Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New Discovery, Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb' Review: Egypt excavation documentary plays out like an ancient true crime show.

Think of ancient Egypt and the first things that probably come to your mind are buried treasures, curses, and 'The Mummy' (whether that is the Brendan Fraser or the Tom Cruise version probably depends on how old you are). Nevertheless, unless you are someone who is extremely interested in the subject and well-versed, whatever comes to your mind is potentially offensive. 
This comes from a principle known as orientalism.
The word was coined by the late Palestinian-American philosopher, Edward Said, to describe how Westerners would often exoticize the Middle East and Asia -- for instance, think of 'Aladdin' (both the original and the remake are guilty of being orientalist) or even, 'The Mummy'.
It is not often you see a documentary on Egyptology that does not involve an offensive outtake, but with Netflix's latest documentary, 'Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb', you can expect something completely different. 
For one thing, almost everyone featured in the documentary is Egyptian -- as one archaeologist says, because they are looking at the stories of their own ancestors, they have a different perspective than those coming from outside.
That difference is something you can see and feel throughout the documentary. As the excavations and the artifacts are shown, not once do these people forget that they are handling the remains of people who were once living and the experts featured treat everything with the utmost respect. 

'Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb' is also very emotional -- and it is quite unexpected for a documentary that features many shots of just people digging through sand. 
We meet many people who work on the Saqqara excavations, including archaeologists Hamada Mansour and Mohammed Mohammed Yousef, and digger Ghereeb.
In the nearly 120-minute long documentary, we learn just as much about the story of these people as we learn about Wahtye, the ancient Egyptian priest who is the focus of the dig at the ancient burial ground.
At one point, as Hamada is excavating in a shaft as others carefully look on, he accidentally disturbs the wooden coffin, and as the pieces of wood fall, so does your heart. 
The unraveling of Wahtye's story is just as intense as the anticipation with which the dig proceeds -- they need to find something substantial before the budget runs out for the season so they can extend it to another season. 
The documentary is filled with incredible finds -- like the first mummified lion ever found (a lion cub), and a statue for which its three broken parts were found separately in separate seasons. 
Another fascinating aspect of the documentary is the presence of women among the men who are digging through the tombs of ancient Egypt.
Three of the experts featured in the documentary are women -- the hieroglyphics expert Nermeen, the anthropologist and rheumatology expert, Amira Shaheen, and funerary archaeologist and archaeozoologist, Salima Ikram. 
All three women do an incredible job of piecing together a story from thousands of years ago, just from the bones and objects they find.

There is, of course, one thing that stays with the viewer long after you've watched 'Secrets of Saqqara Tomb'. Hamada says that the Bubasteion Necropolis at Saqqara is strange because it does not give the archaeologists what they are expecting -- and "that's a wonderful thing.
" He says this twice, the second time comes when just as the men are cleaning up everything as the budget runs out, they discover something extraordinary.
 You would not expect a documentary on archaeology and history to bring tears to your eyes in the end, but that is exactly what 'Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb' does.
'Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb' is now streaming on Netflix.

News, Esna: Egypt’s city of Esna is slowly regaining its glory amid renewed interest in its heritage.

Egypt’s city of Esna is slowly regaining its glory amid renewed interest in its heritage
The Ministry of Antiquities and an urban development company, with US funding, are advancing a major project to revive tourism in the city of Esna in Luxor governorate, by not only promoting its ancient heritage but also by implicating the locals.
The city of Esna, located on the banks of the Nile River just 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the south of Luxor, is undergoing an ambitious project to document and preserve some of its key heritage sites. The work aims to reposition the city as an important cultural destination on Egypt’s tourist map and pave the way for its economic development and sustainable revitalization.
Rediscovering Esna’s Culture Heritage Assets (RECHA) project is being implemented by the urban development company Takween along with the Ministry
of Antiquities and Luxor governorate, and is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). 
The program started in 2016, but has been presented to the public this year and its first tourist promotion video was released Sept. 28, on World Tourism Day.
“It is a project where we are trying to test a model to see [how] provincial cities like Esna can capitalize on their cultural assets, both tangible and intangible.
And how these can become an agent for economic development in the city,” Kareem Ibrahim, CEO and co-founder of Takween and RECHA’s project director, told Al-Monitor.
The history of Esna dates back to the Pharaonic era, when it stood as the capital of one of Egypt’s regions at the time.
The city remained important for over 2,000 years as a hub of trade and commerce that left behind assets and wealth of the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, Islamic and modern eras. 
Its prominence, however, started to fade at the beginning of the 20th century with the rise of Luxor as a major tourist destination in the country, in a process that eventually led to its gradual deterioration before being forgotten.
Today, Esna stands as a frequent stop for Nile cruises given that its city center is home to the Temple of Esna, dedicated to the ancient deity Khnum.
Its construction began during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt and was completed during the Ptolemaic and Roman period. Esna is also famous for its barrage bridges, including the now-obsolete one built in 1906 by the British and the modern Electricity Bridge from the 1990s.
Yet Ibrahim said that the current tourism model has a very limited impact on local residents, given the little interaction between them and tourists.
To change this dynamic, RECHA has been primarily devised as an urban development project that initially focuses on locals rather than on tourists.
This way, the project aims to first integrate residents, improve their living conditions and bring economic benefits for them, and with the intention that this will ultimately make it appealing for tourists as well.
“The problem is that in Egypt you have large numbers of tourists and revenues, but what really stays with the local communities is minimal,” Ibrahim said. “In places like Esna tourists go to the temple, buy a ticket and leave, so whether you have 40,000 or 1 million visitors a year, it does not really matter. We are trying to change that.”

The most important building that the project has aimed to preserve is the 18th century Wakalat al-Jiddawi, a two-story building that used to work as a caravanserai and stands today as a witness and representative of Esna’s commercial importance and its thriving economic life in the 18th and the 19th centuries. 
The building, listed as a monument in the 1950s but never properly restored, is located in the intersection of the city that overlooks the street of the bazar and the Khnum Temple. It can become a tourist and social center.
RECHA has also restored facades of about 10 other significant buildings, which are not listed as monuments, in an attempt to draw the attention of locals, government officials and visitors alike.
Finally, the project has also restored parts of Al-Qasareya Street, which is a typical, mostly covered street that runs from north to south and holds most of the city’s economic activity. Before the intervention, more than half of the more than 110 shops in Al-Qasareya — which is famous for its fabrics, sewing tools and tailor shops — remained closed. 
But Ibrahim said that people are starting to reinvest and visit the area again.
“The market [before the renovation] was not very busy and most customers were afraid to come because the street was not paved, the market was not well lit and its wooden ceiling was [about] to fall,” said Adel al-Ansari, the owner of a clothing store located on Al-Qasareya who renovated his shop at the same time when the area was restored.
“After the restoration the situation became different and safer. [Now] it is much better.
There is a boom, which will encourage more people to work and open shops that were closed,” Ansari told Al-Monitor, explaining that he himself is planning to expand his shop and buy another one.
Other hidden gems from Esna that RECHA aims to capitalize on are the city’s corniche, where its old barrage and some of its most notable historical buildings and palaces stand, as well as the city center, home to several other significant buildings and street vendors. 
Another remarkable site in the area is the only oil press that still remains in Esna from the more than 30 presses that used to work in the city over the past two centuries.
“The importance of the project lies in the preservation of the remaining architectural heritage [of the city],” Ahmed Hassan, head of the Esna and Armant areas at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told Al-Monitor. 
“The second goal is to make tourist visits longer; instead of tourists just visiting the temple [encourage them] to visit other buildings that are being restored around the city.”
The project is working on management plans to define the future use of the different sites that have been preserved, and it is also developing a tourist map of the city for marketing and promotional purposes.
RECHA has received funding to keep working until 2024.
“Before we got involved it was only the temple that was known. There was nothing else,” Ibrahim said. “What we are trying to do is to show that the city has a lot to offer, just like many other cities in Egypt.”
He added, “If given the right care and attention, Esna can become a multidestination site, rather than a single destination one."
As part of its efforts to preserve and foster Esna’s intangible activities in order to maintain its local environment, RECHA is also conducting different workshops to build the human capacity of locals. 
These put a special emphasis on tourism and on the skills of craftsmen. They have already encouraged partnerships between the city administration, businessmen from the area and locals.
“During [one of] these workshops we conducted field visits; we were trained as tourist guides and on how to deal with different age groups to deliver information in a suitable manner,” said Rehab Mukhtar Abdel Haris, a graduate of Egyptian archaeology at South Valley University who participated in a workshop and has already led several school trips on guided tours within Esna.
She told Al-Monitor that the handicraft workshops devoted to housewives and girls who have not completed their studies are also “very useful” given that “they can practice these crafts at home” and sell them.
“It is a 360-degree program,” Ibrahim said. “We are focusing on physical, marketing and economic components, and on the human capital, to give a boost to the city.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

New Egyptian Discovery: 3,300-Year-Old Egyptian Hairstyles Revealed They Wore Extensions.

Many women these days view their hair as a kind of accessory with which to play, changing its look, colour and even length depending on the season, their outfit, and whether they are feeling casual or sombre, or they’re just in the mood for a different look.
Hairstyles are part of fashion, every bit as important to a woman’s look as the shoes she wears or the purse she carries.
Nowadays, even women with short hair aren’t prevented from wearing a long, curly look – they simply add extensions and give their appearance a whole new vibe.
Most women today imagine that extensions (and other changes they can make) are recent innovations, a far cry from their grandmother’s day, when the only option was a bottle of peroxide, and that was only if they wanted to look like a bombshell movie star. 
Choices in those days, say 75 years ago, were truly limited, at least when it came to colour.
But as the saying goes, nothing on this earth is really new. And the ancient Egyptians, a truly advanced and sophisticated group, proved that repeatedly with everything from burial techniques that preserved bodies to hairstyles, colours and curls.

What we do now in expensive salons, techniques stylists imagine are cutting edge, are in fact as much as 3,300 years old, thanks to the Egyptians. Even extensions, which celebrities like Kim Kardashian tout as modern and fun, were worn by many women in ancient Egypt, and they were even buried wearing them, too.
Take the cemetery at the city of El-Amarna, for example. The cherished archaeological site, which has been undergoing exploration and excavation since 1977, revealed in 2014 examples of women who, thousands of years ago, wore intricate updos, extensions and even skull caps.
One skull was found six years ago with about 70 hair extensions still attached, and experts worked to recreate exactly what the Egyptian mummified body would have looked like when alive – hairdo intact.
The ongoing project is done by the Institute of Archaeological Research of Cambridge University in England, with the support and permission of the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt.
The hairdos found indicate that women of ancient Egypt favoured complicated styles, ones that featured a variety of layers and lengths.
Several Egyptian skulls are so well preserved that archaeologists can get a clear, comprehensive picture of what trends and colours were fashionable back then. One skull shows that henna was likely used to cover grey hair on one woman, thereby giving her a more auburn shade, and probably a more youthful appearance.
These skulls and remains may be more than 3,000 years old, but the motivations behind the women’s choices were, it’s fair to say, timeless and still prevalent.

The Amarna Project continues to pull back the curtain on this ancient city, which citizens abandoned after the death of the pharaoh who built it.
The site consists of several zones, one of which is called Central City, where administration buildings, temples and palaces were built when the city was first constructed.
The pharaoh, Akhenaten, ruled from approximately 1353 until 1335 B.C. Historians say his greatest impact on his people was a change to their religion, moving it more fully to worshipping the sun.
Building Amarna was in keeping with those beliefs, but once the pharaoh passed away, citizens felt less compelled to stay in this city in the desert.
The Amarna Project continues to reveal much about ancient Egypt, its practices, religious beliefs and societal norms.
Another Article From Us: Tutankhamun Dagger Was Made From a Meteorite
The women with these remarkable hairstyles are just one more piece of the puzzle, the puzzle that teaches so much about Egypt’s past, but also about its present and, perhaps, about its future. 

News: Crocodiles in Ancient Egypt.

According to archaeologists, it looks like worshipers of the croc deity Sobek bred the Nile’s most famous reptile for mummification.
Nobody loved animals in quite the way the ancient Egyptians did.
Not only did they incorporate animals into their pantheons, they also honored them as gods by breeding the animals, then sacrificing and mummifying them.
Look no further than the Egyptians’ complex relationship with the Nile’s crocodiles.
After all, they both worshiped the crocodile god Sobek and bred, raised, and mummified tons of baby crocs.
Sobek and affiliated reptilian deities had their headquarters in the Faiyum, an oasis in Upper Egypt; their popularity peaked in the Greco-Roman period (332 BCE–395 CE).
According to scholar Michal Molcho, a crocodile cemetery in the Faiyum, especially the town of Tebtunis, contained thousands of mummies.
The sheer scale suggests that “the young reptiles may have been bred commercially”
Greek and Roman primary sources, like Herodotus and Strabo, place great emphasis on the care Egyptians paid their crocs.
Molcho posits that the sheer number of crocodile mummies meant that people would have had to capture or breed them by the thousands; breeding might have been easier after several generations of taming the animals, rather than trapping dozens of reptiles or stealing eggs.
The written evidence for croc keepers is scarce, but the evidence for breeding programs of other sacred animals is abundant.

As Molcho suggests, scholars can extrapolate from this knowledge to understand more about what went on in the Faiyum.
Contemporaneous evidence for the cult of the ibis (sacred to Thoth) and the cult of the hawk (sacred to Horus) mention formal positions for bird “attendants.” These sacred animals and their offspring even had their own bodyguards, as well as their own feeding grounds, leased by shrines for the birds’ exclusive use. Temples to Sobek owned quite a bit of land in their own right, so it’s likely some was set aside for crocs to devour goodies as they pleased. 
Molcho notes a fascinating discovery in the Faiyum town of Narmouthis. There, archaeologists have singled out two buildings as “a crocodile nursery and hatchery,” suggesting an institutional breeding program was, indeed, present in at least one town.
About ninety crocodile eggs were discovered, buried in deep holes, being incubated. Once hatched, the baby crocodiles would reside in shallow basins before being “sacrificed, mummified and then sold to worshipers as votive dedications.”
The fact that Narmouthis provides the only extant evidence for crocodile hatcheries might be a bit of a fluke, however. If the Egyptians utilized the marshy conditions near the Faiyum canals to create crocodile-breeding havens, then physical evidence from many nurseries has likely been drowned or destroyed.
Molcho also suggests a regional trade network in the Faiyum. 
Perhaps the animals were bred in one place and exported to another for mummification, which allowed the whole region, rather than one town, to profit from the business.
Thus, the Egyptians worshiped and commodified the croc: a truly complex inter-species bond.

News: Lead-based Inks Were Used as Driers in Ancient Egypt.

Anew study conducted by the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark has discovered that lead compounds in red and black inks were present in the 12 samples of Egyptian papyri analysed by them. Papyrus is a material that was prepared in ancient Egypt and used for writing or making ropes.
As per a report in the Science Daily, the researchers were surprised to find these two elements in papyri. They believe that the inks were used for their drying properties and not as pigments.
Using advanced synchrotron radiation-based X-ray microscopy equipment, researchers investigated the red and black ink present in the 12 samples.
Speaking about the research, UCPH’s Thomas Christianse, an Egyptologist who is also the first author of this paper, said that papyri fragments are taken from the Tebtunis temple library and the inks that have both lead-based and iron-based compounds.
Sine Larsen, a Chemistry professor at UCPH and co-author of this study, informed that while iron-based elements are found in red inks, lead-based compounds are present in both the inks.
She added, “Since we did not identify any of the typical lead-based pigments used to colour the ink, we suggest that this particular lead compound was used by the scribes to dry the ink rather than as a pigment.”
This new study is significant in understanding the use of inks as driers in ancient times.
A previous study on 15th-century European oil paintings had given similar results. In that as well, the application of lead-based drying technique was discovered to make the paintings.
It is established that Egyptians must have discovered the drying properties of the lead-based compounds 1,400 years earlier than Europeans.
The report says that it has been established earlier that in Egypt, inks were used as early as 3200 BC to write text.
Black ink was used to write the body while red ink was used as a highlighter, marking heading and keywords.

New Egypt bombshell: 4,500-year-old Saqqara mummy bone analysis ‘could change ancient history’.

Egypt bombshell: 4,500-year-old Saqqara mummy bone analysis ‘could change ancient history’
EGYPT experts made the stunning discovery of an intact tomb of a high-ranking official in Saqqara, and analysis of his bones "could change ancient history".
Wahtye was a priest who served under the third king of the Fifth Dynasty, Pharaoh Neferirkare. Described as a “once in a generation” find, his tomb was found in a remarkable state of preservation – with 55 statues carved into the walls – making it the most decorated tomb ever found in Saqqara. Excavations led by a team of Egyptian archaeologists uncovered over 3,000 artefacts during their journey, helping to piece together the secrets of what has been called “Egypt’s most significant find in almost 50 years”.

Netflix’s new documentary ‘Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb’ follows the decoding of the burial of the Old Kingdom priest, untouched for 4,500 years and the excavation of five shafts to uncover the rest of his family.
But Professor of Rheumatology at Cairo University, Dr Amira Shaheen, revealed during the series how she discovered an anomaly within the remains of Wahtye’s bones.
She said: “His skeleton is kept better than the other ones.
“Although he’s a man, he still had some feminine features for his skull.
He seems to be a very delicate man. He’s about 35 years old.
“I think this was Wahtye, at last, I meet him.

“He does not have that strong or rough muscle attachment, which may indicate that he was a fine man with a fine job.”
But the expert found that some of the bones were distended – an indication of what possibly led to his death.
She added: “The skull of Wahtye was showing thickening of the bone and this can give us an indication that something was happening inside these bones.
“These bones can tell us that this person may have some sort of anaemia.
“The same swelling was found in the mother; we have congenital causes of anaemia.
“This is a remote idea because they both died at a different age, but by putting the whole situation together, we may think of some sort of disease, or epidemic. Most probably malaria.

“It may have affected this whole family. If that’s true, it would change ancient Egyptian history.”
This is a monumental theory, as if proven, it will be the first documented case of malaria in history by more than 1,000 years.
The documentary, which will be released globally on Netflix tomorrow, also features the exploration of the wider ancient necropolis where Egyptians buried their dead over thousands of years.
It details the discovery of shafts filled with mummified animals, beautifully preserved human mummies still inside their highly decorated coffins, funerary artefacts and rare finds spanning from the Old, New and Late Kingdoms.
The documentary was filmed in Saqqara, less than a mile from the site of the Step Pyramid – one of the oldest and most iconic stone structures on Earth.
Director James Tovell said in a press release: “This has been an exciting moment for the whole world.
“Shooting this film has been an experience full of thrilling surprises. Working with an Egyptian team that has a deep connection with their ancestors has made the project even more unique.”

New Discovery, El-Minya "4": Egyptian Pharaonic Tomb Of Elite Family And Countless Artifacts Found.

Major archaeological finds in Egypt continue to be unearthed and this one involves an entire elite family burial tomb. Archaeologists have found a new ancient Egyptian pharaonic tomb, belonging to an important royal official, that is roughly 2,500 years old. The recently unearthed Egyptian pharaonic tomb includes the graves of family members and a trove of important funerary artworks and grave goods .
The team of Egyptian archaeologists made a remarkable discovery while excavating a site in the al-Ghuraifah antiquities area in central Egypt. This is their fourth season digging in the area, which was once a necropolis, and today is known as Tuna el-Gebel. They have already made several important finds at the location including a limestone coffin of the high priest of Djehuty, Egyptian god of the moon and wisdom. The recent Egyptian pharaonic tomb discovery in Tuna el-Gebel is one of the most important finds in Egypt this year, because the tomb has not been looted by robbers, unlike so many finds of the past.
Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities told that the team found a burial area that “consists of a 10-metre deep burial well that leads to a large room with niches carved into the rock.

The well or shaft is lined by regularly shaped stone blocks.
It was reported by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a Facebook post that the experts had found “The tomb of the supervisor of the royal treasury , ‘Badi Eset’.” His name is also written as Badi Est or Pa Di Eset in some sources.
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As supervisor of the royal treasury, Badi Eset would have been one of the most powerful men in Egypt at that time, with immense influence in royal society. Essentially, Badi Eset would have been in charge of the personal wealth of the pharaoh. His responsibilities would have included the safekeeping of the treasury and the upkeep of the pharaoh’s household and palaces.
Badi Eset’s Egyptian Pharaonic Tomb Was Full of Grave Goods.
The ancient pharaonic tomb was dated to the Late Period of Egyptian history, which is the era from the 26 th to the 30 th dynasty.  Also found in the tomb were two beautiful limestone statues.  One is in the shape of the Apis calf, a sacred bull, which was worshipped in Memphis.
The other statue is of a woman, possibly a goddess. The figures are in a remarkable state of preservation.

“A canopic vessel was also found, made of alabaster in the form of the four sons of Horus,” according to the Egyptian Independent. This is a sealed jar that usually contained the viscera of the deceased. The Facebook page of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities quoted Mr Wazari as saying that the canopic jars, made of limestone, are “some of the most beautiful jars that have been found.
These were funerary figurines and they were interred with the dead so that they could act as servants in the afterlife.
The tomb also contained nearly 1000 Ushabti figurines made of tin-glazed pottery. Some amulets including many scarabs were also unearthed in the tomb, which are believed to have been used to help the deceased in the afterlife.
And a set of pottery vessels, possibly kitchen utensils, were also found in the Badi Eset tomb.
The tomb of the supervisor of the royal treasury also included the sarcophagi of members of Badi Eset’s family.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Facebook page reports that “Also, 4 stone sarcophagi were found” in the Egyptian pharaonic tomb. They are all intact and still sealed with mortar.
This is an exciting find, and it may indicate that more intact burials are waiting to be discovered.
The discovery of the tomb of Badi Eset and the sarcophagi of his family is a unique opportunity for researchers to understand Late Period Egypt funerary customs and they may provide insights into elite social relations in this period. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity’s Facebook page “there is still more to uncover and treasures to reveal in El-Ghorefa.” Excavations are continuing at the site.

Monday, October 26, 2020

New Discovery, El Minya "3" : Pharaonic burial discovered in Minya.

The unearthing of an ancient burial in Upper Egypt's Minya province was made known by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Mostafa Waziri, head of the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities stated in a declaration that an Egyptian task found the burial sited in Tuna al-Gabal archaeological spot in Minya.
Waziri stated that the 10-meter deep burial is the resting place of a man who worked as "supervisor of the royal treasury," saying in addition that stone statues, coffins and other archaeological discoveries were located in the tomb.
Waziri added that, excavations are still in progress to find new secrets and mines of the archaeological zone, emphasizing that all pieces located at the burials were in a well condition of conservation.

New Discovery El Minya "2" : Egyptian team uncovers ancient tomb of royal treasury supervisor in Minya.

An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the ​​al-Ghuraifah area in Minya Governorate has uncovered the tomb of a royal treasury supervisor named “Badi Est”.
Stone statues and other archaeological findings within indicated that the tomb was well-preserved.
The tomb consists of a burial well that is ten meters deep, leading to a large room with niches engraved in the rock and closed with regular stone slabs, said the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Head of the Mission Mostafa Waziry.
Inside were two stone statues, one for Apis the bull god and the other of a woman, he added. A canopic vessel was also found, made of alabaster in the form of the four sons of Horus.
On the vessel, the titles and names of the deceased were engraved, Waziry noted.
He added that 400 blue and green Ushabti statues bearing the name of the deceased were also found, alongside six graves for his family members containing nearly a thousand faience statues and sets of utensils.

News: Egyptian PM’s visit to archaeological site set to boost tourism.

Egypt is gearing up to open the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization later this year and the Grand Egyptian Museum in early 2021.
To promote these important events, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly made a historic visit to the archaeological site of Saqqara, located south of Cairo.
Madbouly inspected Oct. 19 the excavation works carried out by the Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara antiquities area. He visited the archaeological site and participated in the inspection works along with the members of the archaeological mission — a first in the history of the country. 
The visit boosted the morale of workers and led them to expedite the discovery of antiquities, artifacts and mummies dating back more than 2,500 years. 
Madbouly went down one of the three new burial wells that were found to inspect for himself the coffins that were discovered inside.
Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist and former minister of antiquities, told Al-Monitor that Egypt is conveying a message to the world that it is interested in antiquities, culture and civilization.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is to receive the royal mummies that will be transferred in a majestic procession to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the ancient city of Fustat, now part of Cairo. The museum is set to display antiquities discovered in the Saqqara necropolis, home to thousands of mummies, statues and historical artifacts.

Starting next month, Egypt is set to inaugurate several archaeological museums. Chief among these is the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the capital Cairo, the Sharm Museum in the southern Sinai Peninsula, the Royal Chariots Museum in Bulaq, the Kafr El-Sheikh Museum in the Nile Delta region and the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Hawass said that for the first time in the history of Egyptian antiquities, a prime minister has visited an archaeological site and went down an 11-meter (36-feet) deep well to see such a discovery for himself.
This came after international agencies had reported the discovery in an area containing thousands of coffins with mummies and statues.
In early October, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani announced at a widely publicized event in the presence of local and international reporters that a huge archaeological discovery was made in the Saqqara area near the pyramids, containing wells with coffins of mummies, artifacts and statues dating back more than 2,500 years. 
Hawass stressed that Egypt is announcing to the world its interest in antiquities and culture.
The cost of the Grand Egyptian Museum has thus far exceeded $1 billion, he stated, adding that Egypt has spent millions of pounds to develop the Pyramids area, the Sohag National Museum, the Baron Palace and the Sharm Museum.

Yaman al-Hamaki, a professor of economics at the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University, told Al-Monitor that Egypt is making great efforts to overcome the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector, which was generating about $1 billion per month. Cairo, she said, has resumed in July the flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam on the northern coast, thus giving a boost to the tourism sector. These destinations are open areas where the necessary measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus are implemented.
Hamaki noted that Egypt is seeking to promote archaeological tourism through the large inauguration events that are scheduled in the coming period.
Egypt, she continued, is encouraging tourists to spend more time in Cairo by opening coffee shops, restaurants and hotels in the Pyramids area.
These projects, according to Hamaki, will play a major role in increasing the revenues generated by the tourism sector.
She said that Madbouly’s historic visit to the Saqqara necropolis was organized to promote to the world Egyptian archaeological tourism, as the country seeks to generate tourism revenues to the national economy as soon as the pandemic ends and the global situation stabilizes.
Amr Sidky, head of the parliamentary Tourism and Antiquities Commission, said that Egypt is putting itself on the global map of culture and civilization with the upcoming openings of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and the development of the Baron Palace.

Add to this, she continued, other important archaeological discoveries, all of which are set to attract tourists to Cairo as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Sidky told Al-Monitor that Egypt is currently showing great interest in workers in the tourism and antiquities sector, which explains Madbouly’s visit to the Saqqara archaeological site, which encouraged Egyptian archaeologists to speed up new discoveries and promote them to various international media outlets so as to convey to the world a positive image of the country.
This will play an important role in reviving the tourism sector in the future and will be of great benefit to the Egyptian economy.
He stressed that while Egypt is currently boosting domestic tourism due to the decline of foreign tourism, the ongoing pandemic and the lockdowns in a number of countries, it is also working on improving infrastructure through the inauguration of these large museums.

New Discovery, Sakkara: Archaeologists unearth 'huge number' of sealed Egyptian sarcophagi.

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered another large cache of unopened sarcophagi in Saqqara, adding to the trove of almost 60 coffins recently recovered from the ancient necropolis.
Although full details are yet to be announced, authorities said in a statement that "a huge number" of wooden sarcophagi had been unearthed. The country's Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said on Instagram that the find amounted to "dozens" of coffins, adding that they have been "sealed since ancient times."
The collection of sarcophagi, stored in three newly discovered burial shafts, is believed to date back more than 2,500 years. Colored and gilded statues were also found in the tombs, a government press release said.
On Monday, El-Enany and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited the site alongside secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mustafa Waziri. Photos released by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities show the trio being lowered into a shaft before inspecting painted coffins and a variety of other objects.

Officials said they believe the coffins contain senior statesmen and priests from the 26th dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 664 B.C. to 525 B.C.
The ministry said that further details of this month's discovery will be announced at a press conference at the site in "the next few weeks." Its announcement also revealed that Prime Minister Madbouly had produced a video in which he thanked the ministry and "expressed his great pride in the unique Egyptian civilization."
Although it is not yet confirmed what will happen to the newly discovered sarcophagi, some of those found earlier this year are set to go on display at the soon-to-open Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. Upon its opening, the 5.2-million-square-foot structure will become the world's largest museum devoted to a single civilization.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

New Restaurant , Giza : Egypt launches first tourist restaurant at Giza pyramid

The long-awaited project to develop the tourist services and facilities on the Giza Plateau is to begin operations in 2021.
This week saw the trial operations of the plateau’s first environmentally friendly electric bus and restaurant within the framework of the joint cooperation protocol signed in 2018 between the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and Orascom Pyramids Entertainment to develop services on the Pyramids Plateau.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom, witnessed the trial operation of the bus service that eventually will replace all other cars and buses on the site.
They announced the opening of “Nine Pyramids”, the first restaurant and lounge to be located within the Pyramids area, specifically on the southern side of the plateau that overlooks nine royal tombs and has a superb view.
The architectural part of the Giza Plateau Development Project was implemented by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and is supported by funds from the government.
Preparations are underway to start operating the project, with the inauguration scheduled before mid-2021, El-Enany said.
Today, we announce the opening of the first touristic restaurant in the Panorama area of the Pyramids Plateau, without any major construction work in accordance with the requirements of the archaeological area.
This project is the first fruit of the protocol signed between the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Orascom Investment Holding that entails providing and operating services in this area and which was signed in December 2018,” he added.
The restaurant is built in a subtle wooden setting, with pillows scattered on the ground to emulate a Bedouin style.
Its unique location offers a view of the Pyramids. The project has mobile and self-cleaning toilets, and food and beverage services will be available in specified areas, as approved by the SCA.
The project is part of the ministry’s keenness to improve the quality of services provided to visitors to the area, one of the most important touristic destinations in the world.

El-Enany said that Egypt was developing its touristic and archaeological infrastructure, and that this would have a positive impact on Egyptian tourism.
With the completion of this development project, the increase in the capacity of
the Sphinx International Airport, and the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) next year, the tourism map of Egypt would be transformed, he said.
“Our main objective, from the moment we embarked on the project of managing and operating visitors’ services at the Giza Plateau, was to upgrade the services provided such that they were up to the greatness of Egyptian civilisation and the magnificence of this historical site, while preserving the area from all forms of pollution and creating a fascinating experience for its visitors,” Sawiris said.
“We are happy to introduce these initial amenities and look forward to launching all the new services and features that will completely transform the visitor experience at the Giza Pyramids.”
Ashraf Halim, CEO of Orascom Pyramids Entertainment, said that to achieve the vision of transforming this unique site into a global archaeological tourist destination, robust cooperation has been undertaken with Egyptian and international consulting firms with expertise in similar projects.
These had developed engineering designs and architectural drawings in accordance with the international specifications commensurate with the archaeological site, he added.
He also said that in addition to the company’s commitment to providing all basic services at the highest level, electronic services would also be provided to visitors, including applications for prior reservations and to provide information about the archaeological site and its services.
He stressed that construction was underway in order to finalise the implementation of the project.

New Discovery, El Minya : Pharaonic tomb unearthed in Egypt.

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced the discovery of an ancient pharaonic tomb in Minya province.
An Egyptian mission unearthed the tomb which is located in Tuna al-Gabal archaeological site in Minya, Xinhua news agency quoted head of the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri as saying in a statement on Saturday.
He said that the 10-metre deep tomb belongs to a man who served as "supervisor of the royal treasury".
Waziri added that stone statues, coffins and other archaeological finds were found inside the tomb. Excavations are still ongoing to uncover more secrets and treasures of the archaeological site, Waziri noted, stressing that all artefacts found at the tombs were in a good state of preservation.
Egypt has witnessed several large-scale archeological discoveries in recent years in different parts of the country, including pharaonic tombs, statues, coffins and mummies. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

News, Giza: Prime Minister inspects progress of Grand Egyptian Museum.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Saturday conducted an inspection tour of the Grand Egyptian Museum project at Giza.
He was briefed on the project’s recent construction work and the development of the surrounding areas.
Madbouly then addressed the workers, saying “You contribute towards building a scientific, cultural, and tourist monument, and the state is not only buildiing a museum, but also a grand compound of Egyptian civilization.”
The prime minister stressed that all preemptive measures against the coronavirus must be applied in all sites of the project, with full adherence to sterilization measures  so that workers are protected.
Minister of Tourism Khaled al-Anany presented a brief on the museum, set to be located on an area of 500,000 square meters.
He explained that the visitor path will begin by entering from the Cairo-Alexandria desert road to the museum’s main entrance in front of the Egyptian Obelisk Square. There, visitors will be greeted with the museum’s majestic fa├žade and the “wall of the pyramids”  600 meters wide and 45 meters high.
The museum itself is made up of two main blocks, Anany said, namely the museum building on the left on an area of 92,623 square meters and the conference center on the right on an area of 40,609 square meters,connected by the entrance hall where the statue of King Ramses II is located.
The conference center will consist of a large multi-use hall for conferences and theater, and a 3D film theater with a capacity of 500 individuals, in addition to rest areas and a garden for VIP visitors, a cultural center containing ten classes, two halls for lectures and another hall for computers.
The project’s supervisor Atef Moftah said that engineering  work is over 97 percent complete, and construction has been completed at 100 percent.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

New Discovery, Saqqara: Egypt reveals 59 ancient coffins found near Saqqara pyramids, many of which hold mummies

Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minster said on Saturday archaeologists have unearthed dozens of ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo.
Khalid el-Anany said at least 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, were found that had been buried in three wells more than 2,600 years ago.
The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642).
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said initial studies show that the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 B.C.).  

The Saqqara discovery is the latest in a series of archeological finds that Egypt hasought to publicize in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the global coronavirus pandemic.
“I consider this is the beginning of a big discovery,” el-Anany said, adding that there is an unknown number of coffins that have yet to be unearthed in the same area.
He spoke at a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara where the coffins were found. The sarcophagi have been displayed and one of them was opened before reporters to show the mummy inside. Several foreign diplomats attended the announcement ceremony.
He said archaeologists also found a total of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker the main god of the Saqqara necropolis, and a beautifully carved 35 cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertum, inlaid with precious stones. 

The name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun, is written on its base, he said.
Egyptian antiquities officials had announced the discovery of the first batch coffins last month, when archaeologists found 13 of the containers in a newly discovered 11 meter-deep (36 feet) well. 
El-Anany said the Saqqara coffins would join 30 ancient wooden coffins that were discovered in October in the southern city of Luxor, and will be showcased at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Giza Pyramids.

Source : USA Today

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