Sunday, January 6, 2019
OurnTreasures Abroad, Scotland: Egypt to Send Official Inquiry over Alleged Pyramid Stone to be Displayed at Scottish Museum
Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass asserts that the stone could not have come from the Great Pyramid of Giza. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
he supervisor-general of Egypt's Antiquities Repatriation Department, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, has told Ahram Online that Egypt will send an official inquiry to Scotland asking for a certificate of possession and export documents for a casing stone purportedly from the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The BBC reported earlier today that the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh will display on 8 February a casing stone from the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which will be displayed for the first time outside of Egypt along with other ancient Egyptian artefacts.
Abdel-Gawad said that the Egyptian law for the protection of antiquities stipulates that trading or exporting antiquities is a crime, and if the block is found to have been smuggled out the country, all procedures will be taken to return it home.
Renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass asserted to Ahram Online that the block could not be from the Great Pyramid, whose outer layer was destroyed over the centuries.
“There is no image showing the casing of the Great Pyramid," Hawass said, adding that the outer layer of the pyramid was made of granite, like the pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure, and not of limestone as the National Museum of Scotland claims.
Hawass added that the only remaining casing from the Giza pyramids is found at the top of the Khafre pyramid and the lower part of the Menkaure pyramid.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
The ancient artifact, seized at Kuwait International Airport in March, was handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities for dating. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
An ancient Egyptian coffin lid seized in March at Kuwait International Airport has arrived safely in Egypt and was handed over to the Ministry of Antiquities at noon today.
Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, supervisor-general of the ministry’s Antiquities Repatriation Department, told Ahram Online that the lid will be sent to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), where it will be restored and authenticated. Abdel-Gawad thanked the Egyptian foreign ministry, the Kuwaiti foreign ministry, customs authority and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters of Kuwait for their full cooperation in returning the smuggled coffin lid to its homeland.
In March, Kuwaiti authorities announced that officers working at the air cargo terminal at Kuwait International Airport had found a 186-centimetre coffin lid professionally hidden inside a sofa while scanning of a shipment of office furniture sent from Egypt. The coffin lid was confiscated pending further investigation in compliance with the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
Kuwaiti customs authorities reported the incident to the country’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature (NCCAL) to determine the coffin’s origin and historical authenticity. The NCCAL set up a committee led by Sultan Gawish, director of museums and antiquities at NCCAL, which included two Egyptian professors of ancient history and antiquities, El-Sayed Mahfouz and Ahmed Said, who work at Kuwait University, to inspect the condition of the coffin and report on its authenticity.
According to the committee’s report, Abdel-Gawad said the seized object is an anthropoid coffin carved in wood in the ancient Egyptian Osirin shape, except that the hands on the coffin are not folded together in the usual way.
The lid is painted without any hieroglyphic inscriptions. Most of the surface is covered with a layer of calcined dirt and petrified rat dung. After examination, the committee recommended to return the lid to Egypt as the thick layer of dirt covering the coffin’s surface made it difficult for the committee to determine its authenticity.
"The cleaning process requires special materials that are not available to the committee,” Mahfouz said, adding that after cleaning, specialists could take a sample from the coffin for radioactive carbon analysis in order to determine its authenticity.
Although the coffin is similar to those from the late Pharaonic period and early Ptolemaic era, he continued, the separation between the body and the base and the way the lid is carved in one piece appears anomalous and requires investigation.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Our Treasures Abroad, Norway: Egypt Ambassador to Norway Inaugurates Ancient Egyptian Artifacts Exhibition in Oslo
Egyptian Ambassador in Norway Mahy Hassan Abdel-Latif inaugurated an exhibition of ancient Egyptian antiquities and paintings entitled "Images of Egypt" at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. Written By/ MENA.
The three-month exhibition showcases Egyptian artifacts from across the world's largest museums including London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Paris's Musée d'Orsay and the US Metropolitan Museum of Art, alongside two original copies of the book "Description de l'Égypte."
Over 300 people attended the opening ceremony including ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and individuals from the Egyptian community in Norway.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
North America fell under the magic of the Ancient Egyptians this week, with two exhibitions being inaugurated in St Louis and Los Angeles, reports Nevine El-Aref.
The St Louis International Airport, streets, shops, buses and hotels were all plastered with posters of granite colossi of the goddess Isis, the Nile god Hapi, Ptolemaic royal figures and the head of Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Julius Caesar, half buried in the seabed, for the Egypt’s Lost World exhibition.
Others showed divers coming face-to-face with monuments beneath the waves decorating sections of the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) façade, while a large 3D photograph of one of Napoleon’s sunken vessels dominated the main wall of the museum’s central courtyard and connecting the six grand galleries of the exhibition. St Louis, it felt, had come under the spell of the Ancient Egyptian sunken treasures.
The exhibition displays 293 objects excavated from beneath the Mediterranean. It was inaugurated by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and SLAM Director Brent Benjamin in the presence of Egyptian MPs Osama Heikal, head of the Culture, Antiquities and Media Committee, and Sahar Talaat Mustafa, head of the Tourism and Aviation Committee.
Enormous care had been taken in recreating the Alexandrian theme.
The different galleries of the exhibition had been designed to resemble the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, and all the galleries were painted light blue and dark sandy-red to reflect the colours of the sea and sand.
Giant plasma screens showed films documenting the progress of marine archaeologists as they uncovered the mysteries of Alexandria’s ancient Eastern Harbour within the display theme.
Benjamin had no doubt about the block-busting nature of the show in a city that already boasts one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian antiquities. “The first exhibition of these Egyptian treasures is one of the cultural highlights of 2018.
This exhibition will attract and enthrall St Louis inhabitants as well as their neighbours,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that he expected one million people to visit the exhibition during its six-month duration.
The museum has permitted only 200 visitors per hour in order to protect the monuments and provide people with a positive experience. “This week, for example, we succeeded in selling 1,000 tickets in only one day,” Benjamin said.
He described the exhibition as “very important for American audiences as it combines both archaeology and underwater aspects at one time. We grew up watching the TV specials of [French diver] Jacques Cousteau, and here they are combined together which makes the exhibition more compelling to Americans,” Benjamin told the Weekly.
Frank Goddio, head of the IEASM and leader of the underwater archaeological missions that recovered the artefacts, said the exhibition was an ideal opportunity to encourage people to visit Egypt and to explore its art and culture.
He told the Weekly that the aim of sending the exhibition to the United States was to open the new discoveries to the widest public and to encourage visitors from the United States.
He explained that the interior design of the exhibition was totally different from earlier outings in Paris and London. It had a different sonography focusing more on museological techniques and history than on a spectacular ambience, he said... READ MORE.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies, the British Museum said on Thursday.
A male mummy was found to have tattoos depicting a wild bull and a Barbary sheep on its upper arm, while a female has linear and S-shaped motifs on its upper arm and shoulder. The artworks appeared as dark smudges in natural light but researchers at the British Museum and Oxford University's Faculty of Oriental Studies found the tattoos in 2017 with infrared photography. "It's actually providing completely new insights into the use of tattooing," Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told Reuters.
"The location of these tattoos suggests they were designed to be highly visible on the upper arm and the shoulder," he said, adding that the discoveries push back by 1,000 years evidence for tattooing in Africa.
The mummies were unearthed 100 years ago in the Egyptian town of Gebelein, around 40 km (24 miles) south of modern-day Luxor. They date to 3351 to 3017 BC, which is the Predynatic period before Egypt was unified by the first Pharaoh. Researchers said the female tattoos may have denoted status, bravery or magical knowledge, while the male's were likely symbols of virility and strength.
Prior to the discovery, archaeologists believed tattooing in Egypt was only performed on women, as tattoos were only depicted on female figurines of the period. The oldest surviving tattoos are geometric designs on a mummified corpse known as Otzi, who lived around 5,300 years ago and was discovered preserved in the Italian Alps in 1991. The research, lead by Antoine and Oxford University's Renee Friedman, was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on March 1.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
A collection of Fatimid artefacts arrived safely in Canada for a temporary exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A collection of Fatimid artefacts from Cairo arrived in Toronto on Tuesday for inclusion in a temporary exhibition at the city's Aga Khan Museum.
The exhibition, titled The World of the Fatimids, will run from 10 March to 2 July, providing North America with its first display of carefully selected Fatimid artworks, according to the museum.
Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the museum has received eight wooden boxes containing a collection of 37 artefacts for the show.
The artefacts were carefully selected from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in the Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo. They reflect the history of the Fatimids, who "established one of the greatest civilisations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East," according to the Aga Khan Museum website.
Salah said that the ministry had taken all the necessary legal and administrative measures to ensure the safe transportation of the artefacts from Cairo to Canada, applying the latest techniques in packaging and transportation.
An archaeologist and a conservator from the ministry accompanied the artefacts to monitor them on their long journey and inspect them on arrival, said Salah.
Mamdouh Osman, general director of the MIA, said that the artefacts include a collection of clay pots, dishes with various foliage and animal decorations, and a wooden mihrab (niche) decorated with a two-line inscription in kufic script.
There are also a number of marble tombstones inscribed with kufic script reading: "This is the tomb of Hamzah ibn Ali and his descendant Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib," referring to the cousin of Prophet Mohamed.
Also among the artefacts are marble vases, copper lamps and chandeliers with kufic script, and other objects in rock crystal, ivory and ceramic.
The exhibition features films on Fatimid Cairo, using drone video footage and 360 virtual reality technology, offering an insight into what the city was like a thousand years ago.
The Aga Khan Museum says the exhibition, "bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built one of the world’s oldest universities, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences."
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Mariners’ Museum and Park has received the oldest artifact in the museum’s collection!
The 6½-inch tall figure displays classic Egyptian features with large, dark-outlined eyes, a cropped black haircut, and a white knee-length covering called a shendyt.
The boatman is depicted sitting, knees pulled into his body, with long, articulated arms capable of holding an oar.
As one of the oldest maritime cultures in the world, Egypt’s development was primarily centered on the Nile River. The first boats were built around 6,000 BC, and the Egyptians were the first culture in recorded history to employ sails as a method of propulsion.
The Egyptians also built larger wooden vessels for extended riverine travel as well as sturdy craft used for long-distance sea voyages.
By the First Dynasty (3399-2900 BC), Egyptian boats got a greater cultural significance, which led to the development of a third river craft called papyriform used for religious pilgrimages and as funerary barges, a museum spokesperson said.
“The acquisition of this delicate, ancient figure helps further the Museum’s mission of preserving the world’s maritime history,” says Jeanne Willoz-Egnor, the Museum’s Director of Collections Management and Curator of Scientific Instruments. “It enables Museum curators and educators to discuss one of the oldest and most important maritime cultures in the world using an original object.”
The object is currently going through the accessioning process. Currently, there are not any specific plans to display the object, but Museum staff hope to use it for several purposes including educational outreach and general research.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
The Returned Axe From Belgium
After the completion of archaeological and scientific studies, the Louvein University in Belgium handed over a 35,000 year-old axe to the Egyptian Embassy in Brussels. The axe will arrive in Egypt within days.
Shaaban Abdel Gawad, the supervisor-general of Antiquities Repatriation Department, said the axe is carved in stone and was discovered by the Louvain mission along with a human skeleton in Nazlet Khater archaeological site in Sohag in Upper Egypt.
The Luvein mission took both the skeleton and the axe to Belgium for studies. The skeleton returned to Egypt in August 2015. Abdel Gawad said that the axe is one of the oldest skeletons ever found in Egypt.
It goes back to the Old archaic era around 35,000 years ago. It also shows the development of human species that lived in Egypt throughout different eras.
Abdel Gawad suggested that the skeleton and the axe be put on show at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
Abdel Gawad suggested that the skeleton and the axe be put on show at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Cairo and Washington signed an MoU last month to impose tighter restrictions on the illicit importation of Egyptian antiquities. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Shaaban(left) Inspecting The Newly Arrived Sarcophagus' Lid
Minister of Antiquties Khaled El-Enany expressed his full appreciation for the efforts of the ministries of foreign affairs and the interior in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities and foreign authorities to repatriate the objects and protect Egypt's cultural and archaeological heritage.
Abdel-Gawad said that the objects recovered include a wizened mummified hand, a painted child's sarcophagus, a gilded mummy mask, the lid of a wooden sarcophagus decorated with religious scenes and a painted linen burial shroud.
In early December, Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States to impose tighter restrictions on the illicit importation of antiquities from Egypt.
According to the MoU, the US government must return to Egypt any material on a designated list of antiquities which are recovered and forwarded to Washington.
Abdel-Gawad said the US government will continue to provide technical assistance in cultural resource management and security to Egypt, as appropriate, under existing and new programmes.
Finally, Egypt should promote best practices in cultural resource management. It should encourage coordination among heritage, tourism and religious authorities, along with development agencies to enforce laws that protect heritage sites from encroachment, unlawful appropriation, looting, and damage.
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