have taken her to doctors in Egypt and all over the world, but she is still sick. A sheikh who lives near us told me that the remedy for my mother was in the hands of Zahi Hawass.” I did not know what to say, because I did not understand why he was telling me what he was saying. “I am an Egyptologist and not a doctor,” I said.

A few months later, he called me one evening and said he wanted to see me. On his arrival he said, “I have $100,000 in my bag. If you will give me some of the liquid you have, I have the same amount at my hotel.” I realised that he was referring to red mercury. I told the prince that there was no such thing as red mercury. I found out from the prince that the reason he had come to me was because I had been working on a major excavation called the Valley of the Golden Mummies in the Bahareya Oasis and had found a large cemetery full of mummies dating to the Roman period and covered with gold.

The people of Bahareya had become rich because of the production of wine, and it was wine that everyone in ancient Egypt wanted to drink in the afterlife. The discovery of the mummies happened by accident when the antiquities guard of the Temple of Alexander the Great in the Oasis had been riding his donkey whose leg fell into a hole. He looked inside and saw mummies covered in gold. We excavated the discovery, which the foreign press called the “Tutankhamun of the Greek and Roman Period”... READ MORE.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

News: Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass Appointed IFPSD Cultural Heritage Ambassador

The International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development chose Egypt's Hawass for his contributions to the field of archaeology, in both excavation and conservation. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Renowned Egyptologist and former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass has been selected by the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development (IFPSD), an affiliate organisation of the United Nations, as its official "Ambassador for Cultural Heritage."

Sally Kader, the President of IFPSD said the federation chose Hawass for his contribution to the field of archaeology, in both excavation and conservation. "His major discoveries in Egypt are known all over the world," Kader said, adding that Hawass was "able through his passion and TV shows to reach the households of people from all over the globe."

Kader will announce Hawass' appointment at a special ceremony on 19 April at the UN headquarters in New York City. The event will be attended by most of the Ambassadors of the United Nations, along with world experts and contributors in the fields of culture, museums and archaeology.

Hawass told Ahram Online that he was deeply honoured to receive the title, saying he would speak at the event about saving the archaeological and cultural heritage of Syria, Libya, and Iraq. "I would work in cooperation with the Arab League, archaeologists from all over the world, as well as American institutions to save these endangered archaeological monuments," Hawass said.

"Our task is to create a database for these monuments, so we can monitor any objects that could be stolen. Also, we aim to train the archaeologists and museum curators of these countries on how to save their monuments in archaeological sites, and efficient methods for protecting treasured collections [respectively]."

Hawass referenced Syrian archaeologist Khaled El-Asaad who gave his life to protect Syria's cultural heritage, saying he should be honoured as a symbol for all archaeologists. After the announcement, Hawass said he would meet with Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit to draw comprehensive plans to protect cultural heritage in these conflict zones.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

News, Cairo: Egyptologist Hawass Refutes Reports Colossal Statue Was Damaged During Excavation

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the massive eight-metre statue - believed to be of Ramsis II - submerged in ground-water in Cairo last week, and used a winch to recover it. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The newly discovered statue suggested to be for King Ramses II. 
Photo by Magdi Abdel Sayed
In the wake of the discovery of a colossal statue assumed to be Ramses II in Cairo earlier this week, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass refuted local media reports that charged the use of a winch to haul part of the monument out of the pit it was found in damaged the artefact.

Hawass, a former antiquities minister, told Ahram Online that using a winch was “the only efficient way” to remove the 7-ton piece of the statue from the two-metre ditch. “Souq El-Khamis area in Matariya where the statue was discovered is a very important archaeological site which does not have any complete statues, tombs or temples,” Hawass said.

Initial reports by some Egyptian media outlets had suggested that the winch had damaged the statue, or had broken it into pieces. However, according to ministry officials, the statue was discovered already in pieces.

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the massive eight-metre statue submerged in ground water last week, which they say probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

The discovery, hailed by the antiquities ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis, located in the eastern part of modern-day Cairo in the working-class neighbourhood of Matariya.

Head of the newly discovered statue of king Seti II. 

The site was subjected to deterioration and damage during Egypt’s Christian period because the area was used as a quarry for constructing other buildings, Hawass said. “It is impossible to find any complete full-sized statue,” Hawass said, adding that any statue that would be uncovered in the future will be found in pieces, like this one.

He argued that the Matariya area, a poor suburb of Cairo, suffers from three main problems. Its modern residential houses were built on top of the remains of ancient Egyptian temples and tombs which are submerged in subterranean water extended from two to four metres deep. “This is a fact that made it too difficult to transport or remove any of the blocks [from these structures].”

Hawass told Ahram Online that he called the German excavation mission head, Dietrich Raue, who sent him a complete report on the excavations with photographs revealing the lifting process. “The transportation and removal process of any heavy colossus like the one discovered is carried out in collaboration with the head of workmen from the upper Egyptian town of Qift who are skilled and very highly trained in such work,” Hawass said.

Hawass explained that similar workmen work in the Saqqara necropolis and belong to the El-Krity family, who have been able to transport and lift up a large number of huge sarcophagi and colossi that each could reach 20 tons.

Hawass also said that the newly discovered statue definitely belongs to the 19th dynasty king, Ramses II, because it was found at the entrance to his temple. He noted that the area, in which he had carried out excavations, held the remains of temples belonging to pharaohs Akhenaton, Thutmose III and Ramses II. “I am very happy to hear about such a discovery because it will not only reveal a part of ancient Egyptian history but it will also help promote tourism to Egypt,” Hawass said.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Short Story: Adventures in the Egyptian Museum

What lies hidden in the basement maze of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, asks Zahi Hawass.

I have always dug in sand, and this is where I have made my most important discoveries, such as the Valley of the Golden Mummies in the Bahariya Oasis and the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza. But one day I became interested in digging in a new place, a place without sand – the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

There is a maze of corridors lying under the museum. For decades, no one knew what was hidden down there: Boxes of all sorts of treasures discovered by foreign and Egyptian expeditions were brought in and stored there over the years without the proper recording of the artefacts. There were objects of stone and wood, mummies, and even objects made of precious metals. But no one knew exactly what was down there. It was said among scholars that anything sent down to the basement of the museum would be lost forever.

At the beginning of my career I excavated at Kom Abu Billo, an important site in the Delta. I worked there for nine years from 1970 until 1979. We discovered a great cemetery from the Graeco-Roman period, where many of the people interred were devotees of the goddess Isis-Aphrodite, the Egyptian-Greek goddess of beauty and love. Near the cemetery was a temple to the god Apollo. We had begun excavations at this site because a grand canal five km long was being dug through the desert. So we had to excavate along the designated route. Each year, I took a truck to the Egyptian Museum full of boxes packed with jewellery, especially bracelets, and gold amulets, stelae and 12 beautiful statues of the goddess Isis-Aphrodite.

When I came to Cairo much later, I tried to find these artefacts in the museum, but no one could tell me where they were. When I became head of Egypt’s Antiquities Service in 2002, which coincided with the centennial of the museum, I decided to deal with the issue myself. I asked Mamdouh Eldamaty, the then director of the museum, to begin clearing out the basement and opening the various boxes to see what was inside them. We cleaned out several basement galleries on the west side of the museum and turned them into an exhibition area. The first exhibition held here was of treasures found in the basement of the building, along with objects from storerooms around the country and exhibits from overcrowded showcases in the museum itself. We called the exhibition, which consisted of about 250 objects, “Hidden Treasures,” and it was a great success.

The clearing of the basement has been ongoing since then, and it has become an important project in its own right with specially chosen curators inspecting and recording each of the objects found. The heroine of this work was curator Sabah Abdel-Razik, who spent most of her time in the basement. We are now in the process of building a new inventory database for the museum where all these objects, along with their exact locations, will be recorded.  This project was begun under Janice Kamrin, now a curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, assisted by Yasmine Al-Shazli. We expect that all the objects in the basement will be in the new database. This will bring enormous changes, and it will help to take the museum into the new millennium.READ MORE.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

News: Oxford Union Hosts Debate on Repatriation of Arab Antiquities Acquired During Colonial Rule

The prestigious debate society hosted students and art historians from Europe and the Middle East; those arguing for the return of artifacts to their countries of origin won the debate with 165 votes to 106. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass with the debaters 
The Oxford Union hosted a debate on Tuesday at Oxford University on the repatriation of Arab artifacts acquired under colonial rule, which are now on display in European and American museums. The prestigious debate society invited students to observe the debate, ask questions, argue their own opinions, and vote for a winner at the end.

On one side of the stage, were those arguing for the return of artifacts to their countries of origin. Speakers on this side included directors of major European museums, including former director of the  Voorlinden,  Wim Pijbes, and Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian minister of antiquities and director of excavations at Giza, Saqqara, Bahariya Oasis and Valley of the Kings. The side opposing repatriation included speakers James Cuno, President and CEO of J Paul Getty Trust, and Dr Sabine Haag, General Director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Austrian Museum of Ethnology and the Austrian Theatre Museum.

Hawass with his team
Hawass told Ahram Online that those in favor of keeping Arab artifacts housed abroad cited state-of-the-art display capabilities and high- tech security and lighting systems at Western museums—advantages with which local museums simply cannot compete. The opponents of repatriation also argued that the restoration work being done in international museums is of higher quality, pointing to incorrect methods recently used to restore the Tutankhamun mask at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

A Sudanese student at Oxford University defended keeping artifacts abroad, asserting that officials in her own country do not care enough to adequately protect Sudanese artifacts and monuments—the majority of which have been smuggled out the country. Those supporting the repatriation of artifacts obtained in foreign counties during colonial rule was led by Hawass.

The former minister of antiquities noted that 70 percent of the artifacts on display at international museums left Egypt legally when the country observed a law that enabled foreign archaeological missions to divide artifacts from their discoveries with Egypt. He added that Egyptian artefacts were legally put on sale at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir until the issuing of law 117 in1983, which prohibited such activity... READ MORE

Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Treasures Abroad, USA: Zahi Hawass to Try to Put Sanctions on Toledo Museum of Art for selling Egyptian Antiquities from Collection

The former antiquities minister will send letters to UNESCO and other international organisations in an attempt to have sanctions put on the museum. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The chairman of Egypt's National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation (NCAR) assigned former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass to take restricted action against Toledo Museum of Art which put on sale 68 artefacts from its collection. The objects are from Cyprus, Rome and Egypt.

In a telephone interview, Hawass told Ahram Online the he will send letters to UNESCO, the International Committee Of Museums (ICOM) and the US Congress as well as all international institutions to remove Toledo Museum from the ICOM, because it has offended the reputation of all museums by selling the world heritage.

Hawass asserted that he would also send another letter to the Toledo museum threatening to prohibit children from visiting it because it is selling the heritage.

Hawass will also send these letters on Sunday to Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany for discussion before sending them to the concerned international authorities and institutions.

Early this month, Toledo Museum of Art in Ohaio put on sale a collection of 68 artefacts at Christies auction hall.

The antiquities ministry had taken the required legal procedures in collaboration with Egypt’s Embassy in New York to stop any transaction of these objects but the museum has put them on sale for $1.2 million.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

News: 'Revealer of Secrets': Zahi Hawass's New TV Show on Archaeology to Launch in October

Former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass launches TV programme on archaeology October 20, in an effort to promote tourism and raise cultural awareness in Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Beginning October 20, Egyptian audiences will be treated to a new programme on Egyptian archaeology hosted by former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass, titled "Kashef Al-Asrar" (Revealer of Secrets). In collaboration with renowned Egyptologists, the programme will launch on Egyptian satellite channel Al-Ghad.

At a press conference held on Wednesday at a luxurious hotel on the banks of the Nile in Cairo, Abdel Latif El-Manawi, head of Al-Ghad channel, told attendees that the programme will broadcast first to the Arab region, before being launched abroad.

El-Manawi describes the programme as an effort to raise cultural awareness in Egypt, as well as promote the country abroad, encouraging tourism by displaying its distinguished heritage and the customs and traditions of ancient Egyptians—industry, fashion, and cultivation systems, to name a few.

Hawass tells Ahram Online that the idea of the programme is to link several topics from ancient Egyptian civilisation to the present time, showing the evolution of cultural practices.

For example, he continues, if an episode covers customs of fashion and jewellery, the first segment will show how the ancient Egyptians dressed while the second gives insight into the world of contemporary Egyptian fashion, with input from well-known Egyptian designers.

“I've had the idea for such a programme in mind for many years, but due to the high budget required, I kept the idea dormant,” Hawass says, adding that in 2007 the required budget for such a programme was EGP 11 million. Ultimately El-Manawi was the only producer able to bring the dream to life on almost half the budget.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

News: Egyptologist Hawass Tours the United States to Promote Tourism in Egypt

Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass embarked on a tour around the United States to promote tourism to Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Hawass and Mekhemar
Renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass embarked on a tour around the United States to promote tourism to Egypt.

The first leg of his trip was in Los Angeles, where Egypt's Consul General Lamia Mekhemar organised a gala reception at Egypt's consulate. The event was attended by a number of Egyptian and American politicians, actors and other prominent figures.

Among the attendees were actors Peter Weller, David Gordon and Jacqueline Bisset, as well as Fox channel director David Hill and Egyptian actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa Mahmoud Kabil.

During the reception, Hawass delivered a lecture on ancient Egyptian civilisation and the new development project of Giza Plateau, and called on Americans to visit Egypt.

"Egypt is very safe and the return of tourism is a call to whole world to help in the restoration of the country's unique heritage," Hawass said, inviting all the actors in attendance to participate in the upcoming Cairo International Film Festival, to which the actors agreed. The second leg of his trip will be in San Francisco.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

News: Former Minister Hawass Receives Cultural Award in Dominican Republic

Zahi Hawass received the Dominican Republic Cultural Award yesterday during his tour; the former minister asked the vice president to support Egypt's candidate for UNESCO director general. Wriien By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass received the Dominican Republic Cultural Award yesterday from the Dominican Republic's minister of culture Jose Antonio in a special event held in honour of Hawass.

Antonio gave Hawass the award for his efforts to protect and preserve Egyptian heritage, whether locally and internationally.

The Dominican minister asked Hawass to help the Dominican Republic to recover stolen artefacts that currently reside in Turin University in Italy as the former Egyptian minister once helped Peru in repatriating 100 artefacts from Hill University in the United States.

A 50-minute-long documentary on the Egyptian-Dominican excavation mission for the search for Cleopatra's tomb at Taposiris Magna was screened at a renowned cinema in the Dominican capital Santo Domingo.

Hawass announced that the mission, led by Kathleen Martinez, conducted a radar survey inside the Taposiris Magna temple in search of Cleopatra's tomb at a depth of 500 km, noting that the results would be announced soon.

Hawass With De Fernandez
During his Dominican tour, Hawass met Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, vice president of the Dominican Republic, and asked her to support Egypt's candidate for the post of director-general of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Moshira Khattab.

De Fernandez accepted the request and promised Hawass to discuss it officially with the Dominican minister of foreign affairs.

This was not Hawass' first meeting with De Fernandez. The duo first met in 2009 with late artist Omar Sherif when De Fernandez's husband was the president of the Dominican Republic.

Hawass asked the vice president to gather a group of 500 pioneer students every year to meet with prominent international figures in hopes that the students could benefit from such experiences experiences. De Fernandez agreed on such an idea and invited Hawass to be the first to meet the students.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

News: Egypt’s World-Famous Archaeologist Back in The Field

CAIRO: Egypt’s former antiquities minister and famed Egyptologist is back in the field after joining a group of experts scanning the pyramids for new discoveries.

Zahi Hawass says he hopes the new scanning technology, which uses subatomic particles known as muons to examine the 4,500 year-old burial structures, will help solve their remaining mysteries.

Late last year, thermal scanning identified some anomalies, including a major one in the largest of the Great Pyramids of Giza outside Cairo.

Hawass was appointed Thursday to head a scientific committee to investigate the structures.

For more than a decade he was a celebrity starring in TV documentaries, but was dismissed after Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak and faced corruption charges, of which he was later cleared.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Short Story: Fundraising for Egypt’s Museums

The only way to bring in funds for Egypt’s new museums is through proper planning, including by involving business people in international fundraising campaigns, writes Zahi Hawass.

In May, I went to Manila in the Philippines at the invitation of my friend Christoph Scholz, who is the director of SC Exhibitions, a division of Semmel Concerts. Christoph is a man with a vision. He loves Egypt and he always wants to help. He is also a perfect master of ceremonies, and he and his company have always shown a keen interest in the future of Egypt’s monuments.

Christoph was able to create an exhibition of replicas from Tutankhamun’s tomb called “Tutankhamun: His Tomb and His Treasures”. This is a wonderful teaching tool because it shows the discovery of the tomb and includes videos that pique the interest of children about the “golden boy king”.

In the Philippines he invited me to give a lecture about fundraising for Egypt’s museums at the Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres 2015 Conference held at the Mind Museum, which was the sponsor of the conference.

My lecture was divided into two parts: my fundraising for the Children’s Museum in Cairo and fundraising for the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). The first part covered how Mrs Suzanne Mubarak had lovingly dedicated her time working to create a major museum for children.

She read every word in the scenario and chose Michael Mallinson, a prominent architect from England, to build the museum, and Jeff Patchen and Jennifer Robinson from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in the US to write the scenario.

We used to meet with Mrs Mubarak every week at that time. The museum was opened during the revolution, and no one gave a word of thanks to this great lady who dedicated her life to Egypt. It is now time to recognise her achievements and her love for Egypt.

In my fundraising for the museum, two important items were used: my characteristic hat and gold. My hat is known to people all over the world and is connected to the famous fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones. I’ll never forget the time when the US film director George Lucas came to Egypt to meet me, and we had dinner with my friends, the actor Omar Sharif and model Naomi Campbell.

George asked me why my hat had become more famous than Harrison Ford’s, the actor who played Jones in the famous films. I told him that my hat was a real archaeologist’s hat, whereas Ford’s was a fake one. Replicas were made of my hat, and these were sold around the world, together with signed pictures, raising more than $200,000 for the museum.

The other item that was used was gold. Gold means Tutankhamun. Only 50 small objects from Tutankhamun’s tomb were included in the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibition that was sent to tour America, Europe, Australia and Japan in 2005. Yet the Cairo Museum contains 4,500 objects from his treasures.

Through my public lectures and my friends, I was able to raise $17 million for the Children’s Museum. The funds came from America and Japan. Christoph Scholz participated in the fundraising and was able to accomplish more. In addition, my friend Sameh Sawiris gave me a check for $1 million towards the museum. It is therefore very strange that when the members of the Heliopolis Society opened the museum to the public, they did not say a word of thanks to anyone. Sawiris should at least have been invited and gratitude expressed.

The museum is housed in a beautiful building, and there is a garden where there is a replica of the route of the Nile. We call it the “children of the Nile.” The garden also includes animals and plants from Africa, a play area for children, and a cafeteria. In a basement area, there is an exploration of how children are connected to Egyptian civilisation. It asks the question “Who are you?” Children can also carry out mock excavations to learn how to make discoveries. They also learn about how the ancient temples were built as well as about finds in underwater archaeology.

The first floor of the museum teaches children about modern Egypt, so that they can understand their present as well as their past, through displays, for instance, about agriculture and the desert. The upper floor takes them to the future. In my opinion, this is the best museum in the Middle East.

The second part of my lecture addressed fundraising for the Grand Egyptian Museum that is being built in the shadow of the Pyramids in Giza. An international competition was held and two thousand project proposals were received. Each proposal was reviewed, and the project of a Chinese architect in Dublin was chosen.... Read More.