Wednesday, November 25, 2020

News, Esna "3" : Temple Restoration Reveals Previously Unknown Names of Ancient Egyptian Constellations.

The restoration of an ancient Egyptian temple in Esna, located about 60 km south of the ancient capital of Luxor in Egypt, has uncovered the original colors of the temple inscriptions and images, and revealed previously unknown names of ancient Egyptian constellations.
The temple of Esna, dedicated to the Egyptian deity Khnum, is one of the last examples of ancient Egyptian temple architecture.
Only the vestibule, called the pronaos, of the original temple complex survived, because it was used as storage facility for cotton during the 19th century CE.
The building measures 37 m long, 20 m wide, and 15 m tall, and was decorated mainly during the Roman period (1st to 3rd century CE).

The roof is supported by 18 columns with wonderfully varied floral capitals in the form of palm leaves, lotus buds and papyrus fans; some also have bunches of grapes, a distinctive Roman touch.
It is decorated with astronomical scenes, while the pillars are covered with hieroglyphic accounts of temple rituals.
“In Egyptian temple architecture this is an absolute exception,” said Dr. Daniel von Recklinghausen, a researcher in the Department of Egyptology at the University of Tübingen.
“The work on the elaborate decorations probably took up to 200 years.”
“The real wealth, the inscriptions, was recognized by the French Egyptologist Serge Sauneron, who pushed ahead with the excavation of the temple and published the inscriptions in full,” the researchers said.
“But without the original colors, Sauneron could not recognize them under the layers of soot and bird excrement.”
“Now, the layers have been removed and the temple looks in part as it may have done some 2,000 years ago.”

“In addition, it now offers new approaches for Egyptology research,” said Professor Christian Leitz, director of the Department of Egyptology at the University of Tübingen.
“The hieroglyphics that Sauneron explored were often only very roughly chiseled out, the details only applied by painting them in color.”
“This means that only preliminary versions of the inscriptions had been researched. Only now do we get a picture of the final version.”
During the restoration, the scientists found the descriptions of the Big Dipper (Mesekhtiu) and Orion (Sah) constellations.
They also discovered inscriptions about the previously unknown constellations, including the Geese of Ra (Apedu n Ra).

“In the area of the astronomical ceiling, many inscriptions were not executed in relief, but only painted in ink,” Professor Leitz said.
“They were previously undetected under the soot and are now being exposed piece by piece.”
“Here we have found, for example, the names of ancient Egyptian constellations, which were previously completely unknown.”
Source:sci-news

News Egypt: Egypt’s Supreme Committee for Museums Display Scenario completes placing Amun’s mummies in New Administrative Capital Museum.

The Supreme Committee for the Museums Display Scenario has completed placing the mummies of the priests and priestesses of the god Amun, in their show cases in the Museum of Egyptian Capitals in the New Administrative Capital. 

Dr. Ali Omar, head of the Supreme Committee for the Museum Display Scenario at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, explained that these mummies arrived in the museum last week, coming from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, in order to enrich the display of the Museum of Egyptian Capitals in the new Administrative Capital.
He added that their show cases were prepared and sterilized in a special way to preserve the mummies inside. 

Mr. Moamen Othman, head of the museums sector at the ministry, said that these mummies were discovered in the royal cache in Deir el-Bahari in 1881, and belong to the mummy of Najm, the wife of Harihor, the chief priest of Amun, whose eyes were inlaid with white and black stones, which gives the feeling that they are still alive as well as wearing natural wigs and eyebrows.
 
As for the mummy of Nasi Khonsu, the second wife of the chief priest of Amun Banjum II, he said that it is considered a distinct example of the development of the mummification method of the 21st Family, where the eyes covered with stones and the dark yellow color of the skin gave a sense of vitality and freshness.  
 
As for the mummy of Banjum II, the high priest of Amun, Othman added that her skin was colored yellow and dark red, and the mummy was wrapped in thin linen with colored fringes.  
 
And the mummy of the grandfather of Ptah uf Ankh from Dynasty 21, fingers and toes are decorated with rings.  As for the mummy of Hanutawi, the wife of the chief priest of Amun, Banjum I, with a face Plump to show vitality.
 
Dr. Mona Raafat, the General Supervisor of the Museum of the Capitals of Egypt, explained that the museum received, during the past week, more than a hundred artifacts coming from a number of museums and archaeological storages; including the storages of the museums of Luxor, the royal carriages in Bulaq, Suez and the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and the archaeological site of Mit Rahinah. She said that work in the museum is progressing in preparation for its opening.
 
She added that these artifacts have been selected carefully to enrich the museum display scenario to tell the history of the Egyptian capitals through different historical eras.
 
She pointed out that one of the most important pieces in the museum is a collection of Talatat stones depicting King Akhenaten and his wife Queen Nefertiti from the Luxor Museum storage, they are now being restored in preparation for their display; in addition to a Cuban carriage and a Kalash and a model of a war carriage which was a gift  to King Farouk.
 
The museum also received a number of mummies from the Egyptian Museum, mummies of priests and senior statesmen, in addition to a number of canopic jars and a wooden box inscribed with a picture of the god Anubis, to be displayed in the museum's funeral ritual hall.  This is in addition to a wonderful double statue of King Merenptah and the goddess Hathor from Mitt Rahman.
 
The Museum of the Capitals of Egypt tells the history of the Egyptian capitals through different eras. It consists of a main gallery in which the relics of a number of ancient and modern capitals are displayed. There are 7 capitals; namely Memphis, Thebes, Tell El-Amarna, Alexandria, Islamic Cairo, Khedivial Cairo.  The patterns of life are represented in each historical period of each capital separately, such as decorative tools, tools of war and fighting, the system of government and various correspondences.
 
As for the second section of the museum, it is a wing that represents the after life in ancient Egypt. It consists of the tomb of Tutu, which was discovered in 2018 in Sohag Governorate, in addition to a hall for mummies, coffins, and two shelves containing canopic jars and a set of false doors and alternate heads that simulate religious rituals in  Ancient Egypt.
 
The museum’s display will use modern technology, where the exhibition galleries are equipped with screens displaying an interactive panoramic film showing the history, and an illustration of each of the ancient Egyptian capitals.
Source:egypttoday

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Discovery , Sakkara "2": Secrets of mummy's portrait exposed under microscope after 1,800 years.

ANALYSIS of an ancient speck of paint has exposed the secrets of a portrait buried alongside an Egyptian mummy more than 1,800 years ago.

The striking painting, known as The Portrait of a Bearded Man, hails from the second century AD when Egypt was under Roman control.

Consequently, the painting does not resemble Egypt's two-dimensional murals that adorned the walls of its numerous temples and tombs. Instead, it is a very life-like depiction of the person it was buried alongside nearly 2,000 years ago. 

The portrait was discovered in Faiyum, some 62 miles southwest of Cairo. Experts have dated it to between 170 and 180 AD, and the painting one of about 1,100 similar works of art from the Roman period of Egypt's history. The portraits were painted onto wooden boards and wrapped up into the linens used to hold their mummified owners together.

Archaeologists believe these depictions not only represent a likeness of their owner but also hold clues about their status in life - one they held or aspired to hold before death. And according to a team of researchers who analysed microscopic amounts of purple pigment from the portrait, status played a big role in how these portraits were assembled.

Darryl Butt, a material scientist at the University of Utah, US, who co-authored a study of the portrait, said: "We're very interested in understanding the meaning and origin of the portraits, and finding ways to connect them and come up with a cultural understanding of why they were even painted in the first place." A small part of the Faiyum portrait shows purple marks on the man's Roman toga or robe - a symbol of status known as the clavi.

Glenn Gates of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where the portrait is housed, said: "Since the purple pigment occurred in the clavi - the purple mark on the toga that in Ancient Roman indicated senatorial or equestrian rank - it was thought that perhaps we were seeing an augmentation of the sitter's importance in the afterlife."
But according to Dr Butt, the purple pigment has only raised more questions about the Egyptian mummy.

In some cultures, the colour purple is viewed as a symbol of death, while others consider it a symbol of life. Purple was also often associated with royalty in ancient times and is still thought of such today. Queen Elizabeth I, for instance, forbade everyone but royalty from wearing the colourAnd purple is believed to have been particularly revered in the Byzantine Empire as a symbol of power.

Dr Butt said: "So the presence of purple on this particular portrait made us wonder what it was made of and what it meant. The colour purple stimulates many questions."

To better unlock the secrets hidden within the portrait's pigments, Dr Gates sents a microscopic particle to Dr Butt and his team to analyse. The speck of paint was about the same width as a human hair - 50 microns across.

Dr Butt said: "The process of analysing something like this is a bit like doing surgery on a flea." However, the expert and his colleagues were able to determine the purple pigment was synthetic in nature, and not naturally from the glands of the Murex sea snails as most purple dyes were at the time.

Instead, the researchers have suggested the purple was an accident - possibly made by mixing together red and blue indigo dyes together. The dye was then likely mixed with clay or a silica material into a pigment that was bound with beeswax. Pigments made this way are known as lake pigments.

Dr Gates said: "Lake pigments were thought to be without crystallinity prior to this work.
Source:express

New Discovery, Sakkara "4": ‘Death has become a big business.’ Elaborate coffins illuminate hidden history of ancient Egypt.

Last week, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced a spectacular find. More than 100 elaborately decorated wooden coffins, many containing intact human mummies, were unearthed at the Saqqara necropolis, a burial complex covering 160 square kilometers and located 20 kilometers south of Cairo. 
The most recent finds date back roughly 2500 years, to a time archaeologists call Egypt’s late period.
Unlike earlier eras in Egyptian history, when prominent people were laid to rest individually in multichambered tombs or inside massive, eye-catching pyramids, Egyptian archaeologists found these coffins stacked two and three deep at the bottom of deep underground shafts.
The artifacts illuminate a lesser known era in Egypt’s history: one separated from the reigns of more familiar pharaohs like Tutankhamun and Ramesses II by more than 700 years of turmoil, civil war, and decline.
Science spoke to University of Tübingen archaeologist Ramadan Hussein, who has excavated extensively at Saqqara but was not part of the latest dig, about what the new finds reveal about the ancient Egyptians. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Why are there so many coffins at this site?

A: By 650 B.C., Egypt was starting to get back on its feet and become a power in the Mediterranean again. At some point the center of power moves back to Memphis, on the other side of the Nile and also about 20 kilometers south of Cairo. Saqqara once more becomes the main cemetery for a thriving, wealthy city full of temples. All those priests and government officials were high-income individuals; that explains why we have so many beautiful coffins from the late period. The richness of the city at the time is reflected in the richness of the burials.

Meanwhile, there’s an intellectual movement to look back at Egyptian history and revive its traditions. They even call it a renaissance at the time: They’re reviving art, literary traditions, and religious practices from 1000 years earlier. That shows up in the decorations and burial practices. You can see a nostalgia for what was good in Egyptian history in the cemeteries at Saqqara, like inscriptions on the coffins replicating religious texts from the walls of nearby pyramids.

Q: Yet Egypt has changed. What do the burials tell you about what was going on at the time?

A: In the late period, Egypt has started becoming an international power again, and as a result it’s becoming a real mosaic of ethnicities: There are Phoenicians and Greeks and Libyans, and you can see their influence in the grave goods, from a gilded silver mask made from imported metal we discovered in 2018 to pottery and precious oils. Trade connections with Greece are intensifying. Many of the coffins at Saqqara are made from expensive wood brought in from southern Europe and elsewhere around the Mediterranean.

Q: But there are no new pyramids.

A: No, but death has become a big business. Discoveries like this are important for what they tell us about how you administer a cemetery and run the business of death. Priests and undertakers at Saqqara are selling everything from mummification services to burial plots. The ideology of death had shifted. People weren’t focused on the size of their tomb, they were happy to be buried in a sacred precinct and a nice coffin.

For example, a lot of these coffins come from shafts cut into older buildings: Apparently the best way to sell new cemetery plots was to put them close to places considered ancient and therefore sacred. Undertakers would just stack as many coffins as they could in tunnels at the bottom of each shaft—they promised customers it would be in a sacred space, not that it would be private.

Q: Is there more to come?

A: Will we see another find like this? Definitely. There are more of these shafts we haven’t found yet. But analyzing the texts and scenes on the Saqqara coffins alone is going to give us work for the next 50 years.

Source:sciencemag

Thursday, November 19, 2020

News: Egypt celebrates 118th anniversary of renowned Cairo museum.

Egypt celebrated late on Tuesday the 118th anniversary of the establishment of the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo.
Held at the museum in Tahrir Square, the celebration was attended by Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany, government officials and a number of foreign envoys, including the Chinese ambassador to Cairo Liao Liqiang.
The celebration witnessed the opening of two exhibitions at the museum.
During the event, al-Anany delivered 100 ancient coins that belong to China, Saudi Arabia and India.
“This is the second time that the Egyptian government returned smuggled cultural relics to the Chinese government,” Liao told Xinhua.
He also congratulated al-Anany for the major discoveries that have been made in Egypt recently.

Al-Anany said in a speech that the main artifacts at the Egyptian Museum will remain, except the collection of King Tutankhamen and the renowned Royal Mummies, which will be permanently displayed at the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.
Over the past few years, the Ministry of Tourism Antiquities has been moving a lot of its unique artifacts to the GEM near the Pyramids Plateau in Giza.
“The Egyptian Museum will never die, even after the transfer of Tutankhamen collections and the Royal Mummies to other museums,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Xinhua.
Sabah Abdel-Razek, director-general of the Egyptian Museum, said that the museum is going through an all-out development process to restore its original historical character.

“We are currently working to restore its original shape and color … we are also developing the exhibition halls,” she told Xinhua. 
“We have a complete development plan for the museum that will be carried out soon in cooperation with major international museums.”
The two-storey museum was built during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmi II in 1897 and opened for visitors in mid-November 1902.
The ground floor is specified for featuring heavy monuments such as large statues, coffins, wall inscriptions and others, while the upper floor showcases drawings, small statues, ancient tools, in addition to the complete set of ancient King Tutankhamen’s artifacts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

News: A tour of the Royal Chariots Museum shows off the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

The Royal Chariots Museum in Bulaq Abul-Ela has opened its doors to allow visitors to spend a day and experience the majestic lifestyle of the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

Considered one of the oldest qualitative museums in the world, the museum is also one of the most important museums dedicated to chariots globally. It had been under restoration and development until recently, with the restoration having started in 2001 and suspended several times until properly resuming in 2017. Development included rehabilitation of the building and its structural support, the restoration of its façades, and finalizing all architectural finishes.

The museum’s various collections grant visitors a glimpse into royalty, with celebration halls resembling old Egyptian streets filled with royal carriages of various sizes and types, dating back to the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha’s family.

The basalt on the floor of the hall remains the same since the museum was first established during the reign of Khedive Ismail (1863-1879).

The museum includes a collection of horse gear and supplies, and clothing for carriage workers. It also features a collection of oil paintings depicting kings and princesses from the era.

The Royal Chariots Museum’s main purpose is to shed light on unique artifacts through the museum’s five exhibition halls, and plays a role as a strong and important addition to Egypt’s archaeological sector.

The first hall is the gift hall, in which the vehicles gifted to the Muhammad Ali dynasty are displayed during various occasions, mostly notable of which being a caravan presented by French Empress Eugénie de Montijo to Khedive Ismail on the occasion of the opening of Suez Canal.

The second hall is an open-air exhibition hall in which the rarest types of vehicles are displayed such as the Alay chariot, horse-drawn carriages manufactured with certain specifications for kings and senior statesmen.

The third hall is the main hall of the museum. It displays the carriages used by members of the Muhammad Ali dynasty during various official occasions, in addition to oil paintings of the dynasty’s royal family members.

In the fourth hall, you will find the clothes of stablemen, and a set of special accessories used to decorate the horses in the fifth hall.

A special celebration was held for opening the Royal Chariots Museum, launched by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in the presence of many ministers, public figures and 50 ambassadors from different countries. Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, said that the museum enjoys the possession of purely Egyptian antiquities.

New Discovery, Saqqara "3": Mummy count continues to grow at ancient Egypt burial site.

The number of mummy-filled coffins found in a series of burial shafts at Saqqara in Egypt keeps growing, archaeologists with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reported.

At the start of September, the team had found 13 coffins with mummies inside. By the beginning of October, that number had risen to 59, and now the number is over 100, archaeologists reported in a statement issued Saturday (Nov. 14).

People are "asking how many coffins did we find. The answer is I don't know yet," said Mustafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in a video released by the ministry and the Smithsonian Channel, which is filming the excavations.

Inside the burial shafts, the team also found 40 statues depicting the deity "Ptah-Soker," the ministry said. This deity is an amalgamation of "Ptah," who was the god of Memphis, and "Soker," who was the god of Saqqara. Archaeologists also found 20 wooden boxes showing depictions of Horus — an Egyptian sky god with a falcon head. Additionally, two wooden statues are inscribed with the name "Phnomus," though the researchers are still trying to figure out who that person was in antiquity.

Numerous shabti figurines were also found. Ancient Egyptians believed that shabtis acted as servants for the deceased in the afterlife.

The various finds date back between roughly 712 B.C. and 30 B.C., according to the ministry statement. During this time period, ancient Egypt was occupied and controlled by foreign groups such as the Assyrians, Persians and Greeks. 

At times, Egypt would regain its independence only to lose it to another foreign power. Excavations continue at the site, and the archaeologists expect to find more coffins filled with mummies and other artifacts, said Khaled El-Enany, Egypt's antiquities minister.

The Smithsonian Channel is filming a documentary called "Tomb Hunters" and released a statement claiming that some of the artifacts date back 4,500 years — to around the time when the Giza Pyramids were being built. The antiquities ministry statement has not confirmed this claim.

Source:livescience

Monday, November 16, 2020

News: Egypt's tourism & antiquities min. embarks on an inspection tour to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

Egypt's Minister of Tourism & Antiquities Khaled el-Enany visited the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Old Cairo.
The museum is located on an area of ​​135 thousand square meters.
Enany visited the museum in order to follow up on the progress of work there in preparation for receiving the Royal Mummies Parade from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.
Enany also reviewed the work that is currently in full swing to equip the central exhibition gallery and the mummies gallery in preparation for their opening.
He checked the museum’s multimedia display, which is an integral part of the museum’s display scenario.
It relies on the dazzling display of content that paves the way for visitors to enter the museum’s most important gallery: The gallery of the Royal Mummies.

Furthermore, Enany was accompanied by Director of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization Ahmed Ghoneim, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, Head of the Museums Sector Moamen Othman, Adviser to the Minister for Museums Display Scenario Ali Omar and members of the committee. 
During the visit, Enany instructed the staff to make some adjustments in the way some artifacts are displayed and rearranged them according to the museum's display scenario, in addition to adding some pieces to enrich the museum’s display. 
At the end of the visit, Enany held two meetings with the members of the museum’s display scenario committee, during which he discussed the display scenario of the artifacts in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the Administrative Capital Museum in the City of Culture and Arts in the New Administrative Capital, and the Grand Egyptian Museum.
The project of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization will play a big role in introducing visitors to the various aspects of Egyptian civilization throughout history, with its manifestations of the richness and diversity of the Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times to the modern era, through its unique collections.
Source:egypttoday

New Discovery, Sakkara "2":Egypt unveils 2,500-year-old ancient coffins, statues found in Saqqara.

Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.
Colourful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
Archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth inside. They also carried out X‐raying visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.
Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told a news conference that the discovered items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years – from around 320 B.C. to about 30 B.C, and the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).

He said they would move the artefacts to at least three Cairo museums including the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids. He said they would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year.
The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the famed Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1970s.
Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in hopes of spurring a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Source:stuff

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Discovery, Sakkara "1": Egypt announces the biggest archaeological discovery in 2020 at Saqqara Necropolis.

A collection of 100 intact 26th Dynasty coffins were unearthed in Egypt's Saqqara Necropolis, in addition to golden funerary masks and a collection of 40 wooden statues of Saqqara goddess Ptah Soker, some of which are gilded.

Excavations conducted by the Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara Necropolis resulted in the discovery of three 12- metre deep shafts, closed for more than 2,500 years, containing 100 intact, sealed and painted anthropoid coffins.

During the announcement, a CT- scan was conducted on a mummy in one of the coffins. It was revealed that the deceased died in his 40s, was 175 cm tall, healthy, and did not suffer any fatal diseases.

Bassem Gehad, who conducted the scan, said the deceased was perfectly mummified with his arms crossed on his chest, in a position known in ancient Egypt as the Osiris shape.

“It is a great discovery in 2020, but it is not the last one,” said khaled El-Enany, the minister of tourism and antiquities.

"We have discovered only one per cent of the antiquities buried in the Saqqara Necropolis," he added, pointing out that many other discoveries will follow.

El-Enany stated a discovery made by renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass will be announced soon in Saqqara. 

He explained the coffins will distributed among the Cairo Museum in Tahrir, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and the National Museum of Egyptian civilization.

The Egyptian archaeological mission made throughout the past years a number of important discoveries in Saqqara, the last of which was in October when the mission unearthed 59 painted coffins with mummies in a good condition of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty. 

A short film released by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to coincide with the discovery described the Saqqara Necropolis as a “sacred place where the rich and powerful wanted to be buried."

The video showed many statues of animals, figurines, as well as intact and sealed coffins.

“That is what we were expecting; the coffins were well-sealed, no chemical reaction, no air inside, nothing, that is why it is all in perfect condition of preservation,” the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziry, explained in the film.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

New Discovery Saqqara "2': Ancient Egyptian coffins unearthed 400 years ago ‘virtually’ opened to reveal ‘bodies buried with organs’ and gold coins.

Scientists were able to peer inside the ancient coffins without opening them thanks to a few CT scans.
Two of the coffins were found 400 years ago in a rock cut tomb at the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt.
Only three of these coffins are known to still exist and the third one was also found at Saqqara at a later date.
They're known as 'stucco-shrouded portrait mummies' because the outside of the coffin supposedly depicts what the people inside looked like when they were alive.
One contains a male and the other two contain females, one of which is a teenager girl.
These mummies were unusual because they were placed on wooden boards, wrapped in decorative shrouds and then covered in plaster on which a whole-body portrait and gold was added.
CT scans showed that the teenage girl mummy was definitely buried with all of her organs inside.
That includes the brain, which was often removed during standard mummification.
Researchers think all of the mummies may have been left with their organs inside, which then decayed.
Both women were buried wearing multiple necklaces and all of the coffins contained artefacts that Egyptians may have thought were useful in the afterlife.
These include coins that might have been intended for paying Charon, a god believed to carry souls across the river.
All the mummies date to the late Roman period in Egypt, which was around 30 BCE to CE 395.
It's thought they were all fairly wealthy when they were alive.
The two famous mummies found together in Saqqara were X-rayed before in the 1980s but the CT scans revealed much more.
For example, we now know the woman died in her 30s and was around 4'11".
She is also thought to have suffered with arthritis.
The teenage girl died between the ages of 17 and 19 and had a benign tumour in her spine.
The male was around 5'4" inches, died around the age of 25 and had some quite bad dental issues.
The teenage mummy is on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt.
The other two can be found at an exhibition in Dresden in Germany.
This research has been published in the journal PLOS One
Source:thesun

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

News: Egyptian Expert Believes He Has Found Out How the Great Pyramid Was Built Without Modern Technology.

An archaeologist has stated that he has finally solved the mystery regarding the Great Pyramid's peculiar alignment after he spotted a 'flaw'.
The expert from Egypt believes that he has got the answer to how the ancient civilization was able to make such a complex structure without the help of modern technology, as per reports.
Researchers from the US-based Glen Dash Research Foundation and the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) had earlier identified the flaw in the alignment. 
A well-known theory suggests that the 4,500-year-old structure that is estimated to weigh more than six million tonnes got built after huge stones were moved from a nearby quarry, dragged, and also lifted into the place.
The researchers found that three sides of the base of the pyramid were once between 230.295 meters and 230.373 meters long, but the west side came in between 230.378 meters and also 230.436 meters, which means it was off by around 14.1 cm, as reported by the Express.
But, the sides fit properly despite the measurements along with the cardinal points of north, east, south, and west with all three of the largest pyramids of Egypt, two in Giza and one at the Dahshur, which are remarkably aligned.
Archaeologist and engineer Glen Dash stated, "All three pyramids exhibit the same manner of error, they are rotated slightly counterclockwise from the cardinal points," as reported by the Daily Star.
Many hypotheses exist as to how the workers from ancient times did this, which include using the pole star to align the pyramids or the shadow of the Sun, but Dash stated he had cracked the mystery.
His study that was published in The Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture, suggested that the people from Egypt made use of the autumnal equinox for achieving perfect alignment.
The Earth is tilted on the axis, which means that as it orbits the Sun, the star illuminates the northern or southern hemisphere more depending on the orbit.
However, at two points in the year, the Sun illuminates the northern and also the southern hemispheres equally, which is known as the equinox.
The researcher also showed the chances of error were similar to those discovered in the alignment of the Khufu and Khafre pyramids at Giza and the Red pyramid at Dahshur.
Despite the convincing argument, there is no proper evidence that it was the case. "The Egyptians, unfortunately, left us a few clues.
No engineering documents or architectural plans have been found that give technical explanations demonstrating how the ancient Egyptians aligned any of their temples or pyramids," Dash's report concluded. 
Source:ibtimes

New Discovery, Saqqara "1": Archaeologists finally peer inside Egyptian mummies first found in 1615.

Two ancient mummies discovered in a rock-cut tomb in Egypt more than 400 years ago are finally spilling their secrets, now that scientists have CT scanned their remains, a new study finds.
Both mummies, as well as a third on display in Egypt, represent the only known surviving "stucco-shrouded portrait mummies," from Saqqara, an ancient Egyptian necropolis. Unlike other mummies, who were buried in coffins, these individuals were placed on wooden boards, wrapped in a textile and a "beautiful mummy shroud," and decorated with 3D plaster, gold and a whole-body portrait, said study lead researcher Stephanie Zesch, a physical anthropologist and Egyptologist at the German Mummy Project at Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
Now, CT (computed tomography) scans reveal that at least one of these three stucco-shrouded portrait mummies was buried with organs (even the brain) and that the two females were interred with beautiful necklaces, the researchers found
.

The CT scans also showed that after the deaths of these individuals — a man, woman and teenage girl dating to the late Roman period (30 B.C. to A.D. 395) — their mummies were interred with artifacts likely thought useful in the afterlife, including coins that were possibly meant to pay Charon, the Roman and Greek deity thought to carry souls across the River Styx.
The CT scans also revealed several medical problems, including arthritis in the woman. "The examination of the individuals yielded that they died at rather young ages … however, the cause of death of the individuals could not be determined," Zesch told Live Science.
Long journey
Two of these mummies have traveled far and wide. In 1615, Pietro Della Valle (1586−1652), an Italian composer, took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and ended up traveling through Egypt. He learned about two stucco-shrouded portrait mummies — a man and woman — discovered by locals in Saqqara. Della Valle acquired these mummies and brought them to Rome, making them the "earliest examples of portrait mummies to have become known in Europe," the researchers wrote in the study.
After passing through several owners, and a little worse for wear, the mummies ended up in the Dresden State Art Collections in Germany, where they were X-rayed in the late 1980s. However, the CT scan revealed much more about their insides.

For instance, the CT scan revealed that the male died between the ages of 25 and 30. He stood about 5'4" inches (164 centimeters) tall, and had two unerupted permanent teeth and several cavities. Some of his bones were broken and jumbled, probably because someone unwrapped him shortly after the mummy's discovery, the researchers wrote in the study. 

While the man's brain was not   preserved, there's no evidence it  was removed through his nose. Nor were many embalming substances used.
Instead, he was wrapped up and painted. Two metal objects found during the CT scan are likely seals from the mummification workshop that handled his remains, Zesch said.
The woman's brain wasn't preserved either, but the teenager's was — it had shrunk, but the cerebrum and brainstem were still identifiable — and the teenager's other internal organs were also present. 
"We are quite sure there was no removing the brain or the internal organs" from these mummies, Zesch said.
"It's very probable that those mummies were only preserved because of a kind of dehydration with the use of [the desiccation mixture] natron, but there is not a huge amount of embalming liquids."

The woman, who died between the ages of 30 and 40, stood about 4'11" (151 cm) tall.
She had advanced arthritis in her left knee. The teenager, who wore a hairpin, according to the CT scan, died between the ages of 17 and 19, and stood about 5'1" (156 cm) tall. She had a benign tumor in her spine known as a vertebral hemangioma, which is more common in people over 40, the researchers said. 
Both women were buried with multiple necklaces. It's exciting to see these necklaces, but it's not unexpected, Zesch said.
"Because of these very precious shrouds, we are sure that those individuals have to be members of the higher socioeconomic class," meaning that they could have easily afforded jewelry, Zesch said. 
Zesch noted that she studied the three mummies with a multidisciplinary team from the German Mummy Project, the Dresden State Art Collections, the Institute for Mummy Studies at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy and the American-Egyptian Horus Study Group.
Their work informed a now-live interactive exhibit of the male and female mummy in Dresden.
The teenager's mummy is on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Discovery , Saqqara "4": Egypt to announce biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 soon.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will announce the biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 at a press conference in the Saqqara necropolis in the next few days.
The Egyptian archaeological mission announced that, in the past few years, a number of important archaeological discoveries in Saqqara have been made. 
The last of these was the discovery of 59 well-preserved, painted coffins of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty, with mummies still inside.
The discovery was announced at an international press conference early last October.
The excavations of the Egyptian archaeological mission, which is working in the Saqqara necropolis, discovered new shafts filled with a huge number of intact, painted and anthropoid coffins buried inside.
Such is the size of the new discovery, that it exceeds even the huge number of coffins that were discovered and announced in early October. The shafts, which have been closed for over 2,500 years, include a number of gilded artefacts, including wooden statues and coloured and gilded masks
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Sunday, November 8, 2020

News: Egypt's tourism & antiquities min. to open restoration project of Siwa Oasis village of Shali.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled Anani and EU Ambassador in Cairo Christian Berger will open on Friday a project on renovating and reviving the archaeological village of Shali in Siwa Oasis of the Mediterranean governorate of Matrouh.
 
Matrouh Governor Khaled Showeib will also attend the event which comes two years after the commencement of the restoration operation which was backed by the European Union. 
This coincides with directives of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to develop Siwa Oasis while maintaining its distinctive heritage.

The development is meant to promote the economic and investment position of the oasis and promote it as a unique tourist destination.
In statements to MENA, Head of the Shali restoration project Emad Farid said Shali is one of the most important Islamic archaeological sites in the Western Desert. 
He noted that Egypt and the EU renovated Shali's ancient fortress to be placed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. 
He referred to the restoration of Tetnady Mosque which was opened in 2018. 
He added that the Shali Castle which was built of kershif - a traditional Siwan building technique using natural materials - was about to vanish due to climate factors, therefore this massive restoration project was launched with an EU financial support estimated at 0.5 million euros.

Source: egypttoday

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 ...