Monday, October 23, 2017
The object is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Egyptian archaeologists in Luxor have stumbled upon a decorative Coptic tombstone buried on the eastern side of the Sphinxes Avenue, under Al-Mathan Bridge. The tombstone is carved of limestone and decorated with a cross and Coptic texts, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.
The exact date of the object has not yet been ascertained, nor the identity of the deceased. However, Mostafa Al-Saghir, director of the Sphinxes Avenue, said experts are now studying the tombstone find out.
The excavations in the Sphinxes Avenue are part of a Ministry of Antiquities programme to restore the area and transform it into an open-air museum. The avenue was the location for the procession of the Festival of Opet, which included priests, royalty and the pious, who walked from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. Some 1,350 sphinxes, with human heads and lion bodies, lined the 2,700-metre- long avenue, and many of them have been now been restored.
The avenue was built during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I to replace an earlier one built in the 18th Dynasty, as recorded by Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) on the walls of her red chapel in Karnak Temple. Hatshepsut built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of the avenue during her reign, demonstrating its longevity as a place of religious significance.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
The Palace of Prince Omar Tosson in Cairo’s Road Al-Farag district is to be documented for the first time, reports Nevine El-Aref.
In the Road Al-Farag district in Cairo stands the 19th-century Prince Omar Tosson Palace, its architecture largely hidden behind four modern school edifices.
The palace was nationalised after the 1952 Revolution like other former royal palaces and buildings in Egypt, and it was converted into a secondary school. Subsequently it was badly neglected.
The palace was originally built after 1886 and comprises a basement and two upper floors. The basement has a long corridor leading to the Nile Corniche where a yacht was once docked to transport the prince on his journeys outside Cairo.
The first floor has a main hall with several chambers to host visitors, a library, dining rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and rooms for servants. The second floor houses the private rooms of the prince’s family and a special wing for him with separate bathrooms and side rooms.
The palace has two gardens, the first outdoors and the second indoors as a small winter garden. There is a small extension building once used for storage. The ceilings of the rooms in the palace are particularly distinguished, being carved in wood and bearing gilded decorative elements.
The palace was registered on Egypt’s Heritage List of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in 1984, but it was still badly neglected. Several restoration projects were drawn up, but none was implemented.
However, all this is in the past, as today steps towards the palace’s restoration are being taken by the Ministry of Antiquities and Cairo University’s Construction Engineering Technology Laboratory.
Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the palace project aimed to document it using the latest technology and 3D laser scanning to analyse the architectural and decorative elements of the palace as well as its environment... READ MORE.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Confronting the demolition of Alexandria’s historical building is a multi-layered task, argues prominent architect and founder of the Alexandria Preservation Trust Mohamed Awad. Written By/ Dina Ezzat.
|The Zogheb palace, which was originally owned by a Syrian-Italian family
in 1877, and is one of the oldest buildings on Fouad street, is pictured in
Alexandria, Egypt Feb. 22, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
Another apartment building overlooking the corniche of Alexandria, in El-Shatby neighbourhood, has also been evacuated in anticipation of a demolition that architectural heritage preservation activists are campaigning against on social media.
“I am not sure if the campaign will succeed,” lamented Mohamed Awad, the prominent architect who has dedicated years to the preservation and documentation of the architectural heritage of Alexandria’s city centre.
Awad told Ahram Online that the problem is that neither building had ever been put on the list of historic buildings that he helped compose during his days as the head of the Alexandria Preservation Trust (APT).
The list includes 1,135 buildings – 33 of which have exquisite architectural decoration – 63 zones, and 38 streets. Fouad Street, at the very heart of the city centre, is obviously on the list.
However, in the technical sense, preserving a historic street would not necessarily involve a prohibition on knocking down all its old buildings – especially if the owners of the building manage to provide municipal authorities with a valid reason for the demolition.
According to Awad, this reason could be a technical argument, such as fears about the building's possible collapse, or just a "sufficiently convincing argument" that the owner needs to replace a four-floor building that has two apartments on each floor with a higher structure that can accommodate more apartments.
Since he started his work as head of the APT over 40 years ago, Awad has seen the demolition of numerous historic buildings in Alexandria, notable for their architectural value, the events they witnessed or the inhabitants they had accommodated.
Awad particularly laments the demolition of Villa Aghion in 2014. The villa was constructed in the early 1920s by prominent French architect Auguste Perret, “whose gems in France are protected by UNESCO.”
Awad also grieves over the fate of the Villa Cicurel, which was demolished in 2015 and carried the name of one of the most prominent Jewish families of early 20th century Egypt, who owned an elegant department store chain. The villa was constructed in the early 1930s by two prominent French architects; Leon Azema and Jacques Hardy.
“These are just two examples, but we have seen other historic buildings demolished despite being included on the preservation list and despite elementary court rulings [against the demolition],” Awad said..... READ MORE.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is now issuing visitor’s passes for foreigners to visit all archaeological sites and museums in Cairo and Giza Governorates. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The “Cairo Pass” costs $80 for foreign tourists and $40 for foreign students, and provides access to Islamic, Ancient Egyptian and Coptic sites for unlimited visits over a five-day period, according member of the Technical Office of the Assistant Minister of Antiquities Mostafa Elsagheer.
Elsagheer says the move comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to promote archaeological sites and increase its financial resources.
The pass can be obtained at the Cultural Relations Department at the ministry headquarters in Zamalek, as well as at ticket outlets at the Giza Plateau, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir and the Citadel of Salah El-Din.
Assistant of the Minister of Antiquities for the Development of Financial Resources Eman Zeidan explains that foreigners can obtain the pass by showing their passport or a student card with picture ID.
Last year, the ministry issued the “Luxor Pass” under two categories.
The first – which costs $200 for tourists and $100 for students – includes all sites and museums in Luxor including the royal tombs of Queen Nefertari and King Seti I.
The second category is half the price and includes all sites excluding the aforementioned royal tombs.
The Annual Visitors Pass, meanwhile, includes all open archaeological sites and museums across Egypt, with several options available. The first is for foreign diplomats and foreigners who work in international and multinational companies in Egypt. The annual pass costs $240 excluding the tombs of Queen Nefertari and King Seti I, and $340 including the two royal tombs.
The annual pass for Egyptians and Arab residents in Egypt to visit all the country’s sites and museums costs EGP 400, or EGP 100 for university students. School trips and Egyptians over 60 are allowed free entry.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Eight mummies, along with sarcophagi, figurines and other artifacts, were uncovered in the vault.
Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed the 3,000-year-old tomb of a nobleman - the latest in a series of major discoveries of ancient relics.
Discovered near the Nile city of Luxor, it contains the remains of Userhat, who worked as a judge in the New Kingdom from roughly 1,500 to 1,000 B.C.
The vault consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and inner chamber, according to the country's Ministry of Antiquities.
In one of the rooms in the tomb, archaeologists found a collection of figurines, wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid. Excavation is continuing in a second chamber.
Earlier this year, Swedish archaeologists discovered 12 ancient Egyptian cemeteries near the southern city of Aswan that date back almost 3,500 years. In March, an eight-metre statue that is believed to be King Psammetich 1, who ruled from 664 to 610 BC, was discovered in a Cairo slum.
Hisham El Demery, chief of Egypt's Tourism Development Authority, said tourism was picking up and discoveries like the one at Luxor would encourage the sector. "These discoveries are positive news from Egypt's tourism industry, which is something we all really need," he said.
Tourism in Egypt has suffered in the aftermath of the mass protests that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Militant bomb attacks have also deterred foreign visitors.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Rumours has it that the minister of antiquities will announce this morning a discovery of a new tomb but the truth is; it is actually a previously known tomb that is now rediscovered.
Do you remember Spring 1995 when Dr. Kent Weeks was working on documenting the Theban tombs as a part of Theban Mapping Project.
Dr. Weeks was in KV5 which was known before as a small undecorated room but when Dr. Weeks noticed a small inscription, he decided to start working on clearing the debris and rediscovered the tomb as one of the largest tombs with more than 120 rooms and corridors cleaned so far.
Similar story here, the tomb which is supposed to be announced by the minister is tomb (-157-) in Dra Abu El-Naga.
Not TT157 though but (-157-) according to Friederike Kampp "Die Thabanische Nekropole" page number 708.
The tomb is located to the south of Tomb TT255 of Roy and it has a typical T-shape. A wide room then a corridor ends with a niche.
The Egyptian team of the ministry of antiquities has been working recently in the tomb which belong to a New Kingdom official called "Userhat" has discovered a large number of ushabtis, pottery and a number of wooden coffins as well as remains of a stelae and human remains.
More details and exclusive footage will be posted later.
Monday, April 17, 2017
An Egyptian archaeological mission in Luxor has announced the discovery of a major tomb in the city's west bank area dating back to the 18th Dynasty and containing priceless artifacts. Written By/ Ahram Online
The tomb of Judge Ou Sarhat of the 18th Dynasty in west Luxor
Mostafa Waziry, Director General of Luxor Antiquities, told reporters on Tuesday that the tomb, which was unearthed in the Zeraa Abu El-Nagaa necropolis, most likely belonged to the city's magistrate Ou Sarhat.
The New Kingdom funerary collection includes dozens of statues, coffins and mummies.
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany told Ahram Online that, despite the tomb's small size, it represents an important discovery due to the funery collection being largely in tact.
Waziry, who heads the Luxor archaeological mission, told Ahram Online that the tomb was first mentioned in the early 20th century but it had never been excavated before because its entrance was only located in March.
He said that, despite having been reused in the Late Period, the tomb still contains most of its original funery collection.
The contents include well-preserved wooden coffins decorated with coloured scenes, as well as wooden funerary masks and almost 1,000 ushabti figurines carved in faience, terra-cotta and wood. Also found was a collection of clay pots of different shapes and sizes.
The tomb is a typical example of a nobleman's resting place, Waziry said, with a t-shaped structure consisting of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber.
Excavations continue to reveal the tomb's secrets, with an inner chamber containing a cachette of sarcophagi from the 21st Dynasty with mummies wrapped in linen. Experts are examining the mummies to discover the identities of the dead and the reasons for their deaths.
A nine-metre-deep shaft was also uncovered, connected to two rooms.
Friday, March 24, 2017
The discovery of the statue was made by the European-Egyptian mission, working under the umbrella of the German Archaeological Institute. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A unique statue, possibly of Queen Tiye, the wife of King Amenhotep III and grandmother of King Tutankhamun, has been unearthed at her husband's funerary temple in Kom El-Hittan on Luxor's west bank.
The exciting find was made by the European-Egyptian mission, working under the umbrella of the German Archaeological Institute.
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany who visited the site to inspect the discovery, described the staute as "unique and distinghuised".
He told Ahram Online that no alabaster statues of Queen Tiye have been found before now.
Hourig Sourouzian, head of the mission said that the statue is very well preserved and has kept is colours well.
She said the statue was founded accidentally while archaeologists were lifting up the lower part of a statue of king Amenhotep III that was buried in the sand.
"The Queen Tiye statue appeared beside the left leg of the King Amenhotep III statue," Sourouzian said. She added that the statue will be the subject of restoration work.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
|Headless statue of goddess Sekhmet. Photo courtesy of The Colossi of Memnon |
and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project
The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project has discovered a magnificent statue in black granite representing king Amenhotep III seated on the throne.
Project director Hourig Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the statue is 248cm high, 61 cm wide and 110cm deep. It was found in the great court of the temple of Amenhotep III on Luxor's West Bank.
"It is a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian sculpture: extremely well carved and perfectly polished," Sourouzian said, adding that the statue shows the king with very juvenile facial features, which indicates that it was probably commissioned early in his reign.
A similar statue was discovered by the same team in 2009 and is now temporarily on display in the Luxor Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art. When the site's restoration is complete, Sourouzian said, the pair of statues would be displayed again in the temple, in their original positions.
The Left - statue of goddess Sekhmet standing with the papyrus slogan in
her hand. The Right - statue of goddess Sekhmet sitting.
Sourouzian said this series of statues was found during excavation between the ruined temple's Peristyle Court and the Hypostyle Hall, as archaeologists searched for remains of the wall separating the two areas.
"The sculptures are of great artistic quality and of greatest archaeological interest, as they survived extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake toppled the walls and the columns," she told Ahram Online.
A collection of statues depicting goddess Sekhmet in situ.
Photo courtesy of The Colossi of Memnon and
Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project
In his funerary temple particularly, which was called the "temple for millions of years," the great number of these statues was intended to protect the ruler from evil and repel or cure diseases.
"All of these statues of the goddess will be placed back in their original setting as soon as the site is restored," Sourouzian said.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
A Japanese mission from Waseda University discovered a private tomb in the Theban necropolis in Luxor, Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the antiquities ministry's Ancient Egypt Department, said on Tuesday. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University
Jiro Kondo, the head of the Japanese mission, told Ahram Online that the tomb was discovered while excavators were cleaning the area to the east of the forecourt of the tomb of Userhat, a high official under king Amenhotep III. He added that the team aslso stumbled upon a hole hewn connected to the south wall of the transverse hall of the previously unknown tomb of Khonsu. The tomb is built on a T-shape on an east-west axis, with the main entrance, currently covered in debris, facing the east.
The tomb measures approximately 4.6m in length from the entrance to the rear wall of the inner chamber, while the transverse hall measures approximately 5.5 m in width.
Kondo explains that on the north wall of the entrance doorway, a scene
shows the solar boat of the god Ra-Atum being worshipped by four baboons in a
pose of adoration.
Decoration scene & The scene of the baboons
On the adjacent wall, hieroglyphic texts are inscribed vertically describing Khonsu as a “true renowned scribe.” On the southern part of the eastern wall in the transverse hall, Khonsu and his wife worship the gods Osiris and Isis in a kiosk, behind which is a depiction of the two ram-headed deity, likely Khnum or Khnum-Re.
On the upper register of the northern part of the tomb, there are carved seated figures of Osiris and Isis, though the upper parts of their bodies are broken. On the lower register, a portion of the paintings shows the followers of the tomb owners. "Regretfully, most of the wall paintings on the western wall of the transverse hall are no longer there," says Kondo.
Hani Abul Azm, the head of the Central Administration for Upper Egyptian Antiquities, says that the wall where the hole hewn is found hold vertical inscriptions at the top. The name and title of tomb's owner are identified. The frieze pattern near the ceiling shows a typical khekher-frize of the Ramesside period.
The ceiling decorations are better preserved than the wall paintings, while more images may be discovered in the inner chamber once the debris is cleared.
Monday, January 2, 2017
A replica statue of the deity Serquet will be erected in Terminal 2. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The Replica Statue of Serqet
Amr El-Tibi, the executive director of the antiquities ministry's Antiquity Replicas Unit, told Ahram Online that the statue will be taken from the unit’s factory in Cairo’s Citadel to the airport on Thursday morning.
The statue is a gift from the antiquities ministry to the civil aviation ministry, El-Tibi said, in an attempt to encourage tourism as well as to highlight the ongoing cooperation between the two ministries, as well as the tourism ministry.
El-Tibi explained that the polyester statue is four metres tall, weighs 150kg, and took two months to make. It is made of polyester and depicts Serquet, one of the four protective ancient Egyptian deities who stretch their arms to protect Tutankhamun's golden shrine. She wears a scorpion on her head.
Last month the antiquities ministry offered Ecuador a replica statue of Ramses II, which is similar to the authentic one that was transported in 2006 from Ramses Square in downtown Cairo to the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza Plateau, which is yet to open.
The statue was erected in Quito's Condado Square which was subsequently renamed Egypt Square.
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