Showing posts with label Egyptian Tombs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Egyptian Tombs. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Exclusive Video: Inside the Newly Discovered Tomb in Sakkara

Exclusive video showing Dr. Mostafa Waziry talking about the discovery and the tomb. 
Who is the tomb owner? What was his job? The description of the tomb contents? What is yet to be discovered?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

New Discovery, Saqqara: 'Exceptionally Well-Preserved' Tomb of Fifth Dynasty Royal Priest Discovered in Egypt's Saqqara

An Egyptian archaeological mission has uncovered an “exceptionally well-preserved” tomb belonging to a Fifth Dynasty royal priest at Saqqara, the antiquities ministry has said. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The mission at the Sacred Animal Necropolis in Saqqara discovered the tomb of a royal purification priest named “Wahtye” from the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re, Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany announced. A large number of foreign and Arab ambassadors and members of Egypt’s parliament attended an event announcing the new discovery.

El-Enany said that the tomb is exceptionally well-preserved and painted, with walls decorated with colourful scenes depicting the owner of the tomb with his mother, wife and family as well as a number of niches with large coloured statues of the deceased and his family. El-Enany describes it as “the most beautiful tomb” found this year.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the head of the excavation mission, said that the mission was able to reach the facade of the tomb during its second excavation season in November, but was not able to enter it then as the doors were sealed.

Excavations continued, and after removing the debris from the tomb’s façade, a lintel on top of the tomb’s door was revealed, inscribed with three hieroglyphic lines: the name and different titles of the owner, who was the royal purification priest, the supervisor of King Nefer-Ir-Ka-Re and the inspector of the holy boat.

Waziri added the tomb’s walls have several coloured inscriptions showing the name of the wife of the tomb’s owner (Weret Ptah), and many scenes featuring the deceased with his mother (Merit Meen) and his family, as well as scenes depicting the fabrication of pottery and wine, making religious offering, musical performances, boats ailing, the manufacturing of the funerary furniture, and hunting. Inside the tomb there are 18 niches displaying 24 large coloured statues carved in rock and depicting the owner of the tomb and his family.

Meanwhile, the lower part of the tomb contains 26 small niches with 31 statues of a yet unidentified person standing, or in the seated scribe position. “This statue might be of the deceased or a member of his family,” Waziri said.

Sabry Farag, the general director of the Saqqara archaeological site, said that the tomb consists of a rectangular hall about 10 metres long from north to south, 3 metres wide from east to west, and about 3 metres high, with a basement at the end of the tomb. Waziri said that the tomb contains five burial shafts, all of which will be excavated, in addition to two false doors, one belonging to the deceased and the second to his mother.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Discovery, Aswan: 3,700 Year Old Skeletons of Woman, Fetus Discovered in Egypt's Aswan

3,700-year-old skeletons of woman, fetus discovered in Egypt's Aswan
An Italian-American archaeological mission working in Aswan's Kom Ombo has uncovered the grave of a woman and her fetus dating back 3,700 years, general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri announced. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Waziri explained that the grave is almost intact and was found in a small cemetery previously used by nomadic people who moved to Egypt from the desert hinterland of its southern neighbour, Nubia, during the Second Intermediate Period (c 1750-1550 BCE).

He added that studies have shown that at the time of her death the woman was about 25 years old and was very close to giving birth. He added that the baby’s skeleton was found in the mother's pelvic area and had already settled in a "head down" position, suggesting that both mother and child may have died during childbirth.

Preliminary analysis of the mother’s remains revealed a misalignment in the woman’s pelvis, most likely the result of a fracture that had healed incorrectly. It is possible that this abnormality had caused problems during labour leading to death.

The mother’s skeleton was resting in a contracted position and was wrapped in a leather shroud. Two pottery vessels accompanied her on her journey to the afterlife: one was a small Egyptian jar, beautifully made and worn down by years of use; and the other was a fine bowl with a red polished surface and black interior, produced by these nomadic communities following a Nubian style.

Waziri mentioned that the mission also found an unexpected offering in the grave, consisting of many unfinished ostrich eggshell beads and blank fragments. The reason behind this offering is unclear; it is possible that in life the woman was a well-regarded bead maker and her family placed an amount of un-worked material in the grave to honour her memory.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Discovery, Sakkara: Seven New Tomb Discoveries in Saqqara: Egypt's - Minister of Antiquities

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced on Saturday a new discovery made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation work carried out since April at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in the Saqqara Necropolis. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Cairo governor Ahmed Rashid attended the announcement, along with members of parliament and 30 ambassadors from all over the globe to highlight the role that antiquities play in promoting the country and its unique heritage.

El-Enany explained that the mission uncovered three plain New Kingdom tombs that had been used during the Late Period as a cat necropolis, along with four other Old Kingdom tombs, the most important of which belongs to Khufu-Imhat, the overseer of the buildings in the royal palace.

This tomb can be dated to the late fifth and the early sixth dynasties.

He also pointed out that the Egyptian mission selected the site to excavate because there was a high probability that a collection of Old Kingdom tombs could be uncovered around the ramp of King Userkaf pyramid complex.

In 2008, the mission stopped digging and instead devoted all of its work to the studying, documenting and restoration of some of the discovered tombs, though all projects completely stopped after 2013.

“This will be the first of three upcoming new discoveries in other governorates in Egypt to be announced before the end of 2018,” said El-Enany.

Mostafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that the Egyptian mission succeeded in unearthing the first ever scarab mummies in the Memphis necropolis, as two large mummies of scarabs were found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black.

Studies on these scarabs show that they are wrapped in linen and in a very good preservation condition. Another collection of scarab mummies was also found inside a smaller and squared limestone sarcophagus decorated with one painted black scarab.

Tens of cat mummies were also unearthed, along with 100 wooden statues of cats and a bronze one dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet. A collection of wooden gilded statues depicting the physical features of a lion, a cow, and a falcon was also unearthed.

Painted wooden sarcophagi of cobras with mummies found inside them were also discovered along with two wooden sarcophagi of crocodiles.

Within the debris, the mission succeeded to unearth around 1000 amulets made of faience dedicated to different deities, including Tawesert, Apis, Anubis, Djehuty, Horus, Isis, Ptah Patek, and Khnum, as well as other faience amulets in the shape of the Udjat eye, the white and red crowns, and the Wadjat column.

Three alabaster canopic jars and writing tools, such as ink pots with pens, were found along with several papyri featuring chapters from the Book of the Dead. Names of two ladies, Subek Sekt and Mafy, were also found engraved on a false door for the first time ever.

Sabri Farag, the Director General of the Saqqara Necropolis, said that a collection of baskets and ropes made of papyrus was also found along with 30 clay pots, a headrest, and alabaster and bronze jars inside a wooden sarcophagus.

A large number of decorated stone reliefs and blocks, along with parts of false doors, were also found with two blocks representing a part of the lintel of the tomb of Ankh Mahur, one of the Old Kingdom viziers.

Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) is the sponsor of the event, in accordance with the newly launched commercial sponsorship regulation, according to the request it submitted to the ministry of antiquities.

Engineer Naguib Sawiris, the Executive Chairman of OIH, affirmed the company’s interest to develop archaeological sites to show the exceptional richness of Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world towards its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world.

Among the attendees are ambassadors of Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Cyprus, Mexico, Italy, Malta, Hungary, France, Ireland, Armenia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Japan, Austria, and Bella Russia. Saudi Arabia and Georgia’s vice-ambassadors have also attended, as well as Denmark’s general councilor and the cultural attachés of the Czech Republic, Georgia and USA. The heads of the American Research Centre in Cairo and UNESCO were also among the attendees.

Multiple ambassadors have participated in several archaeological events over the last month, including the Abu Simbel Temple solar alignment phenomenon and tours around the archaeological sites in the New Valley and Saint Catherine in South Sinai.

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 ...