Showing posts with label Elephantine Island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elephantine Island. Show all posts

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Discovery, Aswan: 2nd Century Roman Temple Uncovered in Aswan

The temple was discovered by Egyptian archaeologists. The Egyptian Excavation Field School at the Kom Al-Rasras archaeological site in Aswan has uncovered the remains of a sandstone temple dating back to the 2nd century CE, during Egypt's Roman period. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The temple bears the cartouches of a number of Roman emperors such as Domitian (81-96 CE), Hadrian (117-138 CE) and Antonius Pius (138-161 CE).

Ayman Ashmawy, head of ancient Egyptian antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities, explains that excavators also discovered the temple's sanctuary, which consists of three chambers.

The sanctuary leads to a cross-sectional hall connected to another hall, which is accessed by a sandstone ramp. Found inside the temple were remains of stone engraving with stars representing the sky, possibly a part of the temple's ceiling.

“The discovered site might be connected to Gebel Al-Silsila area and the temple was most probably a part of the residential area of the quarry workers,” Ashmawy told Ahram Online. He explained that the hieroglyphic name of the site is “Khenu." 

The name is engraved on one of the discovered blocks which connects the site to the residential city. Further excavations may lead to the discovery of the residential area of Al-Silsila quarries.

Bassem Gehad, Assistant to the Minister of Antiquities for Human Resources and Training, said that the Kom Al-Rasras school was the first Egyptian field archaelolgical school to be founded.

The school's founding comes within the Ministry of Antiquities' framework to establish a number of Egyptian field schools in order to develop the skills of junior archaeologists in several domains, including excavation, documentation, restoration and site management.

He pointed out that the ministry has established four similar training centers in Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Giza and South-Sinai, and is scheduled to establish six more schools across the country. 

The Al-Rasras field school began training students in January 2018 with a class of 16 archaeologists from Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Discovery, Aswan: Hellenic-Era Block, New Kingdom Axes Discovered in Egypt's Aswan

During excavation work at the north-eastern area of Aswan's Komombo temple as part of a project to decrease subterranean water, an Egyptian mission from the Ministry of Antiquities has recently discovered a Hellenic-era limestone block engraved with hieroglyphic inscriptions. Writen By/ Nevine El-Aref .

A carpentry workshop was also discovered by a German-Swiss mission led by Cornelious von Pilgrim on Aswan's Elephantine Island in Aswan, where two New Kingdom-era axes were found. 

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explains that preliminary studies carried out on the block reveal that it dates back to the era of Macedonian King Philip III Arrhidaeus, the step brother of Alexander the Great, who succeeded his brother to the throne. The block is 83cm tall, 55cm wide and 32cm thick. The inscription shows the cartouche of King Philip III and a prayer to the crocodile god Sobek of Komombo. The upper part of the block depicts the goddess Nekhbet and its lower part bears an image of King Philip wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt.

The two most notable artefacts found at the workshop on Elephantine Island are axes made of bronze or copper. The axes were found in a small pit in one of the uppermost floors of the structure. The artefacts have been dated to the reign of either Thutmosis III or during the early rule of Amenhotep II.

One of the axes, which was most likely used as a construction tool, is symmetrical with elongated lugs; this type of axe started to appear in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. The axe, which is heavily corroded and cracked, is similar to a type of splayed axe with straight sides that became common at the time of the 18th Dynasty.

The second axe is clearly of foreign, likely Syrian, origin, and is the first of its kind to be found in Egypt. The axe head has a hole where it can be mounted on a shaft; a technology that was never adopted by Egyptian manufacturers.

“The axe has four spikes on the opposite sides of the blade, which corresponds to the Nackenkammäxten type of axe, which has only been known to originate from the northern Levant and Syria,” Von Pilgrim told Ahram Online.

Von Pilgrim added that two almost identical pieces have been found at a sanctuary of stratum VIII in Beth Shan (North Palestine) and in a tomb in Ugarit (Syria). However, the Levantine pieces are dated slightly later than the artifacts from Egypt, which could possibly be explained by the longevity of such precious weapons or tools and their eventual depositing in sacral and funeral contexts. Von Pilgrim added the axe from Elephantine is the earliest example of such an axe ever found, adding that it is safe to assume that it was used as a construction tool on Elephantine.

The Syrian axe, however, may have found its way into Egypt during the direct contacts, or conflicts, between Egypt and Mitanni during this period. The discovery of this Syrian axe in Elephantine could add to the study of contact between Egypt and Mitanni, the North African nation's rival in Syria during the Thutmoside period.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Short Story: Aswan Annex Reopens

After seven years of closure the Aswan Museum Annex on Elephantine Island has reopened to the public. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

 Khalil explaining the content of a pharaonic marriage contract
On a rocky hill on the south-eastern side of Elephantine Island at Aswan in Upper Egypt stands the white clapboard building of the Aswan Museum, waiting for restoration. The edifice was originally built in 1898 as the villa of the Old Aswan Dam’s British designer, Sir William Willcocks.

In 1912, the house was converted into a museum displaying antiquities that had been discovered in Aswan and Nubia. Nearby, a modern 220 square metre annex was built and inaugurated in 1998 to house artefacts unearthed on Elephantine Island.

Both buildings were closed for restoration in 2010. A month ago the annex was reopened, but the main building is still closed and will be reopened after the completion of its restoration. The restoration work is funded by the German Foreign Ministry and carried out in collaboration with restorers from the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo.

Museum director Mustafa Khalil told Al-Ahram Weekly that the restoration work included the installation of new lighting and state-of-the-art security systems connected to a closed-circuit TV that was self-operating. New showcases have been installed and the walls painted.
Decorative clay elements found in ancient Egyptian houses 
Khalil said that the annex put on display a selection of 1,788 artefacts considered to be the finest and most important discoveries by the German-Swiss archaeological mission in Elephantine from 1969 until the present day.

Among the objects on display are a collection of small baboon statues unearthed from the Satet Temple and children’s toys made of fired clay and faience including dolls and chess pieces. Offerings are also on show, as well as jewellery such as necklaces, rings, amulets and scarabs. Domestic pots, pans, spoons and knives and utensils are also exhibited, shedding light on the island’s inhabitants’ daily lives, as well as the economy and trade with neighbouring countries.

Hunting, fishing and farming tools as well as weapons are also exhibited, along with tools used in the construction of houses such as stone plumb lines, wooden mallets, sanding stones and tools for polishing hard stone, smoothing wall plaster and decorating temple walls. Copper axes from the Second Intermediate Period are exhibited along with moulds used to make oil lamps.

Middle Kingdom statuettes depicting dignitaries of status are exhibited, as well as a colossus of the Pharaoh Thutmose II and coins from the Ptolemaic period. “The marriage contract papyrus from the reign of Nectanebo II is the most distinguished object on display in the annex,” Khalil told the Weekly.

 statuettes showing love scenes 
He said that the contract dated to the eighth year of the king’s reign and the first month of the inundation season. It mentions the names of the married couple, the gifts the bride gave to the groom, and the furniture she came with to his house. The contract also mentions the marital rules they agreed upon during their daily lives and in case of divorce.

“Although it is a small annex museum, it shows the history of Elephantine Island, which is a unique archaeological park in Aswan,” Khalil said, explaining that the island’s southern end was dominated by the remains of an ancient town.

This settlement was inhabited from late prehistory to the Middle Ages, and the modern Nubian village to the north of the ancient site continues this tradition to the present day.

Ancient Elephantine was the capital of the region situated just below the first cataract of the Nile, and it was for long the southern border town of Egypt. “From here, expeditions for war and trade were sent far into Nubia and the adjacent deserts, today parts of the northern Sudan,” Khalil said.... READ MORE.

New discovery, Sakkara: Hawass Announces New Archaeological Discovery in Saqarra

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