Tuesday, August 28, 2018
New Discovery, Alexandria: Archaeological Inspection Unearths A Partial Ptolemaic Necropolis in Alexandria
An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered a Ptolemaic necropolis in Alexandria’s western cemetery while carrying out a preliminary archaeological inspection before erecting an iron gate around a workshop at the Gabal Al-Zaytoun railway station in Alexandria.
Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the ministry has allocated money for an excavation and to uncover the remaining part of the cemetery.
He added that the mission found a collection of rock-hewn tombs with stairs leading to a small hall that may had been used as a resting area for visitors, as well as another open court surrounded by burial recesses.
Aymen Ashmawi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, said that the mission also unearthed a collection of lamps decorated with animal scenes and a cistern for funerary rituals, along with a number of clay and glass pots. A collection of skeletons and human bones were also uncovered.
“Early studies show that this necropolis had been used across several historical periods and that it was dedicated to impoverished citizens,” Ashmawi explains. He added that some of the tombs featured coloured and decorated layers of plaster, while other parts were coloured less.
Regretfully the tombs are in very poor condition due to a lack of conservation during the British colonial period when the railways were constructed, as well as the deterioration suffered as a result of the military invasion in World War II.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The gymnasium was used during the Ptolemaic period for training young Greek-speaking men in sports, literacy and philosophy. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A part of the gymnasium
Watfa is the location of the ancient village Philoteris, founded by king Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BCE and named after his second sister Philotera. Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the gymnasium included a large meeting hall, once adorned with statues, a dining hall and a courtyard in the main building.
There is also a racetrack of nearly 200 metres in length, long enough for the typical stadium-length races of 180 metres. Generous gardens surrounded the building, completing the ideal layout for a centre of Greek learning.
A part of the gymnasium
All big cities of the Hellenistic world, like Athens in Greece, Pergamon and Miletus in Asia Minor, and Pompei in Italy, had such gymnasia. “The gymnasia in the Egyptian countryside were built after their pattern. Although much smaller, the gymnasium of Watfa clearly shows the impact of Greek life in Egypt, not only in Alexandria, but also in the countryside," Römer said.
Alexander the Great, she pointed out, had made Egypt part of the Hellenistic world, and thousands of Greek-speaking settlers flocked to the land by the Nile, attracted by the new Ptolemaic empire, which promised prosperity and peace.
In the Delta and Fayoum in particular, new villages were founded, in which the indigenous population lived together with the Greek newcomers. Such villages were equipped not only with Egyptian temples, but also with Greek sanctuaries.
There were also public baths, an institution very popular in the Greek world. The baths soon became places of social encounter in the villages and meeting points for the Egyptian and Greek-speaking inhabitants.
Gymnasia as places of Greek culture and lifestyle were part of this Hellenistic cultural setting. Inscriptions and papyri had already witnessed the existence of gymnasia in the countryside of the Ptolemaic period. They tell of payments for parts of the main buildings being made by rich inhabitants of the villages, and of the men who governed the institutions.
At Watfa, the first building of this kind in Egypt has now been discovered. Watfa, ancient Philoteris, was one of the many villages founded under the first Ptolemies in the middle of the 3rd century BC. In the beginning, it had around 1,200 inhabitants, two thirds of them Egyptians, and one third Greek-speaking settlers.
The German Archaeological Institute has been conducting surveys and excavations at Watfa since 2010. One important aspect of the project‘s work is teaching Egyptian students, in cooperation with a teaching program at Ain Shams University, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Friday, October 27, 2017
The crown pillar, first discovered in 2009, will undergo restoration before exhibition. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
The Tlifting of The Crown
According to Tawfik, the crown is headed to the museum's laboratory for restoration and maintenance procedures before being placed on display within the GEM exhibition.
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, explained that the crown pillar was uncovered while ministry representatives monitored the digging for the Samanoud City public hospital in 2009.
The piece was subsequently kept in situ until this week, when the hospital embarked upon the construction of an building extension. The ministry thus decided to relocate the crown to the GEM. Ashmawy told Ahram Online that the crown is probably the top of a pillar from the Ptolemaic gate in Samanoud. The surviving pillar and crown together are 9 meters tall. The crown alone weighs 10 tonnes.
According to Eissa Zida, Director-General of the GEM's first-aid restoration department, a plan was devised in consultation with other experts to remove the crown from the pillar. The decision, intended to ensure the artifact's secure transportation, was made in accordance with the Samanoud antiquities authority, the Ministry of Antiquities' engineering department, and the restoration department at the GEM.
Zida asserted that the team implemented the latest technological and scientific techniques while the lifting, packing, and transporting the crown. King Ptolemy I was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great who ruled Egypt starting in 323 BC, assuming the local title of pharaoh.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
New Discovery, Minya: Three Ptolemaic Tombs Uncovered in Egypt's Minya, Contents Suggest A "Large Cemetery"
Three new discoveries in El-Kamin El-Sahrawi point to a large cemetery spanning the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
One Of The Newly Discovered Sarcophagi
(Photo: Nevine El-Aref)
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities working in the lesser-known area to the south-east of the town of Samalout. The tombs contain a number of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as a collection of clay fragments, according to ministry officials.
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the ministry's Ancient Egyptian Sector, said that studies carried out on the clay fragments suggest the tombs are from the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. "This fact suggests that the area was a large cemetery over a long period of time," said Ashmawy. Ashmawy describes the discovery as "very important" because it reveals more secrets from the El-Kamil El-Sahrawi archaeological site.
During previous excavation work, the mission uncovered about 20 tombs built in the catacomb architectural style, which was widespread during the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era. Ali El-Bakry, head of the excavation mission,told Ahram Online that the three newly discovered tombs have a different architectural design from the previous ones.
|One of The Rely Discovered Burial Shafts|
The Child Sarcophagus
The second tomb consists of a perpendicular burial shaft and two burial chambers. The first chamber is located to the north and runs from east to west, with the remains of two sarcophagi, suggesting that it was for the burial of two people.
A collection of six burial holes was also found among them, one for a small child. "This was the first time to find a burial of a child at the El-Kamin El-Sahrawi site," El-Bakry said. He added that the second room is located at the end of the shaft and does not contain anything except of remains of a wooden coffin.
Excavation Works at the third tomb have not yet been finished. El-Bakry said examination of the bones shows them to be from men, women and children of different ages, supporting the notion that the tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city, and not for a military garrison as some suggest.
Excavation work started in 2015 when the mission unearthed a collection of five sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as the remains of a wooden sarcophagus. The second session began in October 2016, with five tombs were uncovered. Four of them have similar interior designs, while the fifth consists of a burial shaft. Work is under way to reveal more secrets at the site.
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