Showing posts with label Sakkara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sakkara. Show all posts

Sunday, January 17, 2021

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 Old Kingdom, announced Saturday important archaeological discoveries dating back to the old and New Kingdoms.

The mission is headed by Dr. Zahi Hawass, who works in cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities and Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

These discoveries will rewrite the history of this region, especially during the 18th and 19th dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which King Teti was worshiped, and the citizens at that time were buried around his pyramid.

Mostafa El-Feki, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandria, said that the Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology has been practicing its activities successfully since its establishment in 2018.

Today, El Feki expressed his happiness to participate in the ceremony announcing the archaeological discovery of the center, in Saqqara, which is a new breakthrough in the process of discovering Pharoahs antiquities in this region.

Hawass stressed that the mission had discovered the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, the mother of King Teti, part of which was already uncovered in the years prior.
 
The mission also found three mud-brick warehouses attached to the temple in the southeastern side – these stores were built to store temple provisions, offerings and tools that were used in the queen’s tomb.
Among the most important discoveries of the mission also at the site was the unveiling of 52 burial shafts, that reach to 10-12 meters deep, and inside these shafts hundreds of wooden coffins dating back to the New Kingdom were uncovered. This is the first time that coffins dating back 3,000 years have been found in the Saqqara region.
 
These coffins are wooden and anthropoid, and are many scenes of the gods that were worshiped during this period were represented on the surface of the coffins, in addition to various excerpts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased to pass through the journey of the other world.

 The mission also succeeded in discovering a cache of anthropoid wooden coffins. Inside this shaft, 50 coffins were found in good condition.

The mission found inside the wells large numbers of archaeological artifacts and large numbers of statues in the form of deities such as the god Osir and Ptah Sukur Uzir, in addition to a unique discovery, where the mission found a four-meter-length papyrus and one meter in width representing Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead, on which the name of its owner is recorded, which is (Bu-Khaa-Af).
 
The same name was found recorded on four orchid statues; a wooden coffin was also found on the human body of the same person, and many beautiful shabty statues made of wood, stone and vines were found. It dates back to the era of the New Kingdom.

The discoveries found in the shaft are considered one of the most important findings uncovered in the Saqqara region. The mission also found many wooden funerary masks as well as a shrine dedicated to god Anubis (Guardian of the Cemetery) and beautiful statues of Anubis, as well as many games that the deceased used to play in the other world, such as the game (Senet), which is similar to the modern chess, as well as the (Twenty) game with the name of the player recorded.

Many artifacts were found that represent birds such as geese, as well as a magnificent bronze ax, indicating that its owner was one of the army leaders during the New Kingdom. The upper part of the stelae represents the deceased and his wife in an adoration gesture in front of god Osiris, while the lower part represents the deceased sitting and behind him his wife seated on a chair. Below the chair of the wife there is one of their daughters sitting on her legs and smelling the lotus flower, and above her head is the ointment flask.

In front of the man and his wife we see six of their daughters and sons, who were depicted in two registers, the upper one for seated daughters smelling the lotus flowers and above their heads are the ointment flasks, and the lower one for standing sons.

The mission also found impressive quantities of pottery dating back to the New Kingdom, including pottery that gives us evidence about the commercial relations between Egypt and Crete, Syria, Palestine. This discovery confirmed the existence of many workshops that produced these coffins, which were bought by the locals, as well as mummification workshops.
 
The mission studied the mummy of a woman and determined that this woman suffered from a chronic disease known as “Mediterranean fever” or “swine fever”, a disease that comes from direct contact with animals and leads to an abscess in the liver.
 
Dr. Sahar Selim, a professor of radiology at Qasr al-Aini, conducted studies on mummies using X-ray, and determined the causes of death and the age of the deceased on death, as well as studying a mummy for a young child.
 
Hawass confirmed that this discovery is considered the most important archaeological discovery during the current year and will make Saqqara, along with other discoveries, an important tourist and cultural destination. 
 
It will also rewrite the history of Saqqara during the New Kingdom, in addition to confirming the importance of the worship of King Teti during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom.3

 Source:see-news

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Discovery , Sakkara "2": Secrets of mummy's portrait exposed under microscope after 1,800 years.

ANALYSIS of an ancient speck of paint has exposed the secrets of a portrait buried alongside an Egyptian mummy more than 1,800 years ago.

The striking painting, known as The Portrait of a Bearded Man, hails from the second century AD when Egypt was under Roman control.

Consequently, the painting does not resemble Egypt's two-dimensional murals that adorned the walls of its numerous temples and tombs. Instead, it is a very life-like depiction of the person it was buried alongside nearly 2,000 years ago. 

The portrait was discovered in Faiyum, some 62 miles southwest of Cairo. Experts have dated it to between 170 and 180 AD, and the painting one of about 1,100 similar works of art from the Roman period of Egypt's history. The portraits were painted onto wooden boards and wrapped up into the linens used to hold their mummified owners together.

Archaeologists believe these depictions not only represent a likeness of their owner but also hold clues about their status in life - one they held or aspired to hold before death. And according to a team of researchers who analysed microscopic amounts of purple pigment from the portrait, status played a big role in how these portraits were assembled.

Darryl Butt, a material scientist at the University of Utah, US, who co-authored a study of the portrait, said: "We're very interested in understanding the meaning and origin of the portraits, and finding ways to connect them and come up with a cultural understanding of why they were even painted in the first place." A small part of the Faiyum portrait shows purple marks on the man's Roman toga or robe - a symbol of status known as the clavi.

Glenn Gates of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where the portrait is housed, said: "Since the purple pigment occurred in the clavi - the purple mark on the toga that in Ancient Roman indicated senatorial or equestrian rank - it was thought that perhaps we were seeing an augmentation of the sitter's importance in the afterlife."
But according to Dr Butt, the purple pigment has only raised more questions about the Egyptian mummy.

In some cultures, the colour purple is viewed as a symbol of death, while others consider it a symbol of life. Purple was also often associated with royalty in ancient times and is still thought of such today. Queen Elizabeth I, for instance, forbade everyone but royalty from wearing the colourAnd purple is believed to have been particularly revered in the Byzantine Empire as a symbol of power.

Dr Butt said: "So the presence of purple on this particular portrait made us wonder what it was made of and what it meant. The colour purple stimulates many questions."

To better unlock the secrets hidden within the portrait's pigments, Dr Gates sents a microscopic particle to Dr Butt and his team to analyse. The speck of paint was about the same width as a human hair - 50 microns across.

Dr Butt said: "The process of analysing something like this is a bit like doing surgery on a flea." However, the expert and his colleagues were able to determine the purple pigment was synthetic in nature, and not naturally from the glands of the Murex sea snails as most purple dyes were at the time.

Instead, the researchers have suggested the purple was an accident - possibly made by mixing together red and blue indigo dyes together. The dye was then likely mixed with clay or a silica material into a pigment that was bound with beeswax. Pigments made this way are known as lake pigments.

Dr Gates said: "Lake pigments were thought to be without crystallinity prior to this work.
Source:express

New Discovery, Sakkara "4": ‘Death has become a big business.’ Elaborate coffins illuminate hidden history of ancient Egypt.

Last week, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced a spectacular find. More than 100 elaborately decorated wooden coffins, many containing intact human mummies, were unearthed at the Saqqara necropolis, a burial complex covering 160 square kilometers and located 20 kilometers south of Cairo. 
The most recent finds date back roughly 2500 years, to a time archaeologists call Egypt’s late period.
Unlike earlier eras in Egyptian history, when prominent people were laid to rest individually in multichambered tombs or inside massive, eye-catching pyramids, Egyptian archaeologists found these coffins stacked two and three deep at the bottom of deep underground shafts.
The artifacts illuminate a lesser known era in Egypt’s history: one separated from the reigns of more familiar pharaohs like Tutankhamun and Ramesses II by more than 700 years of turmoil, civil war, and decline.
Science spoke to University of Tübingen archaeologist Ramadan Hussein, who has excavated extensively at Saqqara but was not part of the latest dig, about what the new finds reveal about the ancient Egyptians. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: Why are there so many coffins at this site?

A: By 650 B.C., Egypt was starting to get back on its feet and become a power in the Mediterranean again. At some point the center of power moves back to Memphis, on the other side of the Nile and also about 20 kilometers south of Cairo. Saqqara once more becomes the main cemetery for a thriving, wealthy city full of temples. All those priests and government officials were high-income individuals; that explains why we have so many beautiful coffins from the late period. The richness of the city at the time is reflected in the richness of the burials.

Meanwhile, there’s an intellectual movement to look back at Egyptian history and revive its traditions. They even call it a renaissance at the time: They’re reviving art, literary traditions, and religious practices from 1000 years earlier. That shows up in the decorations and burial practices. You can see a nostalgia for what was good in Egyptian history in the cemeteries at Saqqara, like inscriptions on the coffins replicating religious texts from the walls of nearby pyramids.

Q: Yet Egypt has changed. What do the burials tell you about what was going on at the time?

A: In the late period, Egypt has started becoming an international power again, and as a result it’s becoming a real mosaic of ethnicities: There are Phoenicians and Greeks and Libyans, and you can see their influence in the grave goods, from a gilded silver mask made from imported metal we discovered in 2018 to pottery and precious oils. Trade connections with Greece are intensifying. Many of the coffins at Saqqara are made from expensive wood brought in from southern Europe and elsewhere around the Mediterranean.

Q: But there are no new pyramids.

A: No, but death has become a big business. Discoveries like this are important for what they tell us about how you administer a cemetery and run the business of death. Priests and undertakers at Saqqara are selling everything from mummification services to burial plots. The ideology of death had shifted. People weren’t focused on the size of their tomb, they were happy to be buried in a sacred precinct and a nice coffin.

For example, a lot of these coffins come from shafts cut into older buildings: Apparently the best way to sell new cemetery plots was to put them close to places considered ancient and therefore sacred. Undertakers would just stack as many coffins as they could in tunnels at the bottom of each shaft—they promised customers it would be in a sacred space, not that it would be private.

Q: Is there more to come?

A: Will we see another find like this? Definitely. There are more of these shafts we haven’t found yet. But analyzing the texts and scenes on the Saqqara coffins alone is going to give us work for the next 50 years.

Source:sciencemag

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

New Discovery, Saqqara "3": Mummy count continues to grow at ancient Egypt burial site.

The number of mummy-filled coffins found in a series of burial shafts at Saqqara in Egypt keeps growing, archaeologists with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reported.

At the start of September, the team had found 13 coffins with mummies inside. By the beginning of October, that number had risen to 59, and now the number is over 100, archaeologists reported in a statement issued Saturday (Nov. 14).

People are "asking how many coffins did we find. The answer is I don't know yet," said Mustafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in a video released by the ministry and the Smithsonian Channel, which is filming the excavations.

Inside the burial shafts, the team also found 40 statues depicting the deity "Ptah-Soker," the ministry said. This deity is an amalgamation of "Ptah," who was the god of Memphis, and "Soker," who was the god of Saqqara. Archaeologists also found 20 wooden boxes showing depictions of Horus — an Egyptian sky god with a falcon head. Additionally, two wooden statues are inscribed with the name "Phnomus," though the researchers are still trying to figure out who that person was in antiquity.

Numerous shabti figurines were also found. Ancient Egyptians believed that shabtis acted as servants for the deceased in the afterlife.

The various finds date back between roughly 712 B.C. and 30 B.C., according to the ministry statement. During this time period, ancient Egypt was occupied and controlled by foreign groups such as the Assyrians, Persians and Greeks. 

At times, Egypt would regain its independence only to lose it to another foreign power. Excavations continue at the site, and the archaeologists expect to find more coffins filled with mummies and other artifacts, said Khaled El-Enany, Egypt's antiquities minister.

The Smithsonian Channel is filming a documentary called "Tomb Hunters" and released a statement claiming that some of the artifacts date back 4,500 years — to around the time when the Giza Pyramids were being built. The antiquities ministry statement has not confirmed this claim.

Source:livescience

Monday, November 16, 2020

New Discovery, Sakkara "2":Egypt unveils 2,500-year-old ancient coffins, statues found in Saqqara.

Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.
Colourful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
Archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth inside. They also carried out X‐raying visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.
Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told a news conference that the discovered items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years – from around 320 B.C. to about 30 B.C, and the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).

He said they would move the artefacts to at least three Cairo museums including the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids. He said they would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year.
The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the famed Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1970s.
Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in hopes of spurring a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Source:stuff

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Discovery, Sakkara "1": Egypt announces the biggest archaeological discovery in 2020 at Saqqara Necropolis.

A collection of 100 intact 26th Dynasty coffins were unearthed in Egypt's Saqqara Necropolis, in addition to golden funerary masks and a collection of 40 wooden statues of Saqqara goddess Ptah Soker, some of which are gilded.

Excavations conducted by the Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara Necropolis resulted in the discovery of three 12- metre deep shafts, closed for more than 2,500 years, containing 100 intact, sealed and painted anthropoid coffins.

During the announcement, a CT- scan was conducted on a mummy in one of the coffins. It was revealed that the deceased died in his 40s, was 175 cm tall, healthy, and did not suffer any fatal diseases.

Bassem Gehad, who conducted the scan, said the deceased was perfectly mummified with his arms crossed on his chest, in a position known in ancient Egypt as the Osiris shape.

“It is a great discovery in 2020, but it is not the last one,” said khaled El-Enany, the minister of tourism and antiquities.

"We have discovered only one per cent of the antiquities buried in the Saqqara Necropolis," he added, pointing out that many other discoveries will follow.

El-Enany stated a discovery made by renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass will be announced soon in Saqqara. 

He explained the coffins will distributed among the Cairo Museum in Tahrir, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and the National Museum of Egyptian civilization.

The Egyptian archaeological mission made throughout the past years a number of important discoveries in Saqqara, the last of which was in October when the mission unearthed 59 painted coffins with mummies in a good condition of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty. 

A short film released by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to coincide with the discovery described the Saqqara Necropolis as a “sacred place where the rich and powerful wanted to be buried."

The video showed many statues of animals, figurines, as well as intact and sealed coffins.

“That is what we were expecting; the coffins were well-sealed, no chemical reaction, no air inside, nothing, that is why it is all in perfect condition of preservation,” the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziry, explained in the film.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

New Discovery Saqqara "2': Ancient Egyptian coffins unearthed 400 years ago ‘virtually’ opened to reveal ‘bodies buried with organs’ and gold coins.

Scientists were able to peer inside the ancient coffins without opening them thanks to a few CT scans.
Two of the coffins were found 400 years ago in a rock cut tomb at the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt.
Only three of these coffins are known to still exist and the third one was also found at Saqqara at a later date.
They're known as 'stucco-shrouded portrait mummies' because the outside of the coffin supposedly depicts what the people inside looked like when they were alive.
One contains a male and the other two contain females, one of which is a teenager girl.
These mummies were unusual because they were placed on wooden boards, wrapped in decorative shrouds and then covered in plaster on which a whole-body portrait and gold was added.
CT scans showed that the teenage girl mummy was definitely buried with all of her organs inside.
That includes the brain, which was often removed during standard mummification.
Researchers think all of the mummies may have been left with their organs inside, which then decayed.
Both women were buried wearing multiple necklaces and all of the coffins contained artefacts that Egyptians may have thought were useful in the afterlife.
These include coins that might have been intended for paying Charon, a god believed to carry souls across the river.
All the mummies date to the late Roman period in Egypt, which was around 30 BCE to CE 395.
It's thought they were all fairly wealthy when they were alive.
The two famous mummies found together in Saqqara were X-rayed before in the 1980s but the CT scans revealed much more.
For example, we now know the woman died in her 30s and was around 4'11".
She is also thought to have suffered with arthritis.
The teenage girl died between the ages of 17 and 19 and had a benign tumour in her spine.
The male was around 5'4" inches, died around the age of 25 and had some quite bad dental issues.
The teenage mummy is on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt.
The other two can be found at an exhibition in Dresden in Germany.
This research has been published in the journal PLOS One
Source:thesun

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New Discovery, Saqqara "1": Archaeologists finally peer inside Egyptian mummies first found in 1615.

Two ancient mummies discovered in a rock-cut tomb in Egypt more than 400 years ago are finally spilling their secrets, now that scientists have CT scanned their remains, a new study finds.
Both mummies, as well as a third on display in Egypt, represent the only known surviving "stucco-shrouded portrait mummies," from Saqqara, an ancient Egyptian necropolis. Unlike other mummies, who were buried in coffins, these individuals were placed on wooden boards, wrapped in a textile and a "beautiful mummy shroud," and decorated with 3D plaster, gold and a whole-body portrait, said study lead researcher Stephanie Zesch, a physical anthropologist and Egyptologist at the German Mummy Project at Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
Now, CT (computed tomography) scans reveal that at least one of these three stucco-shrouded portrait mummies was buried with organs (even the brain) and that the two females were interred with beautiful necklaces, the researchers found
.

The CT scans also showed that after the deaths of these individuals — a man, woman and teenage girl dating to the late Roman period (30 B.C. to A.D. 395) — their mummies were interred with artifacts likely thought useful in the afterlife, including coins that were possibly meant to pay Charon, the Roman and Greek deity thought to carry souls across the River Styx.
The CT scans also revealed several medical problems, including arthritis in the woman. "The examination of the individuals yielded that they died at rather young ages … however, the cause of death of the individuals could not be determined," Zesch told Live Science.
Long journey
Two of these mummies have traveled far and wide. In 1615, Pietro Della Valle (1586−1652), an Italian composer, took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and ended up traveling through Egypt. He learned about two stucco-shrouded portrait mummies — a man and woman — discovered by locals in Saqqara. Della Valle acquired these mummies and brought them to Rome, making them the "earliest examples of portrait mummies to have become known in Europe," the researchers wrote in the study.
After passing through several owners, and a little worse for wear, the mummies ended up in the Dresden State Art Collections in Germany, where they were X-rayed in the late 1980s. However, the CT scan revealed much more about their insides.

For instance, the CT scan revealed that the male died between the ages of 25 and 30. He stood about 5'4" inches (164 centimeters) tall, and had two unerupted permanent teeth and several cavities. Some of his bones were broken and jumbled, probably because someone unwrapped him shortly after the mummy's discovery, the researchers wrote in the study. 

While the man's brain was not   preserved, there's no evidence it  was removed through his nose. Nor were many embalming substances used.
Instead, he was wrapped up and painted. Two metal objects found during the CT scan are likely seals from the mummification workshop that handled his remains, Zesch said.
The woman's brain wasn't preserved either, but the teenager's was — it had shrunk, but the cerebrum and brainstem were still identifiable — and the teenager's other internal organs were also present. 
"We are quite sure there was no removing the brain or the internal organs" from these mummies, Zesch said.
"It's very probable that those mummies were only preserved because of a kind of dehydration with the use of [the desiccation mixture] natron, but there is not a huge amount of embalming liquids."

The woman, who died between the ages of 30 and 40, stood about 4'11" (151 cm) tall.
She had advanced arthritis in her left knee. The teenager, who wore a hairpin, according to the CT scan, died between the ages of 17 and 19, and stood about 5'1" (156 cm) tall. She had a benign tumor in her spine known as a vertebral hemangioma, which is more common in people over 40, the researchers said. 
Both women were buried with multiple necklaces. It's exciting to see these necklaces, but it's not unexpected, Zesch said.
"Because of these very precious shrouds, we are sure that those individuals have to be members of the higher socioeconomic class," meaning that they could have easily afforded jewelry, Zesch said. 
Zesch noted that she studied the three mummies with a multidisciplinary team from the German Mummy Project, the Dresden State Art Collections, the Institute for Mummy Studies at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy and the American-Egyptian Horus Study Group.
Their work informed a now-live interactive exhibit of the male and female mummy in Dresden.
The teenager's mummy is on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Discovery , Saqqara "4": Egypt to announce biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 soon.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will announce the biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 at a press conference in the Saqqara necropolis in the next few days.
The Egyptian archaeological mission announced that, in the past few years, a number of important archaeological discoveries in Saqqara have been made. 
The last of these was the discovery of 59 well-preserved, painted coffins of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty, with mummies still inside.
The discovery was announced at an international press conference early last October.
The excavations of the Egyptian archaeological mission, which is working in the Saqqara necropolis, discovered new shafts filled with a huge number of intact, painted and anthropoid coffins buried inside.
Such is the size of the new discovery, that it exceeds even the huge number of coffins that were discovered and announced in early October. The shafts, which have been closed for over 2,500 years, include a number of gilded artefacts, including wooden statues and coloured and gilded masks
.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

New Discovery, Sakkara "3": Egyptian dig crew steals the show in ‘Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb’

A lone workman picks through soft rubble, lit by a ray of light from above as he delicately sifts through the sand and debris.
His mattock clinks on something and he calls to his colleague, who joins him in the pit, brushing away the sand to reveal a small statue. It’s an astonishing discovery.
Except that you have to wonder how contrived the setup is, given that the camera crew is already down in the pit with the two men, zooming in on their expressions of wonderment as the dust, which has remained undisturbed for centuries, lifts into the air.
There are a lot of moments like this in Netflix’s “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb” documentary, as a small team of Egyptian archaeologists uncover a tomb that has been untouched for 4,400 years, leading to a glut of further discoveries and some staggering breakthroughs with regards to ancient Egyptian culture.

And while some of these moments – as well as a slightly forced narrative about
the team racing against the end of the season – appear cultivated to sprinkle extra drama on this remarkable film, they are easily forgotten when the filmmakers, led by director James Tovell, focus on the team, and their connection to Egypt’s ancient history.
Despite being blessed with no shortage of incredible moments of discovery, “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb” is at its most remarkably moving when the local workforce and experts are given the opportunity to explain just how and why this history resonates so intently. 
Whether it’s digger Ghareeb sharing a rest break with his son, Dr. Amira Shaheen being moved to tears as she tries to empathize with long-dead Egyptians, or foreman Mustafa finding kinship with his ancestors in their use of the same tools, it is these human interactions, and the palpable excitement of the exhausted workers as treasure after treasure is pulled from the sand, that linger longest in the memory. 
And those special examples of human connection that make it easy to forgive the more contrived moments.


Source:arabnews

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

New Discovery, Sakkara"2": " 'Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb’ review: Uncovering the secrets of ancient Egypt.

It’s windy, scorching hot and in the middle of the stretches of sand — is Saqqara, the ancient burial ground in Egypt. Wooden coffins with perfectly preserved mummies, bronze statues, caskets have all been excavated from the site over the years.
The area also has several pyramids, including the famous step pyramid of Djoser. In 2018, less than a kilometer away from this pyramid, archeologists discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb.
In Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb, we embark on this journey of excavation with a team of Egyptian archaeologists, anthropologists, doctors, Egyptologists, and an extremely hardworking bunch of diggers. They help uncover some of Egypt’s secrets which turn out to be one of the most significant archaeological finds of the century.
The main focus of the film is on deciphering the tomb: Who owned it? Who was buried in it, and why did the person need such a grand design? The ancient Egyptians wanted to have a fabulous afterlife, and believed that a spectacular tomb helped them go from a “secular creature to a sacred being”.
The tomb was usually decorated with scenes from an ideal life that they wished to enjoy for eternity.
Reading the Hieroglyphs on the walls, they note that it belonged to a priest called Wahtye. 
The priest in that period was considered as the middleman between the king and the people, and between the king and his God. What follows is a detailed excavation of the shafts, surrounding areas searching for clues about Wahtye, his family and trying to understand how they died.

A doctor studying the bones of the Wahtye and his family noted that they could have died of malaria. If this can be proven right, it will be the first documented case of malaria in history.
More interesting and exciting than finding a mummified human is stumbling upon a mummified animal. 
When Saqqara yielded a mummified animal — larger than a cat, smaller than a lynx — the researchers set to work. The results of the scans and studying the fur gave another shock to the team - it was a mummified lion cub, which was confirmed to be the first of its kind in history. This find could help tell more stories about the period’s religion, culture, and economy.
It’s not just a documentary about ancient Egypt and its history, as the viewers are up close with the tiring digging, moments of anticipation, and experiencing the sheer joy the findings bring. The short explainers by the team and accompanying illustrations help lay out the information the excavations have unearthed.
“We are the people who can best give voice to our ancestors… because they are our ancestors, we are one step closer to them than the foreigner,” an archaeologist says.
The people of the land telling their story, their history and their culture make Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb strike all the right chords.
It is a heart-warming story of life from the world of the dead.
Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb is currently streaming on Netflix.


 Source:thehindu

News: In Egypt the mummies return. But will tourists in a pandemic?

Saqqara, a dusty necropolis south of Cairo, has become instrumental in Egypt's fightback against a tourist slump.
It's been an extraordinary year for archaeological discoveries at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, where separate finds have unearthed scores of sarcophagi and a host of artifacts, including an obelisk and a unique, bejeweled statue of the god Nefertum.
This, following the reopening of the 4,700-year-old Djoser's Step Pyramid in March after a 14-year, $6.6 million restoration.
In early October, 59 sarcophagi, around 2,500 years old, were uncovered. Wonderfully preserved with their original colors and hieroglyphs, their unveiling was an opportunity to reach a prized audience: tourists. Alongside press, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities invited dozens of foreign ambassadors, who subsequently shared images and details across social media.
"The discovery entered into the hearts of everyone all over the world," former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass tells CNN.
"I think the ambassadors really sent a message to their countries about the pleasures of Egypt, because we need tourists to come back."
Tourism in Egypt had been growing in recent years, according to Kevin Graham, Egypt editorial manager at research and advisory company Oxford Business Group (OBG). "At the beginning of 2020 there was the expectation that this growth trend would continue," he tells CNN.

Then the pandemic happened. International flights were suspended in March along with the closing of archaeological sites and museums. Commercial flights didn't resume until July.
OBG calculates tourism contributed over 9% of Egypt's GDP in 2019, and while domestic tourism has continued to an extent, Graham adds, international tourism plummeted.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its forecast for tourism expenditure in Egypt this fiscal year from $17.8 billion to $2.7 billion.
Egypt has had more than 107,000 confirmed cases and more than 6,200 deaths from Covid-19 at the time of writing, and more than 1,00 cases in the past week, per John Hopkins University. 
New deaths and cases peaked in June.
While the pandemic rumbles on, the tourism sector is regrouping.
In July, a smattering of attractions reopened including the Great Pyramids of Giza, along with hotels issued with government safety certificates indicating they met World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. 
In September, more archaeological sites reopened, and the Egyptian government announced further measures to support the sector, including extending visa fee exemptions for tourist hotspots Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea and South Sinai until April 2021, and delaying repayments on utility bills and debts for tourism-related companies.

Amr Karim, general manager for Travco Travel, one of Egypt's largest travel operators, says after a "drastic decline," the past three months have seen a "gradual increase in beach holidays," with bookings coming from across Europe.
Visitors to Egypt are currently required to present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours prior to their flight departure, although arrivals at some airports on the coast are allowed to take a $30 PCR test then quarantine until they receive their results.
Travco is implementing WHO regulations and is disinfecting hotel rooms, public spaces and vehicles, while staff are using face masks, sanitizing tools and social distancing. Karim notes the proportion of elderly travelers is down while there's been a rise in travelers under 50, and that tourists are, by and large, sticking to their hotels.
He anticipates a "boom" in tourism to ancient sites by the third quarter of 2021.
"The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has been exerting monumental efforts in the last few years to enhance and shed light on Egypt's archaeological treasures," Karim says, citing new archaeological sites, events including the parade of 22 royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum to their new home at National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, and the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

After years of groundwork, these efforts will culminate in the opening of the GEM in 2021. Cairo's vast new museum -- nearly half a million square meters and built at a cost of over $1 billion -- is nearing completion close to the site of the Pyramids of Giza. 
The treasures within will include an 83-ton, 20-meter (66 feet) granite statue of Ramses the Great and over 5,000 artifacts from King Tutankhamun's burial chamber -- the first time the blockbuster haul will be displayed in the same place.
"It is hard to make any predictions in the status quo," says Karim. "It all depends on the medical revelations and vaccines in progress to combat the Covid-19 pandemic ... We are hoping for the best."
Hawass remains bullish -- understandable, given he's been involved with the GEM for two decades -- and is optimistic 2021 will be better than 2020.
"I really think that Egypt is more safe than other countries," he says. "We need tourists back."

Source: edition

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