Showing posts with label Abu Sir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abu Sir. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Discover, Dahshur: Rock-Hewn Burial Shaft Uncovered in Egypt's Abusir Necropolis

Three rock-hewn burial shafts filled with coffins and faience pots have been uncovered in Egypt's Abusir necropolis near Cairo. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The discovery was made after authorities received reports of illegal excavations in the area.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the antiquities ministry formed an archaeological committee led by Sabri Farag, the director-general of the Saqqara Necropolis, to conduct urgent excavations at the site.

Waziri explains that excavation revealed three rock-hewn burial shafts containing funerary collections, including four wooden coffins in bad conservation condition bearing hieroglyphic texts.

Farag says that one of these texts bears the cartouche of King Ptolemy IV (244 – 204 BC), but the remaining text is not clear enough to decipher. More studies are set to be carried out to determine to which reign the coffins belong.

Farag said the coffins hold four mummified bodies, presumably of birds, along with three round-shaped linen wrappings housing the mummies' stomachs.

A collection of 38 symbolic pots carved in faience was also found. All the objects are being held in storage at the site for restoration.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Discovery, Abu Sir: Parts of A Ramses II Temple Uncovered in Giza's Abusir

Cartouche of Ramesse II. Courtesy of the Czech Institute of Egyptology
The newly uncovered temple in Abusir necropolis helps piece together the activities of Ramses II in the Memphis area. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Parts of a temple to King Ramses II (1213-1279 BC), along with reliefs of solar deities, have been uncovered by an Egyptian-Czech mission during excavation work in Abusir necropolis in the the governorate ofGiza

Mohamed Megahed, deputy to the mission director, told Ahram Online that the temple is located in an area that forms a natural transition between a terrace of the Nile and the floodplain in Abusir. He added that the temple is 32 by 52 metres and behind it was a large forecourt along with two identical and considerably long storage buildings to the right and left side of the complex.

Studies carried out so far, Megahed explained, show that it can be assumed that stone columns lined the side walls of the court, which was enclosed by mud brick walls that were in at least some places painted blue. The rear end of the court, a ramp or staircase leads to an elevated stone sanctuary whose back part was divided into three parallel chambers.

“The remains of this building, which constitutes the very core of the complex, were covered with huge deposits of sand and chips of stone of which many bore fragments of polychrome reliefs,” Professor Mirsolave Barta, director of the Czech mission, told Ahram Online. He pointed out that the fragments not only show the decorative scheme of the sanctuary, but also function to help date the entire complex.

A relief on which is engraved the different titles of King Ramses II was also found, as well as another connected to the cult of solar deities such as Re, Amun and Nekhbet.

“The discovery of the Ramses II temple provides unique evidence on building and religious activities of the king in Memphis area and at the same time shows the permanent status of the cult of sun god Re who was venerated in Abusir since the 5th Dynasty and onwards to the New Kingdom,” Barta asserted.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Short Story: Princess Tomb

The recent discovery of the tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess from the Fifth Dynasty has opened a new chapter in the saga of the Abusir necropolis, says Nevine El-Aref.

An archaeological mission from the Czech Institute of Egyptology at the Charles University in Prague, who is carrying out routine excavations on the north side of the Abusir necropolis, 30km south of the Giza Plateau, has been taken by surprise with the discovery of an important rock-hewn tomb.

The tomb belonged to a Fifth-Dynasty princess named Sheretnebty, and alongside it were four tombs belonging to high–ranking officials. An era enclosed within a courtyard. The tombs had been robbed in antiquity and no mummies were found inside them.

According to the Czech mission’s archaeological report, a copy of which has been given to Al-Ahram Weekly, traces of the courtyard were first detected in 2010 while archaeologists were investigating a neighbouring mastaba (bench tomb). However, active exploration of the royal tomb was not undertaken until this year, when it was discovered that the ancient Egyptian builders used a natural depression in the bedrock to dig a four-metre-deep tomb almost hidden amidst the mastaba tombs constructed around it on higher ground. Four rock-hewn tombs were also unearthed within the courtyard surrounding the royal tomb.

The north and west walls of the princess’s tomb were cased with limestone blocks, while its south wall was cut in the bedrock. The east wall was also carved in limestone, along with the staircase and slabs descending from north to south. The courtyard of the tomb has four limestone pillars which originally supported architraves and roofing blocks. On the tomb’s south side are four pillars engraved with hieroglyphic inscriptions stating: “The king’s daughter of his body, his beloved, revered in front of the great god, Sheretnebty.”

Miroslav Barta, head of the Czech mission, says early investigations have revealed that the owner of the tomb was previously unknown, but that it most probably belonged to the family of a Fifth-Dynasty king. The preliminary date of the structure, based on the stratigraphy of the site and analysis of the name, Barta says, falls in the second half of the Fifth Dynasty. It is surprising that the tomb should not be located in Abusir south, among the tombs of non-royal officials, considering that most members of the Fifth-Dynasty royal family are buried 2km north of Abusir pyramid.

While digging inside Sheretnebty’s tomb, the Czech archaeologists found a corridor that contains the entrances to four rock-hewn tombs of top officials of the Fifth Dynasty. Barta says two tombs have been completely explored so far. The first belonged to the chief of justice of the great house, Shepespuptah, and the second to Duaptah, the inspector of the palace attendants. Both tombs probably date from the reign of King Djedkare Isesi.... READ MORE.

Friday, February 5, 2016

News, Abu Sir: 4,400 Year-Old Wooden Boat Unearthed Near Abu Sir Pyramids

Abu Sir Pyramids
CAIRO: A funerary boat has been unearthed near the 4,400 year-old Abu Sir pyramids south of Giza, the antiquities ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The find was excavated during routine cleaning of an ancient mastaba (tomb of a nobleman) carried out by Czech archaeology mission.

“This is a highly unusual discovery since boats of such a size and construction were during this period reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually belonged to the royal family,” Miroslav Barta the director of the Czech mission was quoted by the AFP.

Barta suggests the 18-meter boat dates back to the end of the third or beginning of the fourth dynasty.

Solar boats in ancient Egypt were usually made of cedar wood brought from Lebanon, tour guide Magdy Abdel Mohsen told The Cairo Post.

“They were either used to transport the corpse of the Pharaoh from the east bank to the west bank of the River Nile, where the body was mummified and buried or, according to the ancient Egyptian afterlife belief, served as means to transport the pharaoh to eternity,” said Mohsen.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ Rany Mostafa
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Monday, February 1, 2016

New Discovery, Abu Sir: Old Kingdom Boat Remains Discovered in Cairo

CAIRO: The remains of a large wooden boat have been discovered in the South Abusir area of Cairo by a Czech archeology team from Prague’s Charles University, Ministry of Antiquities Mamdouh Damati announced on the ministry’s Facebook page Monday.

The boat, dated from the Old Kingdom, may have been owned by a king, but verification will be challenging due to the deterioration of the wood.

The pegs and boards of the boat are intact, and its structure may contribute “significantly to the knowledge of boat building in ancient Egypt,” 

Damati said, adding that most boats are not found intact, or are in a very poor state of preservation.
Source: Cairo Post– By/ The Cairo Post

Monday, February 16, 2015

News: Czech Archaeologists & AUC Professor Reveal Details About Queen Khentkaus III’s Tomb

A Czech archaeological team and Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology and head of the Egyptology unit at The American University in Cairo (AUC), discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen at the Abusir necropolis, southwest of Cairo.
A statue of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaoh Neferefre
The queen’s tomb provides crucial insight into constructing the history of the royal family of the Old Kingdom and understanding the role of women at that time. The Czech team has been working in Abusir for 55 years and maintains a two-fold cooperation with AUC.

“What is fascinating about the tomb is the inscriptions because they show that this is a completely new member of the royal family of the Fifth Dynasty,” explained Miroslav Barta, director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology and professor at Charles University, Czech Republic, who led the excavations.

Within the tomb, the queen is identified as the “king’s wife” and also “mother of the king.” “We know this based on the inscriptions from her burial chamber, where she is given two specific titles,” remarked Barta. The name, Khentkaus, means “the one closest to our souls,” and two previous queens with this name have already been identified.

The addition of a brand new name, Queen Khentkaus III, in the lineage of ancient Egyptian royalty has undoubtedly stirred enthusiasm on a global scale. “She was a royal spouse,” said Barta, adding, “most likely to King Raneferef,” as she is buried in close proximity to Raneferef’s burial complex.

Burial site of Queen Khentkaus in the Abusir necropolis
The investigation of the tomb of Khentkaus III also contributes to understanding the role of women in ancient Egypt in general. “Women, especially in the Old Kingdom, had a significant amount of power and prestige to be the mother of a king gave one a vast amount of power,” noted Ikram. “It meant, for instance, that the king built better tombs for them [mothers],” Barta explained. “So women of this rank really played an important role.”

He added that tomb inscriptions most often refer to a man; rarely do names and inscriptions refer to women. Despite the fact that, “if you inspect the burial facilities inside these tombs, you would find that the burials of women bear more riches, compared with the males,” he said, noting, “These women were really very important.”

The inscriptions indicate the two phases of Khentkaus’s life as a woman of the royal family. She was married to the king, but, more importantly, she actually gave birth to a boy who later became a king, probably Menkauhor. “In the Fifth Dynasty, there is very rich evidence showing that when you became the king, you looked back and promoted your mother and built for her a more appropriate funerary complex,” said Barta. Research suggests that the transition from wife to mother was accompanied by a notable increase in respect and rank.

Around 30 copper and limestone utensils were discovered at the site
The discovery of this mid-Fifth Dynasty (about 2450 BC) tomb was made early this year. The tomb is located in a small cemetery that housed the burial sites of elite court members. Much of the tomb was destroyed in antiquity, including the mastaba, chapel and sarcophagus. However, the mission did uncover 24 limestone vessels and four copper tools that were part of the funerary equipment. In addition, some small fragments of bone were found. “We assume, given the archaeological context, that the bones are hers,” Barta indicated.
Abusir has proven to be a valuable site for excavation in recent years. One of the most important discoveries from the area was the “Abusir Papyri,” some of the oldest surviving papyri to date that offers detailed information about funerary beliefs and administrative systems. Another collection of exceptionally well-preserved wood and limestone statues have been instrumental in understanding burial practices and societal structures in the Fifth Dynasty.

Burial site of Queen Khentakawess in the Abusir necropolis
Ikram is optimistic about what research at Abusir may tell us about all strata of ancient Egyptian society. “Working here will reveal a great deal about the daily life of people who served the king, the modes of death for all classes, and also the familial and power relationships within the royal family of the Old Kingdom,” she said.

Barta, too, is eager about what remains undiscovered, “There are more tombs to be excavated, and we assume some of them, at least, will also belong to some, perhaps, unknown members of the royal family,” he noted, adding that what we know thus far “is probably not the last word. We will know more when our anthropologist comes, which is planned for March or April this year.”

The story of the family history of the Fifth Dynasty will continue to evolve with each new find. Barta sees the discovery of Khentkaus III as another stone in the grand mosaic.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Discovery, Abu Sir: 4500 years old tomb of unknown Ancient Egyptian Queen discovered

The Minister of Antiquities announced today a new discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb in Abusir for a Queen who wasn't known before called "Khentkaus III" during the excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology directed by Dr. Miroslav Barta. 

The mission unearthed 23 limestone pots as well as 4 copper tools as a part of the funerary furniture for the tomb owner.

 The side rooms of the discovered tomb have inscriptions mention titles of the tomb owner includes "Wife of the King" and "Mother of the King"

Dr. Miroslav Barta said "This discovery reveals an unknown part of the 5th Dynasty history which opens the door for more future studies on the family tree of this previously unknown Queen."

Dr. Barta added "The unearthed tomb is a part of a small cemetery to the south east of the pyramid complex of King Neferefre (Raneferef) which led the team to think that Queen Khentkaus could be the wife of Neferefre hence she was buried close to his funerary complex."

Dr. Jaromir Krejci,a team member of the Czech Institute of Egyptology mission working on the site said "The title of the Mother of the King discovered in the tomb is of an historical importance."

"If we can assume that the Queen was buried during the time of King Nyuserre (2445 B.C-2421 B.C) based on a seal bears his name was found on the tomb so we could say that Khentkaus III is the mother of King Menkauhore who was the successor of Nyuserre. This could also reveals more information on this King especially that we have a very few information on him."

Kamal Wahid, Giza Antiquities director, said “The tomb is very similar to the rest of the burial in the cemetery which was unearthed by the Czech mission in the 90s. The upper part is a mastaba and a small offerings chapel and the burial chamber in the lower part which is reached through a shaft.”

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Discovery, Cairo: Tomb of Head of Pharaohs Physicians of fifth dynasty discovered

The tomb of the fifth dynasty Head of Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt, Shepseskaf-Ankh, was discovered in Abusir Necropolis - 25km from the Giza plateau, during excavation by a Czech archaeological mission.

The tomb is carved in limestone and consists of a large open court, eight burial chambers for Shepseskaf and his family members, and a very distinguished huge false door engraved with the various titles and names of Shepseskaf-Ankh. Among the titles he held were, ‘The priest of god Khnum,’ who provides life, and ‘The priest of Sun temples’ for several fifth dynasty kings.

"Although it is the third tomb of an ancient Egyptian Physician to be found in Abusir, it has important historical and archaeological significance," said Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of the MSA. He explains that the tomb belonged to one of the distinguished physicians who was close to the ruler kings and owned a senior official position during the reign of the pyramid-builders.

Director of the Czech mission, Miroslav Barta, stated that individual tombs in Abusir were constructed from the mid-fifth dynasty onwards, and many priests and officials who worked in the Pyramid complex during the reign of the Kings of Abusir and the Sun Temples were buried there.

Abusir is an extensive Old Kingdom necropolis that served as one of the main elite cemeteries for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. It houses the remains of 14 pyramids, which served as burials for the fifth dynasty kings as well as a number of tombs and sun temples.

source: Ahram Online By Nevien el Aref 

Monday, June 17, 2013

CAIRO, ABU SIR: Unchecked looting guts Egypt’s heritage, with one ancient site ‘70 percent gone’

ABU SIR AL MALAQ, Egypt — A wispy-haired mummy's head, bleached skulls, and arm and leg bones are piled outside looted tombs.A mummified hand with leathery-skinned fingers pokes from the sand.

Ancient burial wrappings from mummified bodies — torn apart to find priceless jewelry — unravel across the desert like brown ribbon, or tangle near broken bits of wooden coffins still brightly painted after nearly 3,000 years underground.With bones scattered everywhere, this 500-acre plot looks like the aftermath of a massacre rather than an ancient burial ground.

“You see dogs playing with human bones, children scavenging for pottery,” says Egyptian archaeologist Monica Hanna, stepping cautiously around grisly remains and deep pits dug into tombs by looters.
Salima Ikram, an expert in tombs and mummification who heads the Egyptology unit at American University in Cairo, gasps in horror in her home while examining Tribune-Review photographs of the site.“These scattered remains … brutally pulled apart in search of one shiny piece of metal,” Ikram says in disgust.

“This is most horrific — someone's ribs!” she suddenly exclaims. “Oh, God! It's like the killing fields!”
Thieves, explorers and archaeologists have raided Egypt's ancient sites for centuries. The Tribune-Review first reported in February that the looting had become a free-for-all after a 2011 revolution toppled one government and introduced continuing turmoil.The tomb raiding threatens some of Egypt's — and the world's — most revered and valuable heritage sites, many of which have never been properly studied or catalogued, experts say. A few experts privately accuse the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of President Mohamed Morsy of ignoring the threat.
Some Islamist religious leaders have contributed to the frenzy by ordering “pagan” antiquities to be destroyed, or issuing directives on the “correct” Islamic way to loot them.
Police and local authorities insist they are overwhelmed by lawlessness and outgunned by criminal gangs with heavy weapons smuggled from Libya.
Meanwhile, the threatened heritage is a low priority for many Egyptians beset by daily electrical outages, fuel shortages, higher food prices, rising street crime and political instability.
For others, that heritage is a chance to cash in. Looted objects are sold in dirt-poor villages near sites such as Abu Sir al Malaq; others go to wealthy collectors, particularly in the United States, Europe, Japan and the Middle East, experts say.
Last week, Egypt's new antiquities minister pledged to improve security “at all archaeological sites and museums.”
But that appears to be too little too late for the sprawling cemetery complex, or necropolis, in the governorate of Bani Suef. Of three sites examined by the Trib – the others are Dahshour and El-Hibeh – it is the most extensively ravaged.