Showing posts with label Dakhla Oasis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dakhla Oasis. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

News, Dakhla Oasis: Seven Mummies of El-Mezawaa Necropolis Restored as Part of Ministry of Antiquties Preservation Initiative

Three of the mummies reveal deliberate desecration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A team from the Egypt's Mummies Conservation Project has finished restoring a group of seven mummies in the El-Muzawaa necropolis in Dakhla oasis, completing the first phase of the project, Gharib Sonbol, head of Ancient Egyptian restoration projects at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.

The restoration of Al-Muzawaa necropolis mummies came within the framework of the project, which launched three years ago by the ministry to preserve and maintain all mummies stored in Egyptian storehouses.

Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector at the ministry, explains that the project started with the conservation of mummies in the Mostafa Kamel gallery storehouses in Alexandria and at the Alexandria National Museum, as well as those in the Kom Ushim stores in Fayouom.

According to Sonbol, the second phase of the project will begin shortly and will involve the restoration of several more mummies. He explained that during the recently completed work, the team noted that two mummies have "screaming" faces, a term used to describe mummies with open mouths. The hands of a third mummy were bound with rope.

“This is not the typical form of mummification, but it indicates that those people were cursed by the god or the priests during their lifetime,” Sonbol said. He continued that the project offers a great opportunity for restorers to learn more about the death and life of those mummified people.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Discovery, Western Desert: New Roman Tombs Discovered in Egypt's Dakhla Oasis

The Funerary Mask & One Of The Discovered Ostraca
Five mud-brick tombs uncovered in Beir Al-Shaghala necropolis in the Western Desert. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities has uncovered five Roman tombs during excavation works carried out in Beir Al-Shaghala site in Dakhla Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert.

Ayma Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, explained that the tombs are built in mud brick and have different architectural style.

The first tomb has an entrance leading to a rectangular hall with two burial chambers while the second has a vaulted ceiling and its entrance leads to a burial chamber.

The third tomb is a pyramid-shaped tomb. The mission has succeeded in uncovering its upper part while the lower part is still buried in sand. 

The fourth and fifth tombs share one entrance and each tomb has a separate burial chamber with a vaulted ceiling. Ashmawy pointed out that the mission's excavations in the area will continue.

Bei'r Al-Shaghala Necropolis, Some Of The Clay Pots Discovered,
The Tomb With Vaulted Ceiling & The Tomb With Pyramid Shaped End
Gamal Al-Semestawi, general director of antiquities of the Middle Egypt, said that a number of artifacts were found inside the tombs, including the remains of a funerary mask depicting a human face painted in yellow, a set of pottery vessels of different shapes and sizes, as well as two ostraca, one of which contains hieroglyphic text while the second bears text written in Hieratic.

A clay incense burner and remains of a small sandstone sphinx, 14 centimetres by 12.7 centimetres tall, have also been found within the tombs.

Magdi Ibrahim, director general of Dakhla Oasis and head of the mission, said the mission succeeded in its six previous excavation seasons to discover eight Roman tombs in a good state of conservation and with similar architectural design. They are composed of a rectangular hall and two side chambers with sandstone vaulted ceilings. The hall has a mud brick ceiling.

Al-Shaghala area is located to the west of Mout city almost 3 kilometres from Dakhla Oasis in a mid-point between three other archaeological sites.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Re-Opening, Dakhla Oasis: Openings In The Oasis

Three mudbrick houses and the remains of a villa in the Dakhla Oasis have been opened to the public after restoration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

In the northwest of the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert is the mediaeval village of Al-Qasr with its mudbrick buildings, alleys, mosques, Pharaonic temple and seed mill. Its serenity was disturbed earlier this week when Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany along with Al-Wadi Al-Gadid Governor Mohamed Suleiman Al-Zamalout and Netherlands Ambassador Laurens Westhoff and other officials opened three houses and a villa in Al-Qasr to visitors after the completion of conservation work.

El-Enany described the work as “wonderful” and “one of the ministry’s most important achievements”. He said that the Al-Qasr village was one of the most important Islamic settlements in Egypt, not only because of its distinguished architecture but also because it was the meeting point of several trade routes as well as being on a main route for pilgrimage.

The newly inaugurated buildings are in the Rabaa Al-Shihabiya area of the village and include the Beit Al-Qadi, the Beit Al-Qurashi and the Beit Othman. The remains of the fourth-century Villa of Serenus, once a council member in Amheida (ancient Trimithis), were also restored and reopened.

Ahmed Al-Nemr, a member of the Ministry of Antiquities’ Scientific Office for Islamic and Coptic Monuments, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Serenus Villa had been uncovered in 1979. While surveying the late antique city of Amheida, a team from the Dakhla Oasis Project had discovered the upper part of the Villa’s lavishly decorated walls, he said.

 El-Enany during the opening of Al-Qasr’s restored houses 
The main building, including decorated rooms, was subsequently excavated in 2004 and 2007 by a team from Columbia University in New York directed by Roger S Bagnall. Well-preserved decoration was found in four rooms depicting geometrical patterns as well as figurative scenes. “At the time of their discovery, both the paintings in situ and the collected fragments posed considerable conservation problems,” said Fred Leemhuis of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

He explained that the layer of plaster was very thin and extremely fragile. The best way of conserving this precious building for future generations was by refilling it with sand after extensive documentation, Leemhuis commented. “Because this unique villa would be destroyed by being exposed to the public, a plan was made to build a full-size reconstruction of the main house,” Leemhuis said.

Al-Nemr said that in order to recreate the full splendour of the building a decision had been taken to reconstruct the painted decoration. The project has been financed by a grant from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo and administered by the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo. Soon after archaeologist Nicholas Warner had finished work on the building, a decoration team led by Dorothea Schulz moved in and started reconstructing and recreating the decoration.

In a report in the newsletter of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, Schulz wrote that the decoration of the two smaller rooms consisted of an intricate geometrical pattern. The biggest room, the Domed Room, was completely decorated from the floor to the highest point in the dome. There are geometrical “wallpapers” all around the room, the report said, composed of many different patterns.

While the wallpapers are still in situ and could be copied without problems, the dome had collapsed in antiquity and had taken a lot of work to reconstruct from thousands of fragments, the report said. The Serenus Villa replica was inaugurated during the minister of antiquities’ visit as a visitor centre. El-Enany described the reconstruction work as “spectacular and well worth a visit”. “The replica villa is a complete example of how top officials or a family of high social status built and decorated their homes in antiquity,” he said. Photographs and banners showing the detailed work are also on display, as well as photographs of the villa’s original conditiond.... READ MORE.

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 ...