Saturday, November 26, 2016

Metropolis discovered in Abydos in the Upper Egypt's governorate of Sohag

A necropolis and residential settlement were uncovered in Abydos in Sohag, almost 400 km south of the temple of King Seti I

By Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 24 Nov 2016

A necropolis and residential settlement were uncovered Tuesday in Abydos in Sohag, almost 400 kilometres south of the temple of the New Kingdom pharaoh Seti I.
The settlement and Early Dynastic Period necropolis were found during excavation by an archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities.

Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the newly discovered site could belong to high officials or architects responsible for the construction of the tombs and funerary walls of the pharaohs of the First Dynasty.

Afifi described the discovery as “very important” because it reveals new information that could change archaeologist's understanding of the history of ancient Abydos.

Excavators also uncovered 15 large mudbrick tombs of varying architectural design. The surface area of each, Afifi said, could reach 70 metres -- larger than that of a First Dynasty royal tomb.

“This size reflects the position of the tombs’ owners -- their importance and social level within the community of that period,” Afifi told Ahram Online.

He added that a group of mudbrick huts were also discovered within the settlement as well as a collection of artefacts from daily life, including the remains of a large number of clay vessels and stone tools used in land cultivation, which suggests that the huts could have belonged to workers supplying the settlement with provisions.

Yasser Mahmoud, the mission's field director, said that the uncovered tombs have a unique architectural design and one or more mastaba -- distinguished by flat roofs and sloping sides -- known only for pharaohs from the First and Third Dynasties at the Saqqara Necropolis. “This new discovery shows that the mastaba tombs were first used in Abydos for pharaohs from the First Dynasty,” Mahmoud said.

Source: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/250686/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Metropolis-discovered-in-Abydos-in-the-Upper-Egypt.aspx

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Egyptian giant crocodile mummy is full of surprises

Courtesy Interspectral and  Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
A three-metre-long mummified Egyptian 'giant crocodile', one of the finest animal mummies in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden), turns out to be literally filled with surprises. Examination of detailed new 3D CT scans has led to the conclusion that, besides the two crocodiles previously spotted inside the wrappings, the mummy also contains dozens of individually wrapped baby crocodiles. This is an exceptional discovery: there are only a few known crocodile mummies of this kind anywhere in the world. Starting on 18 November, museum visitors can perform a virtual autopsy on the 3,000-year-old mummy, using an interactive visualisation exhibit in the new Egyptian galleries.

Virtual autopsy in museum galleries

A new scan of the large crocodile mummy was recently performed at the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam. An earlier CT scan in 1996 had shown that there are two juvenile crocodiles inside a mummy that looks like one large crocodile. The Swedish company Interspectral, which specializes in high-tech interactive 3D visualizations, has converted the results of the new scan into a spectacular 3D application and thus detected the dozens of baby crocodiles. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3,000-Year-Old Mummy Found in Egyptian Tomb

The well-preserved mummy is believed to be the body of a man named Amenrenef, a servant to a royal household.

Spanish archaeologists have unearthed an ancient Egyptian mummy in "very good condition" near Luxor, Egypt's antiquities ministry has announced.
Photo courtesy of Ahram Online

Resting inside a brightly colored wooden sarcophagus, the mummy had been bound with linen stuck together with plaster.

"The tomb was uncovered at the southern enclosure wall of the Temple of Millions of Years," Mahmoud Afifi, head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities department of the ministry, said in a statement.

The temple was built on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor by Pharaoh Thutmosis III (1490-1436 BC), one of Egypt's greatest warrior kings. Also known as the "Napoleon of Egypt," he was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt as it boasted pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.

The mummy is believed to be the body of a man named Amenrenef, who held the title of "Servant of the King's House." Amenrenef, however, did not live under Thutmosis III. His tomb likely dates from the Third Intermediate period around 1,000 BC, probably to the 21st Dynasty.

"When the temple was already not functioning, the area was used as a necropolis," Egyptologist Myriam Seco Álvarez, head of the Spanish archaeological team, told Seeker.

"Until now we knew about the necropolis under the temple dated to the Middle Kingdom, but we didn't know about the Late Period tombs and this one of the Third Intermediate Period," she added.

The 3,000-year-old mummy case features "many colorful decorations recalling religious symbols of ancient Egypt," the Egyptologist said.

Álvarez, who has been working at the Temple of Millions of Years since 2008, noted that the inscriptions and decorations include solar symbols, the protective goddesses Isis and Nephthys spreading their wings, the four sons of god Horus, and many other finely painted scenes.

"The mission will now study the tomb and its contents to find out more about its owner," Afifi said.

Source: http://www.seeker.com/3000-year-old-mummy-found-in-egyptian-tomb-2093293939.html

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Causeway discovered in ancient Aswan tomb

The causeway leads to the tomb of the first Middle Kingdom provincial governor of Elephantine Island

By Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 8 Nov 2016

During excavation work at Aswan's Qubbet El-Hawa necropolis, a British mission from Birmingham University and the Egypt Exploration Society uncovered a causeway leading to the tomb of Sarenput I, the first Middle Kingdom nomarch (provincial governor) of Aswan's Elephantine Island.

Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the newly discovered causeway is considered the longest ever found on the western bank of the Nile in Aswan, stretching for 133 metres to connect the tomb of Sarenput I to the Nile bank.

Afifi explains that the causeway is decorated with engravings, the most important of which are found on the eastern part of the ramp's northern wall and depict a group of men pulling a bull and presenting it as an offering to Sarenput I after his death.

Hani Abul Azm, head of the central administration of Upper Egypt, told Ahram Online that the mission has also unearthed a collection of clay containers from a pit within the causeway, which archaeologists believe are canopic jars used in mummification.

Abul Azm said the containers will be studied, along with the organic materials found inside, in an attempt to better understand the mummification process.

The mission's field director Martin Yumath says he is very enthusiastic about the discovery, describing it as "a wonderful success that could change the original features of Qubbet El-Hawa area."

Friday, November 4, 2016

3,800-Year-Old 'Tableau' of Egyptian Boats Discovered

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | October 31, 2016

More than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats have been discovered adorning the inside of a building in Abydos, Egypt. The building dates back more than 3,800 years and was built near the tomb of pharaoh Senwosret III, archaeologists reported.

The tableau, as the series of images is called, would have looked upon a real wooden boat said Josef Wegner, a curator at the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the excavation. Only a few planks remain of the wooden boat, which would have been constructed at Abydos or dragged across the desert, Wegner said. In ancient Egypt, boats were sometimes buried near a pharaoh's tomb.

Etchings and a boat

Archaeologists found that the tableau was incised on the white plaster walls of the building.

The largest images are nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length and show "large, well-rendered boats depicted with masts, sails, rigging, deckhouses/cabins, rudders, oars and in some cases rowers," wrote Wegner in an article published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. Some images are small and simple, the smallest reaching only about 4 inches (10 centimeters) in length, wrote Wegner.

Though 120 boat images survive today, there would have been more incised on the building walls in ancient times, Wegner wrote. In addition to the boats, the tableau contains incised images of gazelle, cattle and flowers, he noted.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Two Late Period tombs discovered in Aswan

Two Late Period tombs have been uncovered near the Aga Khan mausoleum in Aswan

By Nevine El-Aref , Friday 21 Oct 2016


Two rock-hewn tombs from the Late Period (664 BC to 332 BC) have been revealed near the Aga Khan mausoleum on Aswan's west bank during excavation works carried out by the mission of Aswan Field School.

Photo courtesy of Aswan Field School.
Nasr Salama, the director-general of monuments in Aswan and Nubia at the antiquities ministry, explains that the architecture of both tombs is very simple and each consists of a rectangular front hall with stairs leading to the burial shaft where remains of a sarcophagus and mummy are located.

According to Salama, the tombs are in a very bad conservation condition with plain walls without any decorations, paintings or funerary collection.

The owners of the tombs have not yet been identified but more studies and excavation inside the tombs should yield further information, he added.

Adel Tohamy, the head of the Aswan Field School said that the school aims to train junior archaeologists and restorers to use state-of-the-art techniques in excavations, restoration and documentation of monuments, as well as in archaeological surveying.

Source: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/246263/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Two-Late-Period-tombs-discovered-in-Aswan.aspx

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beni Sweif tombs to open

Two tombs and the remains of a Ptolemaic temple will soon be open to visitors near the Upper Egyptian town of Beni Sweif, reports Nevine El-Aref

To the west of Beni Sweif lies the Deshasha Cemetery with its rock-hewn tombs of Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom officials cut into a cliff above the desert plain. The site was investigated in 1897 by British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who discovered several tombs from the Fifth Dynasty as well as others from the 18th Dynasty.

Egyptologist Naguib Qanawati later worked at the site for 15 years early in the 20th century. Among the best-preserved tombs at the site today are those belonging to the bartender Inty and the supervisor of the royal palace garden Shedu.

Omar Zaki, director of Beni Sweif antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that Inty’s Tomb included two main halls, the first having three pillars and painted walls depicting the deceased in different positions with his family and deities as well as in hunting, cultivation and artisanal scenes including woodworking.

The second hall is perpendicular to the first and does not have any paintings or engravings. The burial shaft is eight metres below ground level. “There is a rare relief depicting a group of Egyptian military lancers invading a fortified town in Asia on one of the Inty tomb’s walls,” Zaki said, adding that according to the hieroglyphic text on the wall the town was in southern Palestine. Further studies might reveal its name, he said. 

The tomb of Shedu is similar to that of Inty but contains an important relief of two bulls fighting one another. The Ministry of Antiquities in collaboration with the Beni Sweif governorate is now developing the Deshasha site in order to make it more tourist friendly and to open it to visitors.