Showing posts with label Nile Delta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nile Delta. Show all posts

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Opening, Nile Delta: San Al-Hagar Archaeological Site's Conversion to Open-Air Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art Making Progress

The Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany and an entourage of foreign ambassadors embarked on an inspection tour Saturday to the San Al-Hagar archeological site to assess the progress being made to develop the Sharqiya Governorate site into an open-air museum for ancient Egyptian art. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The minister was accompanied by Mostafa Waziri, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mamdouh Gurab, Governor of Sharqiya, and a group of a dozen foreign ambassadors to Egypt from Brazil, Lithuania, Congo, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other attaches.

El-Enany explained that the project aims to lift the monumental blocks, reliefs, columns, statues, and stelae laying on the sand at the site and to restore and re-erect them onto concrete slabs to protect them for future generations. The artifacts have been laying on sands since their discovery in the 19th century.

Waziri also said that the Egyptian mission restored and lifted-up ancient Egyptian blocks, statues, columns and obelisks onto stone mounts to isolate them from the ground and protect them from subsoil water, salts and moisture, as well as putting the objects on a better display to visitors.

The most important objects that the mission restored and re-erected are the northern and southern colossi of King Ramses II, which had been left on the ground in pieces since its discovery in the 19th century, along with two obelisks and two columns of the King Ramses II era. San Al-Hagar boasts many monumental relics and is one of the country’s largest and most impressive sites, causing Egyptologists to dub it the “Luxor of the North”.

During the 21st and 22nd dynasties, Tanis was a royal necropolis housing the tombs of the Pharaohs as well as nobles and military leaders. Pierre Montet’s excavations between the 1920s and 1950s were the most important carried out at Tanis. Montet put an end to the enigma of the identification of the site, as some Egyptologists saw Tanis as Pi-Ramses, while others suggested that it was the ancient Avaris.

Montet showed that Tanis was neither Pi-Ramses nor Avaris, but rather a third capital in the Delta during the 21st Dynasty. He also unearthed the royal necropolis of the 21st and 22nd dynasties in 1939, with their unique treasures now on display in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

“This discovery was not recognised in the way that the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 was recognised because of the outbreak of World War II,” Waziri said. Among the tombs that were uncovered were those of the Pharaohs Psusennes I, Amenemonpe, Osorkon II and Sheshonq III.

The site houses large number of tombs and temples among the largest is the one dedicated to god Amun. It also houses the Temples of deities Mut and Khonsu and Horus along with a collection of obelisks, columns and colossi of King Ramses II. In December 2017, the ministry launched a comprehensive rescue project to restore Tanis and to develop the site into an open-air museum of Ancient Egyptian art.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Discovery, Nile Delta: One of The Earliest Settlements of the Nile Delta Uncovered in Daqahliya Governorate


An Egyptian-French mission at the Tell el-Samara site in the Delta governorate of Daqahliya has recently uncovered one of the oldest villages ever discovered in the Nile Delta. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The joint mission excavated the remains of a Neolithic settlement, whose occupation lasted until the 2nd dynasty (ca. 4200-2900 BC), at the bottom level of the El-Samara site.  “Discoveries from the Neolithic period are virtually unknown in this area, so this finding is of the upmost importance,” said Frederic Geyau, the head of the mission.

The only other settlement discovered so far from the Neolithic period is the town of Sais, which was excavated by the Egyptian Exploration Society. The significant amount of data collected at Tell el-Samara since 2015 provide a unique opportunity to gain a better knowledge of the prehistoric societies living in Lower Egypt a thousand years before the 1st dynasty. From the pottery and artefacts found at the site, researchers believe that communities settled in the wetlands of the Nile Delta as early as the end of the 5th millennium BC.

Ayman Ashmawi, the head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities sector, told Ahram Online that the mission has also discovered a dozen silos containing a sizable quantity of animal bones and botanical remains, which will allow for scientists to study the subsistence strategies of these populations.

He also said that the analyses of these organic remains will use cutting-edge technologies and, in conjunction with uncovering the unexcavated areas in the seasons to come, will definitely provide critical insights on the first populations of the Nile Delta, as well as providing insight into the origins of agriculture and husbandry in Egypt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Discovery, Nile Delta: Greco-Roman Bath, Artifacts Discovered at San El-Hagar Archaeological Site in Egypt.


Wriiten By/ Nevine El-Aref: An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has uncovered sections from a huge red brick building that might be part of a Greco-Roman bath at San El-Hagar archaeological site in Gharbeya governorate.

The mission has also uncovered a collection of pottery vessels, terracotta statues, bronze tools and coins, a stone fragment engraved with hieroglyphs and a small statue of a lamb.

Head of the mission Saeed El-Asal told Ahram Online that the most notable artefact discovered is a gold coin of King Ptolemy III, which was made during the reign of his son King Ptolemy IV (244 – 204 BC) in memory of his father. The diameter of the coin is 2.6cm and weighs about 28g.

One side of the coin depicts a portrait of King Ptolemy III wearing the crown while the other side bears the Land of Prosperity and the name of the king.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Short Story: Living Through The Past

The values that built Egypt’s ancient civilisation are still very much in evidence today, writes Hussein Bassir.

Civilisation began in Egypt’s Nile Valley and Delta. The ancient Egyptians, the builders of this unique civilisation, were distinguished for their skill, perseverance, calmness, forbearance, faith and tolerance.

Egypt is also a meeting place for civilisations, a crucible for cultural exchange, and an object of desire for invaders throughout its long history. The names given to the land have been numerous. The name Egypt comes from the ancient term Hutkaptah, meaning “temple of the soul of Ptah”, the god of the ancient capital Memphis. The ancient Egyptians belonged to both the Semitic and Hamitic peoples.

The written story of Egypt begins around 3000 BC. When the legendary king Menes unified Upper Egypt (the south) and Lower Egypt (the Delta) and established a centralised state around 3000 BC, values and standards were introduced that still govern the state of Egypt today.

Egypt then entered the period of the Old Kingdom, the age of the Pyramids, which lasted from 2686 to 2160 BC. During this time, the Egyptians built the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, and carved the statue of the Great Sphinx on the Giza Plateau, which represented the Pharaoh Khafre, builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza. These magnificent monuments bear witness to the archaeological, engineering, astronomical and administrative skills of the ancient Egyptians.

After this golden age, Egypt entered a period of decline, before emerging as a powerful force in the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC), the age of Egyptian classical literature. Following this second golden age, the country embarked on the most difficult period in its ancient history, namely the occupation by foreign tribes known as Hyksos, meaning “rulers of foreign lands”.

These crept over the country’s eastern borders and took control of large parts of the land when the Egyptian state was weak. After a long and bitter struggle, the Upper Egyptian Pharaoh Ahmose I (1550-1525 BC) managed to expel the Hyksos from Egypt by driving them into neighbouring Palestine. The New Kingdom, the final golden age of ancient Egypt, was now established.

Egypt adopted a new foreign policy based on expansion and foreign conquest and brought numerous other powers under its control. This period, which lasted until 1069 BC, is known as the age of empire. Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) is considered the founder of the Egyptian Empire in Asia and Africa, while other famous Pharaohs of this age include Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses II and Ramses III….. READ MORE. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Discovery, Sharqiya: Ramses II Stelae Uncovered at San Al-Hagar Site

The newly discovered stelae
San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

During work carried out at San Al-Hagar archaeological site in Sharqiya governorate with a view to develop the site into an open-air museum, archaeologists stumbled upon a stelae of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the stelae is carved in red granite and depicts King Ramses II presenting offerings to a yet unidentified ancient Egyptian deity. 


Part of the development work & Waziri examining the stelae
He said that although several foreign missions have worked on the site, it has never been completely excavated and was neglected.

“This discovery encourages the Ministry of Antiquities to start a comprehensive development project at the site in order to rescue its monuments and transform it into an open-air museum,” Waziri added.

San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun. Several foreign missions, among them a French mission, have worked on the site since the mid-19th century.

Waadalla Abul Ela, head of the ministry's projects sector, explained that a project started a month ago aims to create a collection of concrete mastaba for the monumental blocks, statues and stelae that were laying on the floor of the temple.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Discovery, Kafr El-Sheikh: Remains of Royal Ancient Egyptian Artefacts Uncovered in Tel Al-Pharaeen

At least one of the pieces uncovered in Kafr El-Sheikh dates to the reign of King Psamtik I. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

An Egyptian excavation mission has discovered remains of mud-brick walls and several artefacts that can be dated to different periods of the ancient Egyptian era as well as four furnaces from the Late Period (664-332 BCE) during excavation work carried out in Tel Al-Pharaeen archeological site known as “ancient Buto” in the Kafr Al-Sheikh Governorate.

Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that studies on the walls' remains suggested that it could possibly represent the main ancient axis of the Buto temple, and the furnaces may have been used for the preparation of the offerings presented to deities inside the temple.

He continued that the mission has also uncovered the foundation of two limestone columns that may had once have been part of the temple’s hall of pillars, in addition to a limestone statue of King Psamtik I seated on the throne and holding the royal handkerchief in his right hand. The upper part of the statue is damaged, Ashmawy noted.
A part of a yet unidentified royal statue has also been found but preliminary examination suggests that it too could belong to King Psamtik I. The statue is skillfully carved in black granite. It is missing the head, neck, and a segment below the knee, as well as the base and parts of the arms. It depicts the king wearing the Shendit (royal kilt). Both statues and their fragments were transferred to the stores of the ministry for conservation and restoration.

On his part, Hossam Ghoneim, head of the excavation mission, said that the mission uncovered the upper part of a statue of the god Hur engraved in quartzite, remains of an inscription bearing the name of the Buto, part of a granite royal hand with the remains of a royal cartouche of King Psamtik I, part of a Menit Necklace (the symbol of goddess Hathor), as well as a collection of pottery.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

News: Restoration Work Begins On Al-Mahaly Mosque In The Delta city of Rosetta

The long-awaited restoration project will see cracks filled, structures strengthened and problems with water and sewage fixed. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Al-Mahaly Mosque

The Ministry of Antiquities has begun restoration and development work on Al-Mahaly Mosque in the Delta city of Rosetta, part of a plan to preserve the city's monuments and transform it into an open-air museum of Islamic art.

Engineer Waadalla Aboul Ela, head of the ministry's projects department, said the mosque is in a bad condition, with numerous cracks, a high rate of humidity and a high level of groundwater.

Aboul Ela said that the restoration work will include fixing the poor sewage system in the area, which has negatively impacted the mosque, while preventing the leakage of sewage into the walls.

Cracks will be filled, the walls, columns and ceilings will be consolidated and the foundations strengthened, while a new lighting system will be installed, he said.

The development and restoration work is expected to last for nearly three years, costing EGP 86 million in total. Once the work is completed, the mosque, which has been closed for years, will be opened to the public once more.

Mohamed Abdel Latif, Assistant to the Minister of Antiquities for Archaeological Sites, explained that the mosque belonged to Sheikh Ali Al-Mahaly, who died in Rosetta and was buried in 495 AD.

The mosque is located in the city center and has a wooden ceiling embellished with gilded decorations and supported by 99 pillars of different shapes.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Short Story: Documentation Work Begins

State-of-the-art technology is being used to document the Esna Temple south of Luxor and the Tanis archaeological site in the Delta. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

In a step towards scientifically documenting all archaeological sites and monuments in Egypt, the Antiquities Documentation Centre (ADC) of the Ministry of Antiquities has started to document the Esna Temple south of Luxor and the Tanis archaeological site in the Sharqiya governorate in the Delta.

Director of the ADC Hisham Al-Leithi told Al-Ahram Weekly that the documentation of the Esna Temple had started in 1993 but had stopped due to the high level of subterranean water that had leaked inside the temple and the beginnings of the restoration work

The whole project to document all the archaeological sites in Egypt was also stopped in the aftermath of the 25 January Revolution due to budgetary problems. Al-Leithi said that the ministry had resumed the documentation project earlier this year and had started with the Esna Temple and the Tanis site.

The documentation project, he explained, aims to register every inch of every monument in Egypt according to the most up-to-date scientific and archaeological techniques.

“The actual documentation methods will consist of computer-data sets, plans and sections, as well as photographs, drawings and illustrations, recording forms, logbooks, site notebooks, diaries and dive logs,” Al-Leithi said. He added that GIS systems, 3D reconstructions, applications that support on-site recording processes, modern measuring techniques and data-processing software used in geophysical research would also be used.

The Esna Temple is located in the town of Esna roughly 50km south of Luxor. Its history goes back to prehistoric times, although Esna was first mentioned in the Pharaoh Thutmose III’s annals when it was part of the Upper Egyptian region extending from Al-Kab in the north to Armant south of Luxor.

During the ancient Egyptian Middle Kingdom, Esna was an important centre for trade, as it was the focal point of trading convoys from Sudan going to Thebes. During the Graeco-Roman period, Esna was called Latopolis in honour of the Nile perch that was worshipped there. In 1971, a necropolis dedicated to the Nile perch was uncovered west of the town.

The Esna Temple is one of the most important archaeological sites in Esna, Al-Leithi said, adding that the temple goes back to the reign of the 18th-Dynasty Pharaoh Thutmose III and was built on top of the remains of a Saite temple. The present temple, he continued, was built during the Ptolemaic era, although most of its engravings and decorations go back to the Roman period.

The temple is dedicated to the god of the Nile, as well as other deities such as the ancient goddess of war and weaving Neith, god of magic Heka, goddess of the Nile Satet, and the lion goddess Menhet.

The temple was built almost nine metres below ground level and was completely uncovered in 1843 during the reign of the khedive Mohamed Ali. Earlier the area had hosted French soldiers during the French expedition to Egypt in 1799. “The names of some of the soldiers are engraved on the upper surface of the Temple,” Al-Leithi said.

Some masonry blocks attesting to the construction during the reign of Thutmose III were reused at the site, and the oldest complete part of the temple is the back wall of the hypostyle hall, built during the Ptolemaic period and showing scenes depicting Ptolemy VI Philometer and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes.

The rest of the temple was built by a series of Roman emperors, including Claudius, and Decius. The hypostyle hall is decorated with 24 pillars beautifully carved and painted with different floral designs. 

Texts describing the religious festival that once took place at the temple and depicting Roman emperors standing before ancient Egyptian deities are also inscribed on the pillars.

On the northern wall of the hall, the pharaoh is depicted catching wild birds or conquering evil spirits. The decorations also include a number of calendars, while the ceiling is decorated with Egyptian astronomical figures on the northern side and Roman zodiacal signs on the southern side.... READ MORE.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

New Discovery, Nile Delta: Skeletons Of Two Possible Eunuchs Discovered In Ancient Egypt

Recent excavations at the Ptolemaic-Roman site of Quesna in Egypt have revealed two skeletons of individuals who might have been eunuchs. But these people’s above-average height and other skeletal irregularities might also reflect a congenital condition rather than castration.

Skeleton B21 from Ptolemaic era Quesna, Egypt. With its immature bones and 
tall stature, this individual might have been intersex.
Presenting at last week’s American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference, archaeologists Scott Haddow (University of Bordeaux), Sonia Zakrzewski (University of Southampton), and Joanne Rowland (University of Edinburgh) highlighted the two unusual burials out of 151 total interments at Quesna, located in the Nile Delta region of the country.

One person – B21 – was an adolescent of indeterminate sex from the Ptolemaic Era. The burial was oriented rather differently: with the head to the south, rather than the typical head-north orientation of the period. Although the skeleton was poorly preserved, Haddow and colleagues noticed that most of the person's bones looked extremely immature, including the growth plates of the limb bones, which were completely unfused. This meant that the person was taller than average, even though they were not fully grown.

The other person – B26 – was also an adolescent of indeterminate sex, dating to the Roman Era. Buried in a collective tomb, this person was similarly much taller than average with completely unfused growth plates.

Archaeologist Scott Haddow excavating B26, a potentially intersex
individual from Roman-era Quesna, Egypt.
Haddow and colleagues began to suspect these individuals were possibly eunuchs because castration before the onset of puberty typically results in people who are tall and slender, with broad hips, narrow shoulders, and a sunken chest. Although there are few skeletal studies of individuals known to have been castrated, those that exist – such as of the Italian castrati Farinelli and Pacchierotti – also reveal incompletely fused long bones, tall stature, and osteoporosis.

So were these people from ancient Egypt eunuchs? The historical record would certainly allow for that possibility. Intersex individuals were present throughout the ancient world, Haddow and colleagues note, with eunuchs playing important administrative roles in Assyrian, Persian, and Roman courts. Linguistic evidence also indicates the recognition of non-binary gender statuses. In Egypt specifically, there are textual references to eunuchs working in administrative roles in the Ptolemaic and Roman courts.

But the skeletal evidence is not conclusive. Haddow and colleagues clarify that, beyond castration, other causes need to be considered. These involve a number of congenital conditions affecting the endocrine system, including sex chromosome abnormalities such as Klinefelter Syndrome or autosomal disorders such as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and an estrogen deficiency called aromatase deficiency. Because these conditions disrupt a person's hormonal balance and subsequent skeletal development in a similar way to pre-pubertal castration, it is difficult to differentiate among them..... READ MORE.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Discovery, Nile Delta: Monumental' Building Complex Discovered at Qantir in Egypt's Nile Delta

A mortar pit with children's footprints still preserved was also uncovered at the site. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

At the ancient city of Piramesse, which was Egypt's capital during the reign of the King Ramses II, an excavation team from the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim in Germany has uncovered parts of a building complex as well as a mortar pit with children’s footprints.

The head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at Egypt’s antiquities ministry, Mahmoud Afifi, describes the newly discovered building complex as "truly monumental," covering about 200 by 160 metres. The layout suggests the complex was likely a palace or a temple, Afifi told Ahram Online.

The mission director, Henning Franzmeier, explained magnetic measurements were carried out last year in order to determine the structure of the ancient city, and through those measurements the building complex was located.

The site of excavation had been chosen, he explained, not just because of its archaeological potential but because of its proximity to the edges of the modern village of Qantir, which is endangering the nearby antiquities under its fields due to rapid expansion.

Franzmeier told Ahram Online that the team has also uncovered an area of about 200 square metres in its excavations. 

It is the goal of this work to locate a potential entrance to the monumental building, which seems not to be located as is typical in the axis of the complex, but rather in its north-western corner. Furthermore a second small trench was laid out in an area where the excavators believe the enclosure wall can be traced.

"The finds and archaeological features uncovered are most promising," he said, adding that just a couple of centimetres beneath the surface a multitude of walls was uncovered, all dating to the Pharaonic period. Due to the limited size of the trenches no buildings can be reconstructed so far. 

Nonetheless it is obvious that the stratigraphy is extremely dense and several construction phases are preserved, and not all the walls are contemporaneous.

The team has also found a mortar pit extending to at least 2.5 by 8 metres. At the bottom, a layer of mortar was uncovered, in which children’s footprints have been preserved. Even more extraordinary is the filling of the pit, consisting of smashed pieces of painted wall plaster. 

"No motifs are recognisable so far but we are certainly dealing with the remains of large-scale multi-coloured wall paintings," said Franzmeier.

The team fragments have been cleaned in situ and subsequently removed. A comprehensive excavation of all fragments followed by permanent conservation and the reconstruction of motifs will be the subject of future seasons.

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 ...