Saturday, June 30, 2018

New Discovery, Luxor: 26th Dynasty Canopic Jars Discovered at Luxor's South Asasif Necropolis

The jars, found in a Kushite tomb, once held viscera. Excavators at a tomb in Luxor have found four canopic jars from the 26th Dynasty, dedicated to “the lady of the house Amenirdis.”. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian-American mission led by Elena Pischikova and Fathy Yassin during conservation work carried out by the South Assasif Conservation Project in the Kushite tomb of Karabasken, a priest. The tomb is located in the south Asasif Necropolis on Luxor’s west bank.

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the jars were found in situ in an intrusive burial compartment cut into the south wall of the pillared hall of the tomb (TT391). They were found in a 50cm-deep space in the floor.

“Although the jars are in situ in a very good conservation condition, they had fallen over the time under the pressure of flood water and one of them was broken into several fragments,” Waziri said, adding that emergency cleaning and consolidation were carried out by the ministry’s conservators.

Pischikova said that the jars are hollow inside and probably held viscera. “Although the contents of the jars were damaged by floodwater they still contain a large amount of resin,” she told Ahram Online.

The sizes of the lidded jars vary from 35.5 to 39.4cm and each one bears inscriptions to “the lady of the house Amenirdis,” arranged in two vertical columns and one horizontal line.

The formula is indicative of the 26th dynasty. The lids are in the shapes of a man, a baboon, a jackal and a falcon, and were skilfully carved by at least three different artists.

The South Asasif Conservation Project is an Egyptian-American mission working under the auspices of the Ministry of Antiquities.

The project was founded in 2006 with the aim of restoring and reconstructing the damaged and partially collapsed Late Period tombs of the South Asasif necropolis, Karabasaken (TT 391), Karakhamun (TT 223) and Irtieru (TT 390).

 During its 12 years of work the project has found thousands of fragments of tomb decoration and reconstructed the Second Pillared hall and part of the First Pillared hall in the tomb of Karakhamun.

"The restored tombs will feature sophisticated relief carving and painting of the 25th and 26th dynasties," Pischikova said.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

New Discovery, Alexandria: Islamic Gold Coin Uncovered in Abuqir Bay in Alexandria

The coin is carved in pure gold and was minted in the Levant in the year 80 according to the Hijri Islamic calendar, during the reign of the Omayyad Sultan Abdel Malek Ibn Marawan. Written By/ Ayman Barayez.

During underwater excavation work at Abuqir Bay in Alexandria, an Egyptian-French mission uncovered a gold coin from the Islamic period.

According to Ihab Fahmy, head of the Central Department for Underwater Antiquities, the coin is carved in pure gold and was minted in the Levant in the year 80 according to the Hijri Islamic calendar, during the reign of the Omayyad Sultan Abdel Malek Ibn Marawan. The coin bears a verse from the Quran.

Underwater excavation is to continue to reveal more of Abuqir Bay's ancient secrets.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Back Home, Naples: Italy to Return to Egypt Collection of Artifacts Smuggled into Naples - Prosecutor-General

Egypt's prosecutor-general has announced that the Italian prosecution in Salerno, Italy has agreed to return to Egypt a collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts that were seized by Italian authorities in May as they were being smuggled into the European country.

According to a statement by the Egyptian Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek, a representative of the Egyptian prosecution will travel to Italy to supervise the procedures to return the artifacts.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anani has also been tasked by the Supreme Council of Antiquities with travelling to Italy to supervise the delivery of the ancient Egyptian artifacts.

In May, Italian authorities seized in Naples a huge collection of artifacts from several countries, including from Egypt.

According to officials in Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, the objects were stolen from illegal excavation sites, as there are no records of the artifacts in Egyptian museums.

The artifacts include a collection of pottery from different ancient Egyptian eras, as well as parts of sarcophagi and coins. Also among the artifacts were objects from Islamic Egypt.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New Discovery, Edfu: New Discovery in Egypt's Edfu Reveals Roman Era Settlement, Pre-Dynastic Cultural Links

An Egyptian-American archaeological mission involving Yale University has uncovered a flint quarrying area that has been dated to several archaeological periods at the Elkab site in Edfu, on the west bank of the Nile near Aswan. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The discovery was revealed during the Elkab Desert Archaeological Survey Project at Bir Umm Tineidba, located at the juncture of Wadi Hilal Road. The mission discovered a wealth of archaeological and epigraphic material, including numerous concentrations of rock art, primarily of the Pre-Dynastic and Proto-Dynastic periods; burial tumuli of the Proto-Dynastic period; and another thus-far unrecorded Late Roman settlement.

John Coleman Darnielen, head of the Yale University team, said that the mission found three rock art sections revealing important scenes of the Naqada II and Naqada III Dynasties (ca. 3500-3100 BCE), providing evidence for the continuity and interaction of artistic styles of the Eastern Desert and Nile Valley.

“The most impressive image may be dated to ca. 3300 BCE, depicting animals, including a bull, a giraffe, an addax, a barbary sheep and donkeys,” Darnielen said. The image provides important clues to the religion and symbolic communication of Pre-Dynastic Egyptians before the invention of the hieroglyphic script, he said.

Wadi of Umm Tineidba is also the location of several burial tumuli that appear to belong to desert dwellers with physical ties to both the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. One of the tumuli, he said, was the burial place of a woman of age ranging between 25-35 years old at the time of her death.

She was probably one of the local desert elite and was buried with at least one vessel in the standard Nilotic style, as well as with a strand of Red Sea shells and carnelian beads, alluding to her desert and Red Sea associations. Additional tumuli at the site may reveal further evidence concerning these desert people.

To the south of the rock inscription and tumuli sites lies a Late Roman-era settlement with dozens of stone structures. The ceramic evidence, as well as comparative material, indicates that the site dates to between 400 and 600 CE.

This Late Roman site complements the evidence for similar archaeological sites in the Eastern Desert, and once again fills a gap in an area once blank on the archaeological map of the area. “The newly discovered rock art at Bir Umm Tineidba reveal a desert population coming under increasing influence from the Nile Valley during the time of Dynasty 0,” Darnielen asserted.

It also shows the adoption of Nile Valley imagery and its proper understanding by a group whose earlier art has more in common with that of other Eastern Desert sites. The rock art and burial tumuli discovery shed more light on the understanding of the integration of “marginal” groups into the early pharaonic culture and state.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Recovered Artifacts, France: Nine Smuggled Ancient Egyptian Artifacts Recovered From France

Among the artifacts were fragments of a sarcophagus, two cat statues, and a human head carved in basalt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A collection of nine smuggled artifacts recovered from France were handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Ministry of Antiquities on Thursday.

Eight of these artifacts were seized from a passenger travelling to London at a train station in France in 2012, according to Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, head of the repatriation department at the Ministry of Antiquities, speaking to Ahram Online. Among the artifacts were five fragments of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, two cat statues, and a human head carved in basalt.

The collection was confiscated by the French police and, after a series of legal and diplomatic procedures to prove ownership, Egypt recovered the artifacts in 2014.

The Ministry of Antiquities followed up the case over the following years in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign affairs, until French authorities returned the artifacts to the Egyptian embassy in Paris at the end of 2017, Abdel-Gawad told Ahram Online.

The ninth object was observed in the collection of a Parisian auction hall, and monitored by the Ministry of Antiquities. It was found to be one of a number of artifacts stolen from the storage of Elephantine Island in 2013. The ministry undertook legal procedures to prevent its sale, recovering and returning it to the embassy at the end of 2017. The object is a wooden mummy mask covered with plaster.

Monday, June 11, 2018

News, Giza: Egypt's GEM Announces Pre-Qualification Stage for Bidding on Facilities Management

The submission of pre-qualification applications is scheduled for Tuesday, 24 July, after which a list of qualified applicants will be announced mid-August. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Towards the rear of the atrium of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), where the granite colossus of King Ramses II proudly stands, Egypt's ministers of investment and international cooperation, antiquities and tourism, and Giza's governor, gathered along with a group of foreign ambassadors to Egypt.

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced Sunday in a press conference addressing local and international companies and consortiums the opening of a pre-qualification stage for those hoping to bid for the contract to manage and operate facilities at the GEM complex overlooking the Giza Plateau. The press conference was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, and supported by the Ministry of Tourism.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said that GEM's facilities include a conference centre for 1,000 people, a cinema for 500 people, 10 restaurants, with two overlooking the Giza pyramids, food courts, bookshops and other retail outlets, a traditional arts and crafts centre, and a multifunctional building that could be for administrative purposes or as a boutique hotel.

El-Enany asserted that the Ministry of Antiquities is the only authority responsible for the management and security of GEM‘s treasured collection as well as anything related to antiquities, such as exhibition halls, the maintenance and restoration centre, and the children’s museum.

Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat said that GEM, the largest and most significant cultural project in process globally, is going to be a wonderful tourism attraction that blends history with a modern and authentic twist. “Egypt is the world’s capital of cultural tourism,” she pointed out, adding that nothing will make a bolder statement than when this magnificent museum has its official opening.

"And to complement GEM, the Giza Plateau is undergoing a massive renovation project to include boutique hotels, restaurants and cinemas and we’re determined to give all that come to visit the most wonderful experience," Al-Mashat said. "The whole undertaking will reflect the splendor of Egyptian history in an attractive and modern way for international visitors, and for everyone throughout Egypt," she added. Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr expressed her happiness to be at GEM to announce the launch of the prequalification stage of bidding for the facilities management contract.

She described the GEM complex as a state-of-the-art, world class destination, and cultural and touristic hub comprising large investment opportunities. “These opportunities are available online on the investment map where investors are encouraged to explore the area and location and see nearest facilities services and other landmarks,” she pointed out… READ MORE.

Monday, June 4, 2018

News: Qena Mosque Whose Minaret Collapsed is Not on Egyptian Heritage List - Says Official

A nearly 300-year-old mosque whose minaret collapsed in Qena governorate on Sunday morning is not on the country’s antiquities list, the Supreme Council of Antiquities has said. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Several websites and social media platforms published articles about the collapsed minaret of El-Tayeb Mosque in the city of Qus, accusing the Ministry of Antiquities of negligence.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, denied blame and asserted in a press release that the minaret and the mosque were not registered on Egypt’s antiquities list for Islamic monuments because they did not meet the required archaeological criteria and standards.

Gamal Mostafa, head of the Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Department at the antiquities ministry told Ahram Online that the minaret was the oldest architectural element of the mosque, and in 2005 the Ministry of Endowments rebuilt the mosque due to its bad construction and architectural condition. Al-Ahram Arabic reported the mosque was originally built in 1147 AH (1734-5 AD).

New discovery, Sakkara: Hawass Announces New Archaeological Discovery in Saqarra

The Egyptian Mission working in the Saqqara antiquities area next to the pyramid of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the ...