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.


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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Great Pyramid Find: Two Mysterious Cavities With Unusual Features

Using various scanning technologies, researchers have found two inexplicable voids.

The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, has long been rumored to contain hidden passageways leading to secret chambers. Now a team of researchers has confirmed the 4,500-year-old pharaonic mausoleum contains two unknown cavities, possibly hiding a corridor-like structure and more mysterious features.

The announcement by the ScanPyramids project comes at the end of a year-long effort to use various scanning technology on Old Kingdom pyramids, including the Great Pyramid, Khafre or Chephren at Giza, the Bent pyramid and the Red pyramid at Dahshur.

Carried out by a team from Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based non-profit organization Heritage, Innovation and Preservation (HIP Institute) under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the ScanPyramids project used three innovative techniques — muography, thermography and 3-D simulation — to deeply investigate the Great Pyramid of Giza.

An unknown cavity was detected at a height of about 345 feet from the ground on the northeastern edge of the monument, while a "void" was found behind the northern side at the upper part of the entrance gate.

"Such void is shaped like a corridor and could go up inside the pyramid," Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute, told Seeker.

He added that no link can be made between the two cavities at the moment.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Work recognised in Luxor

Important work at different archaeological sites in Luxor was recognised by the Ministry of Antiquities this week, reports Nevine El-Aref

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enani embarked early this week on a tour of Luxor in order to inspect recent work at the Karnak Temples, inaugurate a number of archaeological sites, and attend the second round of the Thebes in the First Millennium BCE Conference.

Al-Enani started his tour with the inauguration of the Amun-Re Segmnaht Temple, the 11th of the Karnak Temples. The temple dates to the reign of the New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramses II, and its name means “Amun, listener of prayers.”

“The temple was in a very bad state of conservation when work started three months ago as it had not been restored since the 1970s,” Mustafa Waziri, director of Luxor Antiquities told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said the restoration work had included removing unsuitable materials used in restoration work carried out in the last century and the use of better ones. Weak parts of the sandstone blocks of the temple’s walls were consolidated, the upper part of a colossal statue of Osiris found in the temple was restored, and the offering table at the temple’s west gate was reinstalled.

Al-Enani’s second stop was at the open-air museum where the barque shrine of the Pharaoh Tuthmosis III had been reconstructed and restored by the Centre franco-égyptien d’étude des temples de Karnak (CFEETK).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New discovery in Matariya points to a King Ramses II temple

New discoveries at the Matariya archaeological site near Heliopolis suggest the existence of a temple from the 19th dynasty of Ramses II

By Ahram Online , Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

The Egyptian-German Archaeological Mission at Matariya archaeological site discovered new evidence that may lead to a temple of King Ramses II.

Dr Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, stated that this evidence was found about 450 metres to the west of the obelisk of King Senusret I in Matariya. It was discovered when the mission stumbled upon a number of blocks from the temple courtyards and fragments of the temple statuary.

Afifi explained that a new group of large blocks was yielded in the southern part of the area.

They show King Ramses II anointing a divinity. His name is rendered by a rather rare variant “Paramessu.”

Dr. Aymen Ashmawi, the co-director of the mission, said that the recent find was part of the decoration of the innermost rooms of the temple. Further groups of relief fragments attest that King Ramses II was the builder of this temple.

"It confirms the hypothesis that Ramses II showed special interest in Heliopolis in the later decades of his long reign of almost 70 years," Dr Ashmawi said.

In addition, Dr. Dietrich Raue, the co-director of the mission, reported that in the second area of excavations – located in the southeast of the innermost enclosure of the temple – houses and workshops from a mid-Ptolemaic stratum are under excavation.

Other discoveries in the area include faience amulets and metals, Dr. Raue reported. 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Games from ancient Egypt

Amira El-Noshokaty investigates the children’s games today’s Egyptians have inherited from their ancestors

It is sometimes said that if you really want to know about a nation, look at the attention it pays to its children.

As people flock to see the relics of ancient Egyptian civilisation at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo they could do worse than look carefully at the children’s toys and board games amid all the grand statues and other objects.

These items reveal a lot about the civilisation that made them, particularly in the excellence and attention to detail shown in them.

According to a recent book, Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders by Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi and Alex de Voogt, the “culture of board games in Egypt has long been a topic of interest for archaeologists, anthropologists and lay people alike, the climatic conditions of the Nile Valley allowing the preservation of perishable materials.”

On the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in the corridor that leads to the display of the funerary items found in the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, there are some very interesting ancient Egyptian royal toys.

There is the toy box of Tutankhamun himself, a white wooden box with a round handle so that the royal baby does not hurt himself when handling it. The box is very like those used today for children to keep their toys in while tidying up their rooms.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Boat beam lifted

The wooden beam that may once have held the oars of the Pharaoh Khufu’s second boat was lifted yesterday from its pit on the Giza Plateau, Nevine El-Aref reports

History has a special scent and taste on the Giza Plateau, where an unsurpassed assembly of soaring pyramids, the awe-inspiring Sphinx, and splendid chapels and tombs reflects the great civilisation of ancient Egypt. Although most of the plateau has been thoroughly excavated, there are still secrets to be revealed.

 The Japanese-Egyptian team as well as journalists and photographers, yesterday gathered around the pit of the Pharaoh Khufu’s second boat on the southern side of the Great Pyramid at Giza to watch minute by minute the lifting up of a boat beam that had recently been discovered, revealing a further such secret.

The beam is carved in wood with metal pieces in different shapes and sizes. The restorers had earlier removed other beams from the pit and covered them in situ with a special chemical solution to protect them from the atmosphere.

The present beam has now been taken to the laboratory on the plateau where restorers will first reduce its humidity until it has reached 55 per cent and then treat and consolidate it.

“This may be the beam that once held the oars of Khufu’s second boat,” Eissa Zidan, director of restoration at the project told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that the beam had been found during excavations carried out inside the pit on the boat’s eighth layer.