Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bowers Museum Mummy Scans

"A team of radiologists and curators will conduct computed tomography (CT) scans of six ancient Egyptian mummies from the renowned collections of the British Museum. The mummies are the focus of the Bowers’ upcoming landmark exhibition, Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, which opens April 17, 2005". See the article for more information.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tête-à-tête with the French explorers

"Today at sunset Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Secretary-General Zahi Hawass, French Cultural Attaché Denis Louche and senior French and Egyptian officials and archaeologists are schudled to attend the opening of the special exhibition "Champollion, Legrain... Treading the Land of Egypt" at the centennial hall of the Egyptian Museum." A review and overveiw, on the Al Ahram website, of the exhibition.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ancient trade-route stopover point discovered

"A team of Egyptian excavators have recently uncovered the remains of stables, barracks and storehouses at Tel Al Sabha, 88 kilometres southeast of Al Arish. This once acted as a stopover point on the ancient trade route that linked Arabia with Gaza and Arish.The route was in use between 200 BC and 50 AD, said Dr Zahi Hawas, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA)". See item for more.

More re remains of ancient Egyptian seafaring ships

"The first remains of ancient Egyptian seagoing ships ever to be recovered have been found in two caves on Egypt's Red Sea coast, according to a team at Boston University in the US".

Mummy specialists uncover secrets

"Skeletal remains held by the National Museum of Scotland have been identified as a lost Egyptian queen and her child . . . . The lost queen is believed to be a Nubian princess who joined the Egyptian royal family through an ancient dynastic marriage.Using strontium isotope analysis, which examines the composition of tooth enamel, and carbon dating, the team was able to prove the remains were of Egyptians and dated to around 1650BC". See the 3-page article for more.

Pharaonic fortress found inside turquoise mines in Sinai

A typically brief State Information Service piece, and it may be a repetition of a discovery already known: "An Egyptian-Canadian mission unearthed a Fort from the Old Kingdom in Fairuz area in South Sinai. The mission, which is represented by experts from Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities and Toronto University, was conducting digging operations in Sahl El Markha site, 160 kilometers south of Suez, on the Western Coast of Sinai."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Egypt Recovers 7 Antiquities

"Egypt has reclaimed seven rare pieces of antiquities from Britain that were stolen a couple of years ago. The 9,000-year-old pieces that resurfaced during a purchase attempt in Britain early this year arrived aboard in EgyptAir plane from London and were transferred to the Egyptian Museum amidst tight security measures. The seven pieces were stolen from the Museum of Cairo University's Faculty of Arts".

New archaeological sites discovered in Suez

A not terribly coherent article, which says that excavations and discoveries last year in the Gulf of Suez brings the number of ancient sites (dating to ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Nabati periods) to 29 sites, in four different areas.

Archaeologist discovers ancient ships in Egypt

"Kathryn Bard had “the best Christmas ever” this past December when she discovered the well-preserved timbers and riggings of pharaonic seafaring ships inside two man-made caves on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. They are the first pieces ever recovered from Egyptian seagoing vessels, and along with hieroglyphic inscriptions found near one of the caves, they promise to shed light on an elaborate network of ancient Red Sea trade". Lots more details in the article.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

More on Moving Ramesses

"Culture Minister Farouk Hosni told reporters that a real life trial move would take place in the next two months. A copy of the statue -- formed to its exact weight and shape -- would be used to test the stability and power of the vehicles meant to transport it. The replica would even take the 'deteriorating parts of the real statue into account,' Hosni said."

Egypt dusts off stowed treasures

"A collection of Roman-era gold treasures has spent centuries hidden from view, either concealed by thieves in a clay jar, buried under the desert or languishing in a dusty corner of Cairo's rambling Egyptian Museum. Yesterday, the set of magnificent gold necklaces, crowns and coins dating to the second century were put under the spotlight when Cairo's 102-year-old museum began a program to give prominence to many of its neglected exhibits in new monthly displays".

Supplicants send their mail to the unseen powers that be

"Archaeological documents show that from as early as the Old Kingdom up to modern times, an endemic and persistent distrust in medicine and justice, as practiced in the land, often led the Egyptians to address their requests for health and legal redress directly to their dead relatives and the gods." A discussion of letters to the dead, from the Old Kingdom onwards.

Theban Mapping Project Survey

Since 1978 the Theban Mapping Project has been working to compile a complete datbase of sites in Thebes. Its work has focused initially on the Valley of the Kings. The site is excellent and hte project is a very valuable one. Over the years it has become apparant that tourism is causing numerous problems, both conservational and operational - ranging from damage to issues surrounding the provision of tourist facilities appropriate to the sites themselves to the supply of facilities for visitors. A masterplan to control the situation is being devised, and the first stage of developing this plan is a consultation process. The Theban Mapping project say that this will be " involving as many interested parties as possible and we are particularly interested in the views and suggestions of previous visitors. Therefore, we invite you to take part in our online survey". The link above takes you to the online survey, where a clear and neatly designed form allows you to answer questions and communicate your opinion on a number of different topics. This is an important opportunity for those interested to make their opinions count. Thanks very much to Jann Lassalle for pointing this survey out to me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sarabit el-Khadim Temple Open in May?

Zahi Hawass has announced that the 12-million Egyptian pounds project to renovate the Sarabit el-Khadim 12th Dynasty temple in southern Sinai is expected to be complete and open to tourists in May.

More on King Tutankhamun Scans

A set of links which provide more information:

Robert Connolly, Senior Lecturer in Physical Anthropology from the University of Liverpool's Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, is quoted discussing his analysis of one of the leg bones of Tutankhamun. He rules out death by infection of a breakage, and discusses a range of other possible causes.

Zahi Hawass's own page has an overview of the methods and results, together with some of the photographs from the scans, which are really quite interesting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

No Sign Tutankhamun Murdered But Mystery Unsolved

"A three-dimensional X-ray scan of Tutankhamun's mummy found no evidence to support theories he was murdered but failed to solve the 3,000-year-old mystery of how the young Egyptian pharaoh died. Some members of the investigative team say he may have died from an infected thigh wound, but others doubt this, saying that injury may have been inflicted later by a "archaeologists, according to the team's five-page report released on Tuesday".
There is more information in the article.
Other information at:

Swiss help restore Egyptian tomb

"Swiss experts are helping restore the Osireion – one of the most important burial sites of ancient Egypt, which is crumbling away with time. The 4,500-year-old Osireion was a place of pilgrimage for the ancient Egyptians, who went there to worship King Osiris – the father of pharaonic culture- who they believed was buried there".

Ramesses Statue Removal Details

The Egyptian government Monday unveiled plans for the delicate task of moving a granite statue of the Pharaoh Ramses II, 3,200 years old and weighing 83 tons, from central Cairo to a new site near the Pyramids.

Friday, March 04, 2005

King Tutanhkhamun Controversy

Zahi Hawass uses his regular Al Ahram slot to fire a few volleys back over the net at those who have attacked the recent re-examination of Tutankhamun's mummy. As usual, he doesn't hold back. Just to give you a flavour of it: "Four Egyptian individuals objected to the recent examination of King Tut. Their objection was not based on scientific evidence. Rather, one of the objectors wanted his name in the media and used his objection as an excuse to be in the newspapers. The second was upset because in the past he had wanted to do DNA testing on the mummy but the minister of culture, Farouk Hosni, refused his request because DNA testing had not been found to be accurate when dealing with mummies. He was therefore upset that another team was being allowed to do an examination of the mummy. This person acted like the devil. When he was on TV, his face was filled with fire, jealousy and hatred. It was a case of sour grapes". And he goes on from there.

More on Saqqara Mummies

A detailed article describes this recent and much-discussed find, and there are some good photographs to accompany the text.

Also, this probably won't be around for long, but if you're quick there is another good photograph which I haven't seen elsewhere on the Egypt Daily News home page for Thursday:
http://www.egyptdailynews.com/ (don't bother following the news link that Egypt Daily News provides - it is broken and when you navigate to the article from the Jordan Times home page it doesn't contain any new information or photos.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

CT Scan Images of King Tut to Be Featured in 'Golden Age of the Pharaohs' Exhibition

"Groundbreaking CT scans of the celebrated pharaoh King Tut will be displayed in the National Geographic exhibition "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," scheduled to begin a four-city, 27-month tour of the United States on June 16, 2005, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)."

More on 2500 Year Old Coffins

A more detailed description of the excavation, the coffins, the possible social standing and professions of the individuals concerned, and the general Saqqaran context. There are also details about what is going to be done with the mummies next - including x-ray and ultrasound.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Scientists Unravel Mysteries Of Egyptian Mummy

"The secrets of a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy are about to be revealed, thanks to experts at The University of Manchester. Researchers in the Centre for Biomedical Egyptology were approached by a school in East Sussex asking if they could examine the ancient remains.
Uplands Community Technology College in Wadhurst was given the mummy by the late Dr Dick Kittermaster, a pathologist at St Thomas's Hospital in London."

Restoring Ancient Delta Capital

"The permanent committee of Egyptian archaeology agreed in its latest meeting under Supreme Council of Antiquities SCA Secretary-General Zahi Hawas on carrying out an integrated project for protecting and restoring the capital of ancient Delta in Tel Basta, Sharkeya governorate".

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

2500-year-old coffins unearthed (updated)

A very short piece stating that an Australian mission has discovered 26th Dynasty coffins at Saqqara.
Update: A far more detailed article, complete with photograph and description of the bead "chain-mail" overlay which was found:

Cleopatra - The Virtuous Scholar

Much talked about prior to its publiclation, a new book has been launched entitled "Egyptology: The Missing Millennium. Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings" published by UCL Press. Dr Okasha El Daly discusses "substantial new evidence from studies of a neglected thousand-year period of Arab scholarship which uncovers a Cleopatra in stark contrast to the popular image of a hedonistic, deceiving and over-ambitious ruler".